Breeding Like Email

Several months ago, Kish and I went to Williams-Sonoma to buy some cookware.  We were happy with our buying decisions, but some of what we wanted needed to be ordered and shipped.  The clerk asked if we would like to have updates on the status of the shipments emailed to us.  I thought about it, reasoned that we would want to know when the deliveries were being made so the packages wouldn’t be sitting out on the front step for hours, and gave the clerk my email address.

Big mistake!

IMG_0075Sure, we got the updates on the delivery status of our packages, and it was useful.  But then Williams-Sonoma starting sending all kinds of emails about special offers and, more recently, the availability of holiday shipping and last-minute purchases.  And then we started getting similar emails from Pottery Barn, west elm, and now, Pottery Barn Outlet and Pottery Barn Kids, even though I’ve never set foot in any of those stores or visited their websites.  In short, the junk email appears to be breeding.  Maybe Williams-Sonoma has some kind of agreement with west elm and Pottery Barn where they sell or exchange personal information about their purchasers, reasoning that a Williams-Sonoma customer might just turn into a Pottery Barn customer — or a west elm customer, although I have never heard of west elm or any have no idea what they sell.  Tree-related goods, perhaps?

Now, whenever I check my email, the painful first step is to go through all of the unsolicited email I’ve received from these businesses.  I never open them and read them, just check the box and hit delete.  It only takes a few minutes, but it never ceases to irritate me because it’s a few minutes I won’t get back.

I sometimes wonder whether it would be better to simply respond to the emails and start the process of being removed from the mass email rosters.  I haven’t done so because I’m afraid all that effort will accomplish is confirm for the businesses that they have a good, live email address and that the unlucky person getting the emails is reacting to them.  So, while I might ultimately be removed from their email lists — after whatever protracted process is required — my email address will end up being sold to the world and the unwanted emails in my inbox will breed still further.  So, I just stew and hit delete, hoping that after months of no response the emailers will just give up.

I’m guessing that’s a vain hope.

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2013 (V)

Recently Kish got me some cookie stamps so that I can produce cookies with a design stamped on top.  This recipe came with a box of four stamps from Williams-Sonoma, and I’m going to give it a try today.  The recipe is simple, but the trick will be making dough that holds the pattern of the stamp design.

Lemon Butter Cookies

IMG_5538Ingredients:  6 oz. unsalted butter; 1 1/2 cup sugar; 1 egg; 1 tablespoon lemon juice; 2 tablespoons milk; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; 3 1/2 cups flour; 2 teaspoons baking powder; 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar together until light yellow, then beat in the egg.  Add lemon juice, milk, and vanilla extract and beat.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and blend well.  The last of the flour must be kneaded into the mixture, producing dough that is stiff.

Roll dough between your hands to form round balls that are one inch in diameter, then lightly roll balls in flour and place on buttered cookie sheet 3 inches apart.  Dust the patterned surface of the cookie stamp with flour, shake off excess, then press the balls of dough flat with stamp.  Cookies should be thin, with just enough dough to fill the indentation of the pattern on the stamp.  Bake for 10-18 minutes until golden brown on the edges.

Williams-Sonoma suggests testing the dough first by doing one or two cookies to make sure that the pattern stays sharp during baking.  If it doesn’t, more flour should be kneaded into the dough.

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2013

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2013 (II)

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2013 (III)

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2013 (IV)