Last Fall Neil worked hard on mastering the perfect homemade chocolate chip cookie. It was a lovely period in our relationship. I came home from a hard day of work and would have another batch of warm cookies to critique. The thing about good chocolate chip cookies is they make you feel like you are walking on air wrapped in the warmth of your coziest blanket. To think I didn’t have my first chocolate chip cookie until I was 13; I remember spending a summer as a 13/14 year old eating Chips Ahoy dipped in milk and watching Soap Operas–not my finest summer. Well, I did it until my brother walked in on me one afternoon with the entire package of Chips Ahoy on the coffee table and General Hospital on the TV and said, “You’re going to be fat man, go do something with your life.”
The chocolate chip cookie and I have had a maternal relationship. If I am going through a breakup, it is the first thing I pick up at the grocery store. Around my period, it is all I crave. When I am overwhelmed with grading, I take cookie breaks. So it isn’t a surprise that it’s Autumn and I can’t stop thinking about the healing power of a warm chocolate chip cookie with Vanilla soy milk. When you think about it, it is the perfect blend of textures–soft, smooth chocolate with a slight crunch from the flour, and that nostalgic brown sugar that lingers washed down with a light vanilla richness in the soy milk. My question is how do we as human beings resist this perfect treat everyday?
Maybe Neil’s need to perfect his recipe of America’s most popular cookie can be seen as cliche because I mean how hard is it really to make a chocolate chip cookie? But having tasted all the different variations of his recipe and finding the perfect flavor and textural combination makes the experience feel special. This is the best part of my view on life. It’s what causes my students to roll their eyes every time I present a project to them. I love cheese and am proud of it: Last christmas, I drove around Melrose, MA looking at the glistening lights squealing to myself.
The other day, I was told that a sentence in my writing was cliche, cheesy and I initially cringed at the comment. But then I started thinking about how much I love all things cheesy and as an educator am pretty cheesy. It’s what makes me unique actually. The fact that I love the Christmas episode of Northern Exposure or the final shot of Carrie and Alexander Petrovsky riding off on sledge in snow-covered Central Park is what I love about myself. Texts, movies, food, music that most members of the intellectual community may denounce as cheesy are exactly what make me feel warm and fuzzy. Today sitting on my sofa as the sunlight fills my living room , I eat my husband’s perfectly warm and sweet chocolate chip cookie and am grateful for the ultimate reminder of who I am.