Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Katja Leccisi, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
My daughter was born healthy, albeit a couple of weeks early and a little small. There was no question whatsoever as to whether I would breastfeed her. She latched on nicely right after birth. We were off and running!
Things got a little more difficult, but I persevered through blocked ducts and a full-blown mastitis. I had to see a physician and I fortunately had the help of a lactation consultant. Then I discovered La Leche League!
When my daughter was about two months old, I ventured out of the house one frigid winter evening to attend my first LLL meeting. It was held at the Leader’s suburban home. I arrived and put my plate of homemade cookies on the counter alongside the others. I was pleased to have baked, gotten organized, and made it to this meeting!
As I chatted with other moms, I overheard someone in the kitchen say, “Who on earth brought cookies with raisins and peanuts in them? There’s a choking risk, and what about those who are allergic to nuts?”
Oh boy, they must be talking about MY cookies! I was so embarrassed. I was a new mom, proud to have taken the time to bake something to share, not thinking about toddlers inhaling chunks of food, or potential allergens. And get this, I am a nutritionist!!
In addition, I was admittedly shocked when I saw a breastfeeding toddler for the first time. I talked to my husband about it when I got home … “You won’t believe what I saw … A kid big enough to go lift up his mom’s shirt to nurse.” He laughed! Having done research in the African country of Lesotho, breastfeeding children was not a new sight to him. It helped normalize it for me.
Obviously, this meeting marked me. I’m writing about it almost 22 years later. But, it marked me for the good, too. I met many other mothers who were making similar choices to mine with regards to breastfeeding and parenting, and that felt good. Thus began a long relationship.
I continued to go to LLL meetings, and when we moved to a new country and community when our daughter was about eight months old, the very first thing I did was to find the local LLL group and attend a meeting. I immediately found friendship and connection with some wonderful women.
I went on to become an LLL Leader myself and to breastfeed for years, and I did continue to bake cookies! My experience at that first meeting helped me in other ways, too. I was always particularly aware of making newcomers feel at ease, of describing our policies to them, and of laughing with them about how uncomfortable I had felt at moments at my first meeting. Making room for all sorts of approaches and points of view in the context of a meeting was always important to me, and I hope it helped all moms feel welcome and at ease!
And here’s a cookie recipe without nuts!
Chocolate Chip Cookies
with permission from King Arthur Flour
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, right from the fridge, or at room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional
- 1 teaspoon vinegar, cider or white
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
In a large bowl, combine the sugars, butter, shortening, salt, vanilla and almond extracts, vinegar, and baking soda, beating until smooth and creamy.
Beat in the egg, again beating till smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
- Mix in the flour, then the chips.
- Use a spoon (or a tablespoon cookie scoop) to scoop 1-1/4″ balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2″ between them on all sides; they’ll spread.
- Bake the cookies for 11 to 12 minutes, till their edges are chestnut brown and their tops are light golden brown, almost blonde. Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pan till they’ve set enough to move without breaking. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Katja Leccisi, MS, RDN is a registered dietitian-nutritionist in both Canada and the United States. She has more than 20 years’ experience working with families and educators in clinical, community, and workshop settings in both countries. Her first book, How to Feed Your Kids: Four Steps to Raising Healthy Eaters came out recently. Katja is the mother of a young adult daughter, and the stepmother of two primary school-aged children. She lives in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada, where she enjoys yoga, meditation, music, gardening, cooking, and a very active outdoor life all year-round.
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