This I Believe
I believe in chocolate chip cookies.
From a young five years of age, until I moved from my family home in Texas at age 19, Mother and I, her only child, created a special tradition of baking chocolate chip cookies. It is one of my favorite childhood memories.
Whether planning to add a little cheer to our elderly next door neighbor’s day, responding to a teacher’s request for goodies at my school party, or, just making an ordinary afternoon, a little more fun, Mom and I set aside time to open the tattered, family cookbook which held her mother’s favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies. As Mom read, aloud, the list of necessary cookie ingredients and utensils, I was in charge of gathering everything. This only increased my excitement.
There was wax paper to cover our small kitchen table, an old wooden rolling pin that belonged to Nanny, my grandmother; white flour, sticks of butter, brown and granular sugar, vanilla, eggs, and lots of chocolate chips. Our kitchen smelled delicious.
Next, Mother and I uncovered the worn Tupperware container which held the metal cookie cutters. These would be used to shape the chocolate chip dough into perfectly round circles. But, first, I covered the dough ball with a damp cloth and set it carefully inside our tiny 1960’s refrigerator for an hour. As a teenager, I was so impatient for the dough to chill.
The nicest thing happened while Mother and I waited. We talked! Her sometimes moody daughter actually came to enjoy sitting and talking with her. Maybe it was the aroma of the vanilla and chocolate chips, but, when she and I baked cookies together the words flowed easily between us.
In elementary school days when Mom and I mixed the cookie ingredients, she might ask about my friends or offered to help practice for my upcoming spelling test. In middle school I recall her asking about how I was getting along in math class, or “Is that little boy in school still teasing you?” During high school, our cookie topics ranged from “What kind of dress do you think you would like for the prom?” to “Are you up to date on your homework”? To my surprise, this teenager would even answer most of her questions! Or, if I was upset with one of my good friends, Mom would, always, remind me, “Remember, Charissa, put yourself in other’s shoes.”
As she and I rolled out the cookie dough, cut it into perfectly round shapes then placed them gently on the metal cookie sheet, we were still talking and laughing. I will, always, appreciate the wisdom that I learned from my mother and the lasting relationship we built, while making chocolate chip cookies together.
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