What I Love about Baking Cookies
Something The Family Can Agree On...See the cookies on the counter?
Our first snow of the season brought those wonderful memories flooding back...
There is something very special about getting together for the holidays, or just for dinner. There is something that makes you feel all warm inside, even before the hot cider is poured. Someone starts to tell a joke you've heard them tell a million times, the youngest grandchild starts to cry and his father goes to comfort him, or you just hear that buzz of loved ones trying to catch up with each other's lives after months apart. Does your family buzz?
Though I'll never get used to losing dear ones who go on to live within our cherished memories, family ties do continue and the memories become beloved stories for new generations.
Something I will never regret is rushing with my husband to the Fed-Ex office just before midnight, so that I could ship off my dad's favorite oatmeal, raisin and walnut cookies to him for his last Father's Day. I actually had dozens of friends praying that he would get them in time, because he wasn't expected to live much longer. It was the best batch of cookies I'd ever made, according to him. I got to hear him telling me how much he enjoyed them, and how much he enjoyed sharing them with some of the nurses at the hospital. Making cookies for my dad from the time I was a little girl, was a favorite way to bring a smile to his face.
I started baking cookies on my own when I was just 7 years-old. Before that, I loved helping my grandmother with the task, which was much more fun than any of my other chores.
I loved the whole cookie thing so much that I considered doing it as a career. I enjoyed making up recipes by adding all kinds of fun stuff to the ingredients lists that I found in cookbooks. I once had a goal to make the "chewiest" oatmeal cookies in the world. I succeeded, (as far as I know - I didn't formally check the stats on that) but it was hard to get them to stay together in the cookie jar, so I moved on to other cookie goals.
But this isn't really about recipes, although I will share one at the end of this "Cookie Chat."
"Cookied" after Caroling...
Cookies and Fun Just Go Together...
There's a reason why the idea of cookies stands test of time.
In her article, "History of Cookies," Linda Stradley illuminates us with some fun cookie facts:
"In America, a cookie is described as a thin, sweet, usually small cake. By definition, a cookie can be any of a variety of hand-held, flour-based sweet cakes, either crisp or soft."
Different countries call "cookies" by different names. But, a cookie by any other name will still taste as sweet, yes?
"What we know as cookies are called biscuits in England and Australia, in Spain they're galletas, Germans call them keks or Plätzchen for Christmas cookies, and in Italy there are several names to identify various forms of cookies including amaretti and biscotti, and so on. The name cookie is derived from the Dutch word koekje, meaning "small or little cake." Biscuit comes from the Latin word bis coctum, which means, “twice baked.”
Who invented cookies?
"7th Century A.D. - The earliest cookie-style cakes are thought to date back to 7th century Persia A.D."
Seventh Century A.D. to 2012! That's a lotta cookies!!! Imagine! Thank you Linda Stradley and the What's Cooking America website for enlightening me!
But I think to many a child, it is far more magical to imagine that our own dear grandmothers thought up the idea JUST for us.
Baking & Bonding
The warmth coming from the oven, the smell of cinnamon, sugar, flour, eggs and butter all coming together to warm your tummy, are all treasured memories of moments gone by, that I try to recreate with my own kids. I hope to give these sweet moments to the next "batch" of kids too! Oops, did I forget to mention my affinity for "sticky puns?"
Oh the stories! I learned more secrets about my dad's childhood while helping to make those cookies with my grandmother. If you only have time to go to the grocery store and grab a few cartons or boxes filled with the mass-manufactured treats, you could be missing some wonderful story-telling moments!
One of my favorite things about baking cookies was opening the bag of chocolate chips before the recipe called for them. I was sure that after I was done sneaking samples, there would still be plenty for the cookie dough. How lucky I was to have a grandmother who pretended not to notice, if she did see me!
Somewhere in Time...
I love to imagine being back in Grandma's kitchen once again. In a way, every time I get out the mixing bowl, the wooden spoon and the heart-shaped measuring cups, I'm connecting with her again. My aunt even made a present of my grandmother's favorite cookie recipe book a few years ago. It is one of my most precious possessions.
So you see, it's really not so much about the cookies.
My children have both made "I Am From" projects for school at one time or another. This essay takes children through the process of their favorite family traditions, memories that shape them, and gratitude for who they are and where they've come from. I love this idea.
Now that I've explained, you'll have no problem (hopefully) understanding why I am proud to proclaim that "I am from: COOKIES!"
Share some stories, loving moments, and lasting memory-making with a cookie buddy sometime soon! You won't regret it! Here's a recipe to get you started: