Archive for Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Shouts and Murmurs: That’s how the cookie crumbles

June 28, 2006

While visiting with someone about an upcoming fund-raiser, I learned homemade cookies were needed for a reception.

Without thinking, I volunteered, asking them to call me with a reminder.

Days passed. Cookies weren't on my mind.

But the day before the event, the reminder arrived in an e-mail, asking those on the list to bring 4 dozen (or more) cookies.

That evening I went home, the cookies mildly on my mind as I stopped for a visit with my parents, then spent time with my husband at home.

By bedtime, I had managed to successfully procrastinate the cookie project. After all, likely they would have plenty of cookies to serve without mine. But then again, what if they didn't?

Through the night, I slept soundly, aware of dreams haunted by this question: What kind of cookies to make?

Other questions followed as I dreamily sifted through the household stock of groceries. I even hoped to open the cupboard and see store-bought cookie mixes.

Clearly, I thought, I am not the same cook I was 20 years ago.

The older -- and younger -- me wouldn't have batted an eye about making cookies.

In the morning, procrastination continued. I read the newspapers, sipped a cup of coffee and took a short walk -- anything to postpone the decision of whether to dive in and make something from scratch -- or cave in and buy ready-made.

Betty Crocker I am not -- what was I thinking in volunteering to bake cookies? But I wanted to share with the family something I had made myself.

Though I hadn't taken time to shop for groceries the night before, a quick search turned up half a pound of butter, and plenty of peanut butter, sugar, milk, cocoa and old-fashioned oats -- everything needed to make chocolate no-bake cookies.

This is a tricky recipe. If the basic ingredients aren't boiled long enough, the cookies will be mushy lumps edible only by spoon, and if boiled too long, they'll crumble before being spooned them from the pan.

The first cookies I spooned out of the pan crumbled. Bad news.

It was going to be a store-bought cookie day.

But, in a last-ditch effort to salvage the batch, I added a little more milk to the mixture. And within minutes, 3 dozen cookies had cooled to the right consistency.

That done, I made the second batch, also which, thanks to the addition of a bit more milk, set up. And by the time I arrived at work, I had a platter of cookies in hand, as well as a plate-full to share in the office.

A co-worker declared I had gotten "a good do" on the recipe, which he explained, was his father's description of something that turned out well.

Whether a "good do" or not, one thing's clear, and I think it pertains to all of us.

What we were good at doing yesterday we may not be so good at doing today. And what we're good at today we may not have been able to do yesterday.

As the years fly by, we see our talents ebb and flow, change and rearrange. It's no mystery, it's just another, sometimes deliciously delightful, ingredient in this everyday recipe called life.

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