The Anginette Warrior
By Paul Morrone, CFP®, CPA/PFS, MSA
If you don’t know what an anginette is, you probably grew up outside of Connecticut, had no Italian friends and definitely don’t like desserts. Anginettes are the all-season cookie, not too heavy, not too light. They pair well with just about anything and taste just as good in the heat of the summer as they do in the doldrums of winter. They are festive enough to be the centerpiece in a holiday cookie display or casual enough to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee before you head out to work on a Tuesday morning. They are so popular, in fact, that the East Haven rotary club just held their 6th Annual Anginette Wars, a baking competition for New Haven County’s finest cookie makers… and my mother Cathy decided to see how she stacked up against the best around.
The Anginette Wars started small its first year and has grown into an all-night event with over 30 bakers, 600 attendees, local news coverage and of course lots of cookies. Patrons vote for their favorite cookie with tickets provided at the door and place them in a bucket on each table when they feel they found the best one. In addition to having the best tasting cookie, which gives the baker the ultimate bragging rights (especially in New Haven county), each baker had to prepare a table with a theme and decorate their table and cookies accordingly. My mom with a coastal theme (blue and white) with the slogan ‘It’s a shore thing!’ Her table was tastefully decorated, but she was more focused on having the best cookie than the best table.
Of course, this turned into a family affair, my dad was the ‘First Mate’ helping at the table, Kelly and Dave came up from Stamford to support her and Jill and I brought Kyle to entice the many patrons to vote for her cookie based upon Kyle being so darn cute. As the night progressed, Dave and I both had sampled anginettes from all bakers and unanimously agreed my mom’s was one of the best (again, I’m bias but she does make a damn good cookie), if not the best in the crowd. It was hard to differentiate after a while because after eating over 30 cookies, they all start to taste the same!
I hadn’t noticed it until recently, but one’s taste preference for their anginette is almost as polarizing as the Trump/Clinton debate (I’m not touching that one). Family recipes are closely guarded secrets, often passed down from generation to generation. Each family has a cult-like following as to how they like their cookies prepared. Some favor a stronger hint of anise, others like an almond flavor and yet others want to taste more lemon in their cookie. One thing we all agree on, however, is that an anginette can neither be too dry nor too moist. The consistency of the cookie is key and takes years to perfect.
Unfortunately, she did not win, but based upon the amount of tickets she received I’d be hard pressed to believe she did not end up in the top five. It was a fun night and her efforts were certainly recognized by the wonderful comments she got from so many people who tried her cookies. Either way, I think I’m done eating those things until Christmas.