How to bribe people when you're a Grandma.

When you are a Grandma, you often cannot do everything for yourself.  The new hip you have isn't as pliable as your original and so you can't tie your laces.  The box of toilet paper you bought in bulk is too heavy to carry up to your apartment with just your two twig-like arms. You can't be expected to go on in life with untied laces and no TP to threaten the neighbors with, so what is a little old lady to do?  My dear friends, It's simple.  When you are a Grandma and you need something done, the only solution is to bribe someone.

But how does one go about committing an act of bribery? 

STEP ONE

Identify a problem you are having.  Need to change a lightbulb? Can't reach the stash of potato chips you've hidden from yourself on top of the fridge?  Need someone to stand in line for you at Trader Joe's? Whatever your problem may be, help is just a few steps away.

STEP TWO

Identify a sucker.  The easiest people to bribe are suckers.  They lurk around without any clear purpose or intention.  They are gullible and crave human contact. They like feeling needed and they like sugar.  My go-to sucker is my sister, Sarah, but yours might be someone you don't know quiet as well, and that is okay. 

STEP THREE

Make your sucker a prize to dangle in front of her like a carrot on a stick. I like to make rainbow cookies.  

What you'll need: 7 ounces almond paste,  1 cup sugar, 3 sticks butter, softened, 4 large eggs, separated, 1 teaspoon almond extract, 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 12-oz jar raspberry jam (preferably seedless), 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 3 (13- by 9-inch) metal baking pans. Line bottom of each with wax paper, letting it extend at 2 opposite ends, and grease paper. Break marzipan paste into small pieces and grind with sugar in food processor until no lumps remain. Transfer to a large bowl and add butter. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then add yolks and almond extract and beat well. Beat in flour and salt on low speed. Beat egg whites in another bowl with cleaned beaters until they just hold stiff peaks and stir one third into batter to lighten slightly (batter will still be stiff). Fold in remaining whites thoroughly. Divide dough into thirds (about 1 1/2 cups each). Stir green food coloring into one third and red food coloring into another, leaving one third plain. Spread each dough separately into a pan. (Layers will be thin.)
  2. Bake layers in batches in middle of oven until just set and beginning to turn golden along edges, 7 to 10 minutes total. Run a knife along edges to loosen from pan, then while still hot, invert a large rack over pan and invert layer onto rack, pulling gently on wax paper overhangs to release if necessary. Peel off wax paper and cool completely.
  3. Line a large shallow baking pan with wax paper and slide green layer into it. Spread half of jam evenly over green layer and carefully top with plain layer. Spread remaining jam evenly over uncolored layer and carefully top with pink layer (trim edges if necessary). Cover with plastic wrap and weight with a large cutting board or baking pan. Chill at least 3 hours.
  4. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove weight and plastic wrap and spread chocolate evenly over top, but not sides, of pink layer. Let stand at room temperature until set, about 1 hour, and cut into small diamonds (12 rows crosswise and 12 diagonal rows).

STEP FOUR

Tell your sucker that you have cookies for her.  Tell her you just made them and they're fresh out of the oven.  Tell her they can be hers and hers alone if she just helps you with one small task, so small that the cookies will seem like an egregiously generous offer in exchange. 

Then, let her see the cookies.  Maybe even let her smell them.  Look, don't touch! This will be the icing on the proverbial cake, or literal cake, if that is what you've chosen to offer.  And before you know it, all the lightbulbs in your apartment have been replaced, your Trader Joe's groceries have been put away, and you're happily eating potato chips from the comfort of your couch.

foodMeryl NatowComment