I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t have told my children that kids die in Iraq and so quit asking me for Eegee’s. It was a tough day, but that’s not much of an excuse. I could probably be a better mother. I lost my interest in feeling guilty as a granddaughter, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, and in-law after an intervention. The “professional” said I could let it go, so I did. Maybe I need a mommy intervention.
I’ve been wondering because Mz. Molly asked me some pointed questions about reacting in a positive way to family who would control you through guilt. It didn’t seem realistic to suggest an intervention, so I told her I’d think on it.
That night I made chocolate chip cookies for the kids. They’ve been good little zombies and I wanted to treat them. I read the “traditional” recipe on the bag and realized happily that I had all the ingredients except for the chips. So we bought the bag and were on our way.
The thing about my baking is that my mother was a working mom. Her mother was a single working mom. And even her mother, my great-grandmother, was a single working mom. My dad’s mom worked too. What woman was responsible for teaching me how to bake cookies?
I made up my own guilt-free, perfectly imperfect chocolate chip cookie recipe just for Molly, and myself. Here’s how it played out:
In a big bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Oops, in a small bowl. I’ll wash the big one in a second. It’s encouraging to see that there are no wee beasties in my flour, but if I double the recipe, I can get fresh flour for future mischief. Unfortunately, there’s a 1/4 cup left and my frugal inner voice can not waste it. Oh, darn. The bag upended spilling the flour on the floor. Sweep it up and put flour on the grocery list. Stir.
In a big bowl – maybe I won’t wash that one out. In a big bowl mix softened butter – softened! I didn’t see that. Ah, well. Chilled will have to do. Mix cold butter, sugar, and brown sugar. I should have softened the brown sugar. It’s a block. Well, that’s what ice picks are for. I mean, they are for ice, but they’ll work on any chunk of something that has petrified in the pantry. Beat.
The cold butter and chunky brown sugar stall my beater and the familiar smell of band aids from the motor fills the air. This is a good beater. It has been with me for 20 years of cold butter and chunky brown sugar. At this point, a wedge of brown sugar pushes my beaters apart and threatens to bend them at the base. After ice picking the wedge out, I’m pleased to see that ol’ faithful shook it off and finished the work of butter batter beating.
“Do you want me to finish these cookies or not? Okay, then get out of the kitchen.” Baking is a great family activity.
Oops! Add organic vanilla was supposed to come before beating cold butter, sugar, and chunky brown sugar. The recipe doesn’t actually call for organic vanilla, but it’s what I have and I feel good about it. Now, it’s all beatted. Beaten?
Anyway, it’s time to add the cruelty free, locally produced, organic eggs. That’s right. These eggs are so hot, so now, that surely everyone will realize what a great human being I am. I’m proud to add them to the mix one at a time. While the recipe calls for one-at-a-time eggs, it’s one of those serendipitous things because it gives me a chance to remove the shell fragments that fall in the dough when I crack the eggs.
All done with the eggs, add the flour a little at a time. There’s some. There’s some more. You know, when I was younger I didn’t have the patience for that. I’d get to the point when I just dump it, which is what I do next.
I’m at the end of the process. Now all I have to do is add the chocolate chips. Holy crap! Dos problemos aqui. First, these chips are made by Nestle and I swore when I nursed my son eight years ago that I would boycott Nestle. I’d better hide the bag deep in the trash. This bit of shame just might erase the local goodness of my eggs and the chemical-freeness of the vanilla. Secondly, I doubled the recipe and only have single the chips. Whatevs! I’m not turning back now.
Time to drop them by huge spoonfuls (does anyone really make beautiful dainty chocolate chip cookies?). It gives me the creeps to even think on it. I’m sure they are convenient to carry and good for the waist, but who wants to watch for 10 dozen cookies to cook? It would take all freaking day!
Preheated oven, no greased pans, easy-peasy. OMG! Did I really just say easy-peasy? First batch, underdone. Second batch, overdone. Third batch, burned. Each kid got a doughy cookie and a glass of milk five minutes after they should have been in bed. I can’t stand the thought of making these innocents brush the comforting, warm yumminess from their baby mouths with sterile, burning toothpaste. I make brushing teeth optional.
This recipe yields enough cookies for kids, teachers, and the midnight cookie monster. The cookies are as imperfect as their maker, but tasty nevertheless. They are part wholesome goodness that benefits the world and part corporate evil that packs on the pounds. On balance, I have to say that I’m perfectly satisfied by the effort and have no need to feel guilty about any of it. I could do better, and may in the future. I may do worse. For certain, I will not be paralyzed to do nothing.