Behind the Scenes of Alumni Weekend 2012
I’d been given a pretty serious assignment, and I was not about to take it lightly: re-create what remains an incredibly precious memory for many Badgers who graduated in the late 1960s and 1970s … the guerrilla cookie.
See, the guerrilla cookie is one of the “extinct” foods that we’re working to bring back to life for the Alumni Weekend Saturday signature event on April 28, 2012. (For those of you not familiar, the guerrilla was sort of an early granola bar, full of protein and other good-for-you-stuff, sold in packs of three at the Mifflin Street Co-Op and around campus, and apparently a real symbol of the era).
Our top-secret campus chef is still working on finalizing his recipe for the Alumni Weekend event, but we needed a photo of these now totally elusive cookies to illustrate the top story of our March 2012 issue of Badger Voice.
So using one of the dozens of imitation-guerrilla recipes posted on a number of online blogs and forums, I set out to Whole Foods with a shopping list full of things I don’t typically keep in my cupboard: organic dark brown sugar, whole wheat flour and … cracked millet. What’s millet? I wasn’t sure, but after stopping to try some tasty guacamole on free sample day, I finally tracked it down in the bulk foods aisle and I was ready to go.
This recipe made some pretty lumpy/gooey batter. Which turned into some pretty lumpy/flat cookies that tasted far too healthy for my preferences. But I was under deadline, so they’d have to do. I also was able to practice my macro-photography skills, and I want to give high praise to all of you shutterbugs out there that can make food look delicious on camera. It is not easy.
My window into UW-Madison in the 70's and legendary Wisconsin State Journal reporter George Hesselberg ’73 tells me the cookies that came out of my oven were flatter than he remembers. But a few of our WAA staffers who were quite familiar with the original tell me the taste wasn't that far off.
But this experiment is exactly why I am not in charge of baking for you at Alumni Weekend. As for that top-secret recipe we’re using for the big April event? You’ll have to get your ticket and stop by the Pyle Center to decide how close we came to solving the mystery of the guerrilla cookie.
(PS … The website “World’s Healthiest Foods” defines millet as the main ingredient in bird seed, but also calls it a delicious grain that is tiny in size, round in shape and traditionally used to make couscous. It’s also a good source of manganese and magnesium.)