My Grandma made the best chocolate chip cookies in the world.
You may think you’ve had a good cookie, but you really haven’t. Maybe you’ve been to Paris, or visited a celebrity chef bakery. But all of those are imitations and forgery.
Because the best cookies are at Grammy’s house.
We’d visit occasionally – for holiday gatherings or birthday celebrations.
And inevitably, there’d be cookies. Always cookies.
There’s a real estate joke that you should bake cookies before a perspective buyer arrives. And for good reason. Nothing smells more wholesome than fresh baked cookies.
And to me, nothing smells more like Grammy’s house than a warm, gooey, chocolate chip cookie, piping hot from the oven.
I swear she timed her baking too, to finish at the exact moment we’d arrive.
We’d enter the house, say hi, and be greeted with a fresh plate of mouthwatering chocolate goodies, sliding right out of the oven.
Oh, man – those cookies were good.
I’d grab one off the rack, I didn’t care how hot they were. And then I’d try and steal a second one, and run off into the living room, before my parents could remind me to have “only one.”
How can you possibly eat only one cookie? You can’t. It’s impossible. Not when they’re that delicious. It’s too tempting.
If I could bottle that recipe, and jam it on a food truck, I’d have a rolling cash-making machine for all those cookie addicted folks. They’d follow me everywhere. Like the pied-piper of cookies.
I’d be a millionaire.
I asked my mom, “Why can’t you make cookies like Grammy?”
I’m sure I touched a nerve, irritating her mother-ness to the core.
My mom made excellent food, and her desserts were always spectacular, but the chocolate chip cookies just weren’t the same.
“I can’t,” Mom explained. “It’s her oven.”
Convenient excuse. As an 8-year-old boy, all I ever heard were excuses.
I wanted more of those cookies. And I wanted them at my house, to come piping hot out of my own kitchen, like a cookie ATM. On Demand Cookies.
Then I could eat them every day.
Then, horribly, the worst day of my adolescence arrived.
My grandparents got a kitchen makeover.
We arrived with great fanfare, to see the finished product and coveted upgrade to their house. Because really, in our “keep up with the Jones’s” mentality, who doesn’t want a fresh new kitchen.
Granite countertops? Check. Custom cabinets? Check. Stainless steel appliances? Double check.
And as we entered the party, celebrating their new material achievement, Grammy welcomed us with a fresh batch of her delicious cookies.
And even though the house looked different, sparkling and new – at least the pop-and-circumstance of the cookie tradition remained.
The smell of fresh baked cookies welcomed us in, but something was different. The smell was different. It no longer smelled like Grammy’s house.
And worse, the cookies no longer tasted the same.
I grabbed a cookie with hopeful resolve – wishing and hoping my childhood memories remained intact.
But no, there was something wrong. The cookie wasn’t right.
And it wasn’t that the cookies were bad – they were fine. But that was exactly the problem – they were just fine.
Gone was the epic flavor and assault on your sugary senses. Gone was the sweet buttery sensation you’d suck through your nose. And gone was the gooey texture of the world’s best cookie.
No, instead, these were normal cookies – pedestrian food at best.
That day, I felt like someone had died.
When I should have been happy for my grandparents, and all their new shiny appliances, I wasn’t. I was distraught. I was upset. And I was in a lot of pain.
On the car ride back, I asked, “What happened to Grammy’s cookies? They’re different,” I asked.
My mom kept her gaze on the road ahead, looking aimlessly at the passing trees, resting on her chin – lost in thought, thinking, pondering.
“It’s her oven,” she explained sadly.
But maybe, she too was thinking about those cookies. And how she’d never get one again.
A recipe, a flavor, a taste – a memory – that would be lost forever.