Cookies have been getting me into trouble all my life. I love cookies – and cakes, and pies, and chocolate candy.
But recently, the trouble is not the calories or pounds, not the missing cookie from the cooling sheet, not even the cookie crumbs on the couch. Nope.
Cookies are putting me on the “check those packages” list with the wise mothers of my young friends – children of all ages for whom I like to bake cookies or ship off a jar of jam. Yup. I pack up the sweets and head for the post office before I can stop myself; cookies for the twins, brownies for the sometimes-quarterback star of flag-football, jam for the tap-dancer in her pink tutu.
“Stop, Jan!” I tell myself. (Echoing the pleading from moms of my acquaintance.)
I do know that the dear children in my life have no particular interest in sweets; but, sadly, I do. Why can’t I just send a book or write a note to tell them they’re in my heart? How can I stop sending baked goods for every occasion – and for no reason at all?
I think I’ve gotten to the bottom of the cookie jar on this one. And here’s how the story crumbles: I can blame my failing on my mom and aunties and grandma. (Whew! That’s a relief.)
Grandma, Mom and Auntie’s baked goods were particularly precious gifts for their children on special occasions. Raised by the generations who had fled from famine in Ireland, the Great War in Europe, and the Great Depression – sugar, eggs and butter were precious commodities. Along with the financial sacrifice, baking was time-consuming and tedious. The many steps of baking had to be squeezed in between laundry, house cleaning, gardening, cooking, mending and canning.
Taking the time and spending the resources to bake a birthday cake or a pie or a batch of cookies showed me or my sister or my cousin just how precious we were to the family. And since the gift could be shared, we felt magnanimous – OK, OK, maybe a little put-out too that the piece of cake with the rose on top went to Aunt Ruth and not to me, “the birthday girl.”
When my mother was having the family over for dinner – anywhere from 12 to 25 people, she dedicated an entire day before the occasion to baking cherry, apple, mincemeat and French-silk pies, a chocolate cake and several types of cookies. Mom would have considered it a slight to her guests if she’d offered them only one kind of pie or if she’d ignored Uncle’s preference for cake.
Now, all this is to say – my trafficking in cookies is my misguided attempt to send a sweet kiss and hug in those treats. “Those cookies are made with lots of love,” I assert pathetically.
The problem for me is deep-seated, one that I must overcome before I’m banned by wise mothers from sending or delivering or carrying treats of any kind to my young friends.
I’m going to try to do better. I’ll keep you posted on my recovery…