Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Cookies and so much more

I baked cookies tonight.

I like baking and cookies are quick and easy.

These cookies are going to the Out of the Rain program so that there are homemade cookies when the youth arrive.

Normally that would lead to an extra happy baking feeling, but not tonight.

Before I started baking, I got a message that an old work friend died unexpectedly the other day. She’s older than me, but not by much. We’re close enough in age that it definitely gives me pause.

So there’s that, but while we worked together for three years, I haven’t seen her since 2008 and we’ve only kept in very occasional touch via facebook. I figured baking would feel therapeutic and life-giving, it didn’t. Not like it usually does.

When I started to tidy up, I found myself staring at the recipe card.

It’s in my mom’s very distinctive handwriting.

She wrote out the recipe for me many years ago. I was living away from home at university, and she decided to start a recipe box for me with all of the family favourites from her recipe box. She wrote out recipes of all sorts, but there are definitely a lot of cookie recipes.

I couldn’t possibly try to count the number of hours I’ve spent baking cookies with my mom. If you tried to count the number of cookies we’ve made together it would easily be in the thousands.

That might seem unlikely if your mom was the sort who only made a couple of dozen cookies at any one time. But that’s not how my mom baked.

She didn’t believe it was worth dirtying the mixer if she wasn’t at least making 6 dozen cookies of one type. Doubling or tripling a batch was standard. The chances that she was only making one type of cookies? Almost non-existent.

I can remember covering most of a large kitchen table with paper towel (my mom’s preferred method for where the cooling cookies went) and soon the table would be filled with cookies.

She had the biggest cookie sheets. Three dozen cookies on each sheet. With three of those sheets, we would just keep rotating them through. Sheet after sheet of cookies.

If it was Christmas or she was baking for something at the church, there would be hundreds of cookies. All magically appearing from the oven over the course of a morning or afternoon.

My brother would arrive as the trays started coming out of the oven. He could demolish a lot of cookies very quickly.

I was there, doing whatever task I could do depending on my age. Measuring. Mixing things. Putting cookie dough on the trays. Setting the timer. Putting the warm cookies out onto the table to cool. Filling cookies tins. So many cookie tins, filled with so many cookies.

My mom (and my grandma too) taught me to love baking and to love what that baking symbolized. Sharing what we had. Investing time to make something delicious. Love expressed in very tangible ways.

Unlike my grandma who died twenty years ago, my mom isn’t physically gone, but advanced dementia means she’s gone in other ways …

We can’t bake cookies together anymore.

We can’t talk and share what’s going on in our worlds.

I could tell her about my friend who died, but she wouldn’t understand, she couldn’t share her wisdom, and she can’t hug me like she used to.

That might be the thing the I miss most.

But at least I can make her cookies and carry on her traditions.

Triple batch of cookies complete.

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