Thirty-four was my scary age.
The time at which, I was once told, my fertility would drop swiftly, like an Oldsmobile sailing off a cliff. The time at which being unmarried and without a mortgage would place a searing spotlight on me as an adult fraud. The time at which I would be guaranteed to die a grim death alone, perhaps eaten by pet canaries.
This, of course, is ludicrous.
I am not alone. Plus most of my friends are now my scary age. Which makes my impending situation less frightening. Strength in numbers.
But on the days my consciousness is dialed up, I can detect certain vicissitudes.
I notice that bodily things are starting to shift down, and spread.
I notice that my memory is not as elastic as it once was. I find myself searching for words like chamomile and amuse-bouche. This can no longer be correlated with prior gin ingestion, either.
I notice that my friends with children have all vacated the city. Some days it feels like an emotional fallout shelter—where cultivated adult relationships are unreachable due to nuclear war caused by the whims of toddlers and unaffordable housing.
I notice that some places I love have vacated as well. Like the shockingly recently departure of River Gods, a bar that offered equally good beef and vegetable-based burgers; poured decent beers; and hung things like mermaids or witches or stars from ceiling, depending on the season. I have had multiple friends live near River Gods. They have since moved too.
But there are new homes of old friends to visit. There are new friends too. There are new restaurants and new recipes, like this frozen negroni I recently stumbled across. Because I am nearing thirty-four and still alive and enthusiastically capable of drinking something alcoholic made in a blender.
I also recently found a recipe for cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar that I thought might distract my aging corpse. Except Corn Flakes were a common breakfast option growing up and I felt compelled to bake with the type of cereal that I was never allowed to eat as a child. Because I am securely an adult and can do such things.
The result is a cookie with not one, but two forms of marshmallows. It is a sweet dessert, for sure, but also salty and chewy and thereby addictive to any human with taste buds and a childhood rooted in the mid-twentieth century or beyond.
I mean, what kind of person is not, at least slightly, intrigued by such a cookie? (No one I want to know.) Or so I thought.
Through some research I learned Lucky Charms are more or less glorified Cherrios (another Gelsomin sanctioned childhood breakfast) with added marshmallows. These confections are officially known as marbits and were originally based on circus peanuts. Circus peanuts! Which I hate.
So there you have it, another story about getting older. More or less a collection of the truths we sell, stories mixed with the circus peanuts of youth and the Lucky Charms of adulthood. It is probably best not to take your marbits too seriously. As Anne Lamott once wrote “the truth is we are all terminal on this bus.”
So I guess the new truth is that thirty-three plus is not a scary prospect at all, if you stay curious and adaptive. In fact, given some recent evidence, it’s magically delicious.
Toasted Lucky Charms Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 3 grams (¾ tsp) kosher salt
- 225 grams (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 egg
- 2 grams (½ tsp) vanilla extract
- 2 grams (½ tsp) baking powder