Why Bother Baking Cookies?


Why Bother Baking Cookies?

I grew up on my grandma’s cookies. Even when we moved far away from her home in Nebraska, to South Dakota and Colorado, she sent her cookies to us through the mail. When a three pound coffee can wrapped in brown paper arrived at our house, we knew it was from Grandma. The one who discovered it first was the lucky one. They got to cut away the tape holding the plastic lid firmly to the can and be the first to inhale the sweet fragrance of Grandma’s cookies. 

Grandma wrapped them individually in waxed paper, filling the container with at least a dozen delicious, perfect morsels. Sometimes she sent her gumdrop cookies, other times my favorite, cowboy cookies. Biting into one always took me back to Grandma’s warm and sunny kitchen. I envisioned sitting at her small table, the air filled with the aroma of sweet dough baking in the oven close by and her smiling face leaning toward mine as she told a funny story about her childhood. 

Eating one of her cookies, whether from a coffee can or in the comfort of her kitchen, was more than just enjoying the flavor and texture of something delicious. Grandma’s cookies invited you to remember the heart and hands of the one who made something pleasing, just for you.

    Feeding More than Just the Belly

It wasn’t until after I was married that I tried my hand at baking cookies from one of Grandma’s recipes. Newly married, we lived an alternative lifestyle, out in the boondocks without running water or electricity. I wanted my husband to partake in the same pleasantries as I had with Grandma and her cookies. But, baking cookies meant learning how to regulate the wood cook stove. I failed more than succeeded and as a result, threw many burnt cookies away. When it comes to cookies, it is not the thought that counts, but the actual finished product. 

When we finally had modern conveniences, regulating the oven was now the least of my issues and following a recipe was minor. Finding how to mix the dough to the right consistency became the trick. Too much flour meant stiff cookies resembling hockey pucks, not enough flour, the cookies melted and stuck onto the cookie sheet as flat, crunchy saucers. Finally, about the time our eldest learned how to ride a bike without training wheels, I perfected the art of making Grandma’s cookies.

For the next several years, every Saturday or Sunday,  I baked a batch of cowboy cookies that morphed into my version of chocolate chip cookies. They were a hit. Milk and cookies around the kitchen after school or a sports practice became the common meeting ground for conversations with my sons. And after they grew up, I sent small boxes of the delicious morsels through the mail. When they came home for visits, they went straight to the refrigerator where their hand found cookies in individual baggies stored in a sack. Now my grandkids know where to find those pleasant sweets made especially for them. 

Why bother baking cookies? A home baked cookie might just invite someone to remember the heart and hands of the one who made something pleasing, just for them.

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