Margaret Button | Kitchen Comfort: My most influential book? The Keurig's owner's manual. Really


A friend recently mentioned having me over for a "literary night," at which you discuss a book that has affected your life in some way. I thought about the books I've read — literally thousands through the years. But which one had affected me the most. "Winne-the Pooh"? "Good-Night Moon" (which I read 500 times to my son when he was little)? "The Little Prince"? "Gone with the Wind"? "The Prophet'? The Bible?

The book that seems to have influenced me the most over the past few months is the owner's manual for my new Keurig coffee maker. I know, I know, who in their right mind actually reads an owner's manual? Well, no one ever said I was in my right mind ...

It wasn't just the important operating instructions that had me glued to the book, it was also fraught with dire warnings that raised red flags — and contemplation — like:

- This appliance must be properly installed and located in accordance with these instructions before it is used. (A corner of my counter isn't OK?)

- Do not place on or near a hot gas or electric burner, or in a heated oven. (Why would anyone put a coffeemaker in a hot oven?)

It also has me pondering:

What commuter cup is big enough and will keep the coffee hot enough to keep me happy on my daily commute from North Adams to Pittsfield? And how many K-cups to fill the cup? It took 15 minutes of staring at cups on Amazon, another 15 minutes at Walmart, and a few wrong decisions. The stainless steel beauty that cost me an arm and a leg only got me as far as New Ashford, both quantity and heat-wise. Its successor, the Big Bubba from Walmart, is to die for. And the number of K-cups needed to fill it? Seems to be two, with enough room left for the half and half.

The Keurig manual also has posed ethical questions for me along the way:

Do I clog the earth with even more waste by using coffee packed in plastic K-cups? I already did a lot of environmental damage by using disposable diapers when my son was a baby. Do I use K-cups that are made of tea bag-type material and less intrusive? Or do I go the reusable K-cup route, buy coffee in bags and refill them as needed, over and over?

Do I buy regular or flavored coffee? Caffeinated, decaf or the so-called half-caff? Whole beans I grind myself or already ground? Organic? Free-trade? There's just no end to the conundrum. It's enough to make my head spin ...

No more thinking. I need some brain food and these peanut butter cookies are great with coffee, whatever kind, however it's brewed.

Thick and chewy peanut butter cookies

Makes 1 dozen medium/large cookie


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt


Cream the butter and sugars together in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Add the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla. Mix well and scrape the bowl.

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture all at once and mix until just incorporated.

Scoop dough (using 2-tablespoon size scoop) onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until just set. Allow cookies to cool slightly on the tray before transferring them to a cooling rack. Store cookies in an airtight container.


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions