Mom and I were the athletes in the family; my father and brother didn't care much for sports, either doing them or watching them.
My mother, still an avid swimmer at 75, used to sit with me for hours and watch the Olympics. Together, we'd sit on the sofa and work on needlepoint pillows we'd design ourselves while we watched event after event.
I'm dating myself, but our Olympics-watching years were the 1970s. We cheered on Mark Spitz as he set seven world records, and we were amazed by gymnasts Olga Korbut of the Soviet Union and Nadia Comaneci of Romania.
We'd snack as we cheered on Team USA -- a bowl of Ro-Tel dip with "king size" Fritos, or I'd make chocolate chip cookies. In honor of the 2012 London Games, here are Brit-meets-Texas munchies that you can size up or down, depending on the size of the watching party. You can make these ahead of time, and just pop them into the oven for a half-hour or less.
The snacks are easy to make and different from the originals. You wouldn't find jalapeño-cheddar scones in a London teashop; ditto on the empanadalike Cornish pasties made with fajita-style beef, caramelized onions and blue cheese. Peanutty shortbread cookies are an Americanized version of the buttery British biscuit, and are great with tea, served hot or over ice, like we do in Texas, laced with bourbon and mint.
Clink. Let the Games begin.
Ellise Pierce is the Cowgirl Chef and author of "Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking with a French Accent" (Running Press, $25). Read her blog and watch her cooking videos on www.cowgirlchef.com. Twitter: @cowgirlchef
Peanutty shortbread cookies
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Chop peanuts in a food processor till the pieces are small but not powdery (we don't want this too fine).
2. Sift or whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Using mixer, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy; then add the sugars and vanilla and mix well. Add flour mixture, and combine only until it comes together -- err on the side of crumbly, because you are not finished yet.
3. Fold in the chopped peanuts. Dump the dough directly onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a square, and pop in the fridge for an hour, or until firm.
4. To bake the cookies, preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough till it is about 1/4-inch thick and using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. Carefully place them on the baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between each cookie. Bake for about 14 minutes, just until the cookies begin to firm around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the pan; store them in an airtight container.
Nutritional analysis per cookie: 81 calories, 5 grams fat, 8 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 171 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber, 56 percent of calories from fat.