Making cookies a dying art

I was thinking about making cookies the other night.
Oh no, not for me. Certainly not. These cookies would be for my daughters away at school—a treat, a reminder that they are loved, while they are buried in the tests and assignments and uncertainty that life flings at them as they try to imagine joining this crazy game as an adult.
I was thinking of chocolate chip oatmeal or maybe shortbread. I know it’s not Christmas, but aren’t shortbread considered multi-seasonal? If not, they should be.
Shortbread are like dill pickles, they go with everything; except maybe not with dill pickles, although “don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it” might apply here.
Do you suppose making cookies is a dying art? We really shouldn’t eat cookies, so should we be baking them? We may be safe eating one or two, but I always have struggled when it comes to chocolate chip oatmeal and shortbread to eat less than 12—a nice even number my tummy tells me.
I’m sure you realize that a tummy works at cross-purposes to a waistline; the two are not the same nor do they adhere to a common mandate.
Maybe those individuals who say they don’t bake cookies are closet cookie-baker-eater types, vacuuming up the crumbs before the crumbs officially become evidence. While we’re confessing, I should say I’ve baked cookies twice now to mail to Thea and Laurie and . . . not a single cookie made it to Canada Post.
In my defence, the first batch was substandard. The chocolate chips weren’t evenly spaced and I used very large eggs from free-range chickens (and I think these chickens were trying to break the world record, judging by the size of the eggs).
I didn’t adjust my recipe accordingly.
So I can’t be mailing substandard cookies halfway across the country. I mean, it just isn’t done, and the expense and all. One must have the appropriate product to measure up to the cost of postage.
The second batch? Well, I had been working very hard and felt weak and . . . I ate them. After I had eaten “several” (and I will not be confessing here as to how many is several), there seemed little point in mailing a fraction of a batch.
That’s just not economically sensible, either, and may reflect badly on my level of devotion to my children. I can’t have that. My list of motherly failings already is long enough so adding to it is just bad judgment.
So I ate them all.
Now I shall try again. I’ll take my time, not bake in a panicked manner with any sense of urgency. Methodical, that’s the demeanour I shall adopt.
I’ll get out my recipe card, the one from Annie. I don’t need the recipe, as I’ve long ago had it firmly imprinted on my brain, but I like to have the recipe close by so I can look at her handwriting and the stains on the card.
I’ll remember baking cookies with Annie using her big white ceramic bowl and the wooden spoon. I’ve tried duplicating that bowl in my baking cupboard inventory, but none have captured the sense of baking-perfection that Annie’s bowl provided.
I suppose it wasn’t the bowl at all, but rather the combination of ingredients with just the right amount of stirring and blending and shaping and time spent in the oven and Annie herself in the mix as she put love in each cookie.
Annie’s baking made everything in the world seem just right, so I equate that wonderful sensation with Annie and that big white bowl.
It’s the idea of handcrafting; something made by one’s self that is so heart-warming and encouraging. Someone took the time from her busy day to put on an apron and mess up her kitchen to create culinary magic for me.
Cookies don’t solve world hunger or lower the national deficit, or guide us to some destination where we are meant to go.
Cookies are merely love on a plate, laid out before you saying, “It will all be okay.”
wendistewart@live.ca

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