No scent is more indicative of childhood than that. The soft aroma of chocolate. The engaging scent of baking dough. Nothing is sweeter even despite the most bitter of childhoods.
It was after a week-long cookie craving that I finally got the courage up to ask my aunt if I could make them. After the brownie fiasco, she was weary. But when I divulged that this would be the time-honored traditional recipe she seemed more than happy to let me. But this was no ordinary cookie recipe. This was the traditional cookie recipe of the family.
Now, a little history needs to be known so the importance of this moment can be appreciated. My aunt Joyce has made the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever known since I was a little kid. These cookies have been the staple of every elementary school event, every class party, and each parent-teacher night. Kids clamored for “Joyce’s Cookies”. These cookies graced each holiday desert buffet and any other special event in the family. She never made them just because; it was always for something which made them all the more special. They were the most seductively elusive part of my youth.
These were cookies made with the family. My cousins and I fighting over which beater we could each, how much dough we would have to consume before we died of salmonella, why my cookie got my chips than the others. So in taking on this task on my own, it was cathartic. I got to relive a part of my childhood that at times feels so lost in days of writing and hazes of GPA panic attacks and working towards each deadline. Even in this lazy summer I find myself lost in a sea of my own worries instead of that child-like obsession with that summer bliss. These cookies have brought me closer to myself.
Now, the recipe is simple. It’s a packaged recipe millions pass by in the grocery stores daily. It could be found anywhere. By no means, is this some old recipe that my great-great grandma brought over from the old world during the slave times. But the way my aunt made them, adding a pinch of this, a little extra of that and less of this always made each batch wonderfully simple and simply wonderful.
I have tried a few times before to make them myself, resulting in varying disasters such as the butter-chip cookie and the anthropomorphic cookie blob. But today was different. Today, I not only made cookies but I remade a part of my life that was so simple and wonderful. Today, I passed the gauntlet and finished the recipe and made them perfectly.
I reached nostalgic bliss. Writing this article while enjoying a hot cookie and a nice cup of milk on a saucer very similar to one I would have used as a kid. So I think today we should all make cookies. To hell with cakes and pies just for a day, and let’s all sit down together with a plate of cookies and a gallon of milk. Let’s just go back to that innocent place where food was food and cookies were happiness.