More than just a cookie
There is a magical window of opportunity. Just old enough, but not too old, when hearts are open and sweet pudgy fingers grasp and mix the dough, rolling, forming and sprinkling. When love is layered and an irrevocable bond is made as eggs, flour, sugar form those perfect bites. Together in the kitchen making something; and with each bite an extraordinary thing happens. Memories. Set amongst the neural pathways of our senses, smell, touch, taste and feeling.
Better than mud, Playdoh or plastic goo, real homemade cookie dough gives credence to the illusion of those mere pretenders. What better way to bring children into the kitchen and establishing the joy of making real food together. You don’t think of it as teaching life lessons really, following a recipe, organizing ingredients, techniques in stirring, sifting and pouring, but the practice does teach. Perhaps the toughest lesson is patience. Patience; waiting and waiting as the bite-sized morsels finish baking while the delicious sugary smells fill the kitchen. Patience; waiting for them to cool just enough to bring on that smile as it is gobbled up, still warm. Euphoria until we bake again.
We make an effort to recreate the best parts of our lives don’t we? In the form of traditions and rituals we define a familial culture in how we do things and what is important, passing it down generation by generation so that the mere mention evokes a memory, a taste or smell that connects the past with the present.
The older ones usually do the telling, much to the chagrin of the younger as it was before his time. Accusatory looks cast in my directions, “you never did that for me.” The day we played hooky to make cookies.
The holidays were fast approaching, school still in session, work on schedule eight to five. The parties and events began stacking up and the idyllic images of perfect cookies and goodies beckoned as time was running out when it hit me. The longing, the need to be in the kitchen with my kids and baking as I had done for years with my mom and my grandmother. Palpable longing that turned into action. I just took the day.
They still talk about it, those grown kids with a bit of wonder at the audacity, and wistful memory of tasting sweet dough and the house smelling of cinnamon and spice.
I am a periodic baker now, mostly choosing holidays or special events to break out the supplies. But I have to admit my delight in baking again with my grandchildren, and while it seems stereotypical, “baking with Grandma,” I am not missing this window of opportunity.
What stories come with your favorite cookies?