Oct 20, 2010

I Never Promised You Cookies or a Rose Garden or Anything

Imagine that you want to make cookies for someone. You bake them and wait for them to cool on a special cooling rack. Yes, you've thought that far ahead. Things like cooling racks are now a part of your paltry kitchen vernacular.

You're not a baker. And waiting for the cookies to cool falls somewhere between okay-boring and a full on crisis of your super-ego.

But then the fun part finally starts, and it's better than you could have ever imagined. And was probably the whole reason you made the cookies in the first place.

And it turns out that you really like decorating cookies.

Preparing the icing does require every bowl in the house. But that's okay. Mixing up hundreds of gooey-paints to frost one's cookies with just might be the best thing in the whole world.

Besides, you want the colors to be just so. It's a whole cookie-situation that you see so clearly in your mind. And, if you're honest, it's a whole cookie-situation that got you out of bed this morning. Perhaps every morning.

No. It's going so be so very funny. These cookies. And delicious. Of course, that, too.

So you do this in the spirit of: Fun and Happy Cookie Project. Like something out of Martha Stewart minus the perfection or like something your friend Beatrice would do, minus the expertise.

Beatrice, who bakes the kind of cookies that bring tears to peoples's eyes, that reviews are writen about, that are really tables of cookie at big events and weddings.

This will be more fun and less an operation than that. Because Bea, she's got a chef's hat, yes -- but rather than being puffy or cloud-like, it's one of those starched-high numbers (forbidding like an ivory tower or a religious principle that one must adopt for reasons that we won't go into here).

These aren't those cookies. These are lay-man's cookies.

Still, no matter how forgiving a stance you take, about twenty-four hours later, after the icing has set and you've slept and let your mind wander onto other things (and have paid some bills) you decide with fresh eyes that your cookies smack of outsider art.

They're insane.

How did this happen?

How could you have not noticed this before? Was it all the other things going on in your head? Was it the stress? The wine? That fistful of barbiturates rinsed down with a tumbler of vodka?

Actually, unfit. That's the word: The whole batch, all smiling sadly up at you from their stupid plate, are unfit as cookies.

But you need to send them out in the mail. Where, you imagine they will inevitably arrive as cookie-rubble, anyway. Do you have time to start all over again?

Wait --can't we walk away and think about this for a bit?

And on and on late into the night. Then, it's finally decided: you will make the cookies all over again this weekend. Applying all of the principles recently learned during the original (unfit) cookie making. Because we learned quite a lot during in the interim, didn't we?

And because, damn it, we care. About things like cookies. And so everything is better again. Just like that. Except for one thing: This is not the first time one has made and re-made such cookies. Let's be brutally honest, right now.

And it's not just cookies. It's everything.

So, now you might imagine one's whole life going like this. With nothing ever okay or ever simply passable. To the point that even (and perhaps especially) one's handwriting, which, yes, was bad to begin with, but became, later (unfairly) worse - after a few fingers were finally broken (in the most hateful of ways).

So that, ultimately, one only email others. Even when others are situated less than three feet away. Even when speaking to them is clearly an option, because even that might betray your bad handwriting.

So that swirly practice pages of:


might be found one day by one's boyfriend (quite by accident) while one's boyfriend goes looking for a scrap of paper. And then, predictably, all hell breaks loose:

Why do I keep finding these alphabets all over the house?!

as well as:

What the hell is up with you?

Meanwhile, numbers?

I have no problem with numbers.

I have no idea why.


  1. I'm like that with cupcakes. Never the right texture. Frosting is never perky. Too stiff, or slopping down the sides.

    But it doesn't really matter. It's why they're empty calories.

  2. One time I had to stage cupcakes for a photo shoot. They (the shi-shi-iest cupcakes ever) arrived all melted and ruined (it was a hot humid day).

    I sat there re-applying the frosting for HOURS.

    Those fu&#*ing cupckes. They almost killed me.

    I was laid-off six months later. And though the cupcakes had nothing to do with it - still I blame them, anyway.

    How many calories does the letter B have? I'm thinking 30.