This past holiday season I was knocked down by the flu TWICE…and I had a flu shot! So, how do I feel now? I feel like the flu shot was a useless pain in the arm! I also feel that getting the flu at the end of the year was a good omen I guess, because I knew I would start the New Year being healthy. I mean, after two bouts with the flu in December, I had enough orange juice, chicken soup, Gatorade, steamed rice, flu and cold meds to win the war against any germs that were in my system and not bring them with me into 2014.
When I began to feel better the first time, I didn’t feel that I had time to do the Christmas shopping that I would have, so I thought I’d make Toll House chocolate chip walnut cookies to give as gifts. I remembered how much I loved them when Mom used to make them for the holidays, and how the smell of fresh baked cookies filled the house, and the cookies filled our tummies with comfort and joy. We even left some by the fireplace for Santa Claus.
So with these warm feel good memories of home baked cookies by Mom, I set out to do the same. Went to the store to get all the ingredients, and the recipe hadn’t changed much over the years, but a few things have changed dramatically—like how much everything costs! Wow, a small fortune to bake cookies from scratch now! The walnuts alone cost about $16.00 if you tripled the recipe like I did. One good thing though, flour is now pre-sifted. Yes, it’s been that long since I’ve made cookies.
I played holiday music on the computer, ran a string of blinking colored lights over the flat screen television, and set the oven at 350. Next, I got out an electric beater that looked almost as old as an antique flour sifter and began my cookie adventure. As I kept adding more and more flour, it was getting harder and harder to beat.
Funny, I didn’t seem to recall this being so much physical work, but then again, I was 30 years younger, and A LOT stronger. It got to the point where I could no longer beat it on the counter. I had to sit on the kitchen floor with the bowl between my legs, beating it from a slightly different vantage point. However, within minutes the beater was beating at a speed that wasn’t even on the beater, so fast, that cookie dough went everywhere. Even my UGG boots were covered with it, looking like I had come in from walking through the snow.
The beater started to smell and smoke, so I pulled the plug and tossed it in the trash. I added the chocolate chips and walnuts to the bowl of dough, put it in the fridge, turned off the oven, cleaned the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher, and washed the floor. Put my UGG boots in the freezer, took a bath and went to bed. I was exhausted!
The next morning I removed the cookie dough from the fridge and the boots from the freezer, waited patiently for them both to thaw. For the next three hours I baked cookies. Then I tasted the first home baked cookie from the oven, closed my eyes, and remembered my mom with a whole new appreciation for what she did to make the holidays so special.
I entered the new year with the resolution that I would not bake cookies again until I buy a new beater, which I have no immediate plans of doing. I will also do my cards and shopping long before December just in case I have the flu again, and I will cherish the memories I have from my childhood a little bit more—a time when there was Mayberry and no Honey Boo Boo, and when we drank water from the hose, owned a sifter and the Cookie Monster was on television, not the demon that possessed my electric beater! Happy New Year everyone.
by Geri Jewell