Saturday, March 5, 2016

5: Cookies? Chickens?

They'd been asking for the past few nights after school, "When are we going to make more chocolate chip cookies, Mom?  The freezer's empty!"  And, I'd say, "Soon, guys, soon.  Maybe tonight...let's see how it all goes."

They're sharp, those boys.

I think it began Wednesday because we always get home a little earlier on Wednesdays.  But there was dinner to start, and laundry to start, and rambunctious boys to settle, and the idea of being cramped into the small crook of our L-shaped kitchen beside said boys jockeying for ingredients, measuring spoons, handfuls of chocolate chips, and turns to add small whisps of dried goods, was just too much.

Too much.

So we made the dinner.
We started the laundry.
We made couch cushion tents in the family room.

And the fun started again the next day after school.  "Are we going to make the cookies tonight, Mom?  The freezer's empty!"

"Like a steel trap," I whispered.

Louder, I said, "We'll see."

(Which, incidentally, they have not yet associated that phrase with "No." in parent speak.)

So we did our due.  We routed around for remaindered chocolate chips in the Costco-sized bag.  We checked our stocks of sugars inside the cream canisters by the glinting onyx mixer.  We opened the cabinet above the cookbook holder to make sure the stick of butter was, indeed, room temperature because this detail is nonnegotiable.  We unclasped the chilled crisp styrofoam egg carton for a quick count.  "Yes, there are enough."  And, then, we investigated the final detail -- the Crisco -- which, I have found through trial and error, makes the perfect half-and-half accompaniment to the butter. (The recipe on the back of the Toll House bag will not share this important tidbit...)

"Ohhhhhhhh, guys.  We're all out of Crisco."  I measured my words, unsure how they'd land for the littles.

"Can you get some tomorrow?" the elder responded with resilience.

"ABSOLUTELY."  Not bad; not bad.  "Let's keep going with our couch cushion tent..."

Friday afternoon came, the Crisco purchased, and the familiar walk into the kitchen through the laundry room beckoned the question du jour.

"Yes.  We have everything we need.  LET'S MAKE THE COOKIES!"

Two counter-height barstools on felt pads slid into the L's little crook for two observers; one mixer emerged from the corner's shadow and into the afternoon light; flours, sugars, vanilla, soda, salt, and the butter plus Crisco speckled the countertop; the smaller little watched each detail.

"Eggs, Mommy!  We need the eggs."

The chilled crisp styrofoam egg carton fit into a rectangular opening just in front of him.  I didn't catch this smallish important detail, as I turned to measure and aerate the dry ingredients on deck.  

"MOMMY!  CHICKENS!"  He shakes two eggs like maracas.  Inside, I giggle.

"Perfect timing, little guy!  We're ready to add the eggs in the mixer!"


Crack.  Mix.  Ping.  The shell lands inside the well of our aluminum sink.
Crack.  Mix.  Ping.  The second shell lands inside the well of our aluminum sink.

I concentrate; another secret of baking chocolate chip cookies is to avoid overmixing.  We tip the red ribbed batter bowl over the mixer; dry ingredients rain into the dough.  We dump in the last of the chocolate chips; they skip and plunk before the mixer paddle finishes the first step of our project.

The smaller little is also busy, I find out, as sink contents shift and clang.

"MOMMY!!!!!  THE CHICKENS ARE GONE!!!!  GET THEM BACK!!!!" he waves an egg shell like a yellow caution flag at the Indianapolis 500.

These cookies could be the driest, most over- or underdone, crispiest, crunchiest, greasiest, flattest, or fluffiest.  I'll cling to this second -- this experience -- much longer, always seeing the mixer, the L, the egg carton, the egg shells, and then hearing his inquisitive little three-year-old voice...

Write on,


  1. Your writing here is so dynamic. Between your repetition, dialogue, onomatopoeia, and the non-verbal written language, it's an incredible read.

  2. Love this discovery with your yellow caution flag simile: ""MOMMY!!!!! THE CHICKENS ARE GONE!!!! GET THEM BACK!!!!" he waves an egg shell like a yellow caution flag at the Indianapolis 500." I was afraid that egg carton on the counter might have met a different end.
    Write on, b, I love the stories of your elder little and smaller little.

  3. Sounds like making chocolate chip cookies will be an ongoing event that will create lasting memories for you all as the boys grow older. Take the time to enjoy these small moments. (plus I'm going to try the Crisco trick next time I bake my Toll House cookies)

  4. Making cookies with little ones is both exhausting and priceless. You've captured it beautifully.

  5. You've written such a beautiful, detailed account of the build up to cookie making with your boys. I loved reading your writing.

  6. You've written such a beautiful, detailed account of the build up to cookie making with your boys. I loved reading your writing.

  7. So how were the cookies? I will bet they were delicious! I love these stories and you are a master weaver of the tale.
    PS: I hope one day you too will be in the photo at All Write. Any chance it could be this year? :-)

  8. I hope you would have recorded this slice without the writing challenge. It's precious.


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