Friday, January 22, 2010

Guest Post: The Cookie Killer

Melissa has submitted a post before and it was one of our more popular we are always happy to welcome her back. Melissa lives in Las Vegas with her husband and baby daughter and is a recent graduate of UNLV.

I have a confession. A dark, humiliating secret which I have, until now, been too ashamed to admit. Before I divulge the ugly truth I want to make it perfectly clear that I am an incredibly lovely person, and I have hope that I will not be judged based upon what I lack but rather on what I do not.

I cannot bake cookies.

Now this may seem at first glance a simple and trivial quirk but let me tell you--it is neither simple nor trivial. There is something about me that defies the science of baking even the simplest chocolate chip cookie. Has it always been this way? Perhaps… I don’t think I ever attempted outside my mother’s presence until I got married.

It started as a gesture of love for my new husband. I began mixing the ingredients one by one, following the directions explicitly. I dropped the dough by the teaspoon onto the cookie sheets and baked them according to the label. When the timer went off I went to retrieve the cookies with my husband following eagerly. I opened the oven--and to my horror, each cookie was a flat disk melted to the bottom of the pan. Amidst the laughter from my husband, I burst into tears. What could I have done wrong? I tried again with the same batch of dough. Same result. It would be months until my second attempt.

That time, I tried again following even more explicit directions. The result never varied. I thought, it must be my mother’s recipe! I tried a new recipe. Same result. I tried varying the ingredients, the temperature. I looked on blogs and other websites… same result. I tried seven different batches, different types of cookies, different instructions. Each time I plopped the cookies in the oven they became flat, inedible disks.

When we moved to our new home I felt hope. I had a new oven, I had a renewed commitment to conquering the cookies, and more than that (and here is the key) I was now a mother! Every mom can bake cookies, right? So armed with confidence and a jar of pre-mixed cookie ingredients from our neighbors, I began baking some cookies. Can you guess what happened next?

Clearly it was not meant to be. I am a cookie killer. Sadly, cookies are a comfort food of which my family will be deprived. It is silly, really. The tears no longer come, only a sigh of disappointment and a resolve never to try again (although for some reason I still have not given up).

So what does this have to do with the quest to become lovely? I think at some level we are all destroyers of something we wish we could master. Unfortunately, we do not all have the ability to do everything we want. There are people who would desperately love to contribute something to society that would be embraced as wonderful or beautiful. Some people would love to have a talent for singing, others would love to play the piano or create beautiful art, and others just want to make a dang batch of cookies for their family.

The key to being successful is to embrace the things that we are talented at, even if we don't think they're important. I may never be recognized for my ability to keep an organized, pristine home. There isn’t a category in a talent show for folding laundry, changing a diaper one-handed, or scrubbing toilets. As a teacher I wasn’t honored in any ceremonies or banquets, and as a wife and mother I’ve never been given a standing ovation. Now I can also accept that I will never be praised by a neighbor for a delicious batch of cookies. I’m okay with that. We need to celebrate the things we can do, and accept the things we cannot. I think the reason we were all given different talents and abilities is so that we can recognize our dependence on each other as a whole. Rather than being bitter for the things we cannot do, we need to be happy for the success of our friends, and share our skills and talents (no matter how trivial we perceive them to be) with others.

That being said… I would love some cookies.


Meg said...

I know this is SO not the point of this post, but I know why your cookies are flat! All recipes say that you're supposed to use butter. This is a LIE. It will result in flat cookies every time. Where it says butter, use shortening. Seriously. I have seen this exact thing happen again and again, and shortening is the answer to your problems.

But the point of the post is a lovely one, and I am going to embrace my talents more in the future. :)

Melissa said...

Megan I will totally try that! Someone also said I may beat the mixture too much (much like the kid on the Burbs with the garbage cans :) I'm always up for suggestions and I hope that I can attribute your advice to my future success! I'm going to do this tomorrow and I'll let you know how it works!

Meg said...

Yay! Butter flavored shortening. I hope it works! Please report!

Margie said...

Beautiful post & well written Melissa! You have put into words something that many women (and men) stuggle with their entire life. We are all given a variety of gifts and talents to bless one another. You are a beautiful writerand you have many gifts and talents that bless many people. Believe me when I say, you do deserve a standing ovation when you fold the laundry. You are so organized you could me a thing or two. I love you and I am proud of you.

P.S. Next time we are together, I will make cookies for you family :)!

Miki and Ed said...

well written post as usual miri (:

Miri said...

Haha well thanks Miki, but I actually didn't write this post. It's a guest post from the lovely Melissa. But I'm sure she appreciates the compliment! :)

Meg said...

Looks like someone forgot to sign into the other account for posting the guest post. :)
ALSO - Melissa has now successfully made cookies! The shortening trick worked and she is a cookie-making fool. Hurray!