A very special TJT. On Monday


UCLA definitely brought the boom on Saturday against USC.  And yes, I am using this TJT on Monday post as a  thinly disguised pretense to gloat.  And do eight-claps.

Despite being on home turf, TD and I weren’t planning on going to the game. In fact, I had the day all planned out: holiday baking and the game on the radio.  But then an 11th hour offer from a source we couldn’t refuse (thank you Dan!) appeared with the rain on Friday night.  Which is how I found myself wearing as much blue and gold as I could wiggle into and drinking a beer in Pasadena at what felt like a ridiculously early hour.

After having worked at USC for nearly seven years, I find myself surprisingly and enduringly fond of the institution.  The Trojans, however, are a different story entirely.  I’m not very good at talking smack.  But, let’s just put it this way, I don’t wear red. Of any shade.  Ever.

I love this rivalry.  This is the one time each year when rankings and records make absolutely no difference.  At this game, anything is possible (including that time in ’93 when Tommy fell off of Traveler).  This year?  Epic!  Combine a packed stadium, cross-town rivalry and rain–and you get history in the making.  Boom UCLA, BOOM!

Why yes, I do have gold shoes, vestiges left over from playing the role of TD’s wife during the pre-game dog and pony. 

The only thing marring this sweet, sweet victory was the empathetic pang I felt when the clock ran out and the Trojans sadly drifted off the field.  Deflated.  Sort of like their footballs.

Before I bring this UCLA happy dance to a bow, I just have one thing to point-out, you know, as long as I’m gloating.  I’ve officially been a Bruin for 20 years.  If my count is correct, during this time UCLA has won as many rivalry games as they have lost. I however have a perfect win record for attending UCLA-USC games.  That’s right, UCLA has won every rivalry game at which I’ve had a corporeal presence.  BOOM!


Rivalry Cookies

If you didn’t catch it the first 2,347 times I’ve mentioned it, I work for my alma mater’s biggest rival.  Most of the time this isn’t an issue. I try not to broadcast my collegiate pedigree and really, my coworkers could care less. Except for one weekend each year in early December.  And then all bets are off.  There is trash talking.  There is posturing.  There may or may not be the subtle wearing (or not wearing) of certain color combinations and/or temporary tattoos.

It really doesn’t matter that my own college’s football team has struggled a bit to go 500 in the last few years while the football team of my employ has played in a couple of national championship games recently.  This game can and has been, anyone’s.  Crazy things happen at these games.

Which brings me to baked goods.  Back in 2006 I made rivalry cookies for my office.  The week of the game, I delivered luridly colored sugar cookies in the shape of footballs and helmets.  And we–my team–won the game.

For a variety of reasons, I haven’t repeated this cookie delivery since (mostly because they are labor intensive and I’m in the middle of my holiday baking binge right when this game is scheduled).  Sadly, my team hasn’t been able to deliver another rivalry “W” since that game in 2006.

So I thought I’d make some rivalry cookies again this year.  Just in case it makes a karmic different.  I still won’t have the time to put into intricately decorated cookies, so I’ve been playing around with some less time-consuming ideas.  I think I may have come up with a suitable proxy.

Like I did in 2006, I started with the always successful sugar cookie recipe. And then I had some fun with food gel.

The idea was that by coloring the dough before it went into the oven, I wouldn’t have to do it when it came out.

Looks like PlayDoh doesn’t it.  I know this can’t be true but when I was working with it–I swear–it also smelled like the stuff.  If you haven’t already caught-on at this point, the colors represent the respective college colors.  The schools share yellow in common so I rationed-out the dough as 1:2:1.

I then rolled out sheets of each color and then combined the colors by placing one on top of the other.  Here it is with my employer’s colors.

And here with my college’s.

After this I tried various ways of rolling the dough into a  log.  Rolling from the short end yields a bigger but shorter dough log.  I opted for rolling from the long end–I have a lot of cookies to hand out.  With the dough on parchment, I began the roll by grabbing the edges of the parchment and folding over the dough at the edge.

And then repeated the action.

Until I got a log.

Then, the log went into colored sanding sugar. For a nice coat of sparkles.

Finally,  into some parchment for a couple of hours in the fridge.

Once the dough logs were firm I just sliced them up into disks and into the oven they went. The result?  Rivalry cookies!

So here is the plan.  The week of the game I’ll bake up a batch and deliver them to various offices here at work.  Then, I’ll let the great football gods take care of the rest.

Go Bruins!