When I was in the 4th grade, I took a cooking class with my friend Linda, which was dangerous because whenever we were together we giggled uncontrollably with little provocation. Linda and I both had serious face altering braces and wore our hair in pigtails tied with fluorescent yarn.
The first assignment was baking chocolate chip cookies. The ingredients– butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips– were lined up on the formica counter of the kitchen of our school cafeteria in the order they were to be used.
Linda and I worked the assignment together, giggling like always as we scooped the flour and sugar from one gallon bins with metal measuring cups, leveling them off with a knife for precision.
“No licking,” said the instructor sternly as we scooped the batter on to the cookie sheets. We baked the cookies as instructed for 8 minutes. I remember thinking that they looked perfect, but didn’t smell like the cookies that I baked at home with my mom.
After the prescribed 5 minuted cooling time, Linda and I sampled the cookies simultaneously–then spit-sprayed them out. They were not just salty, they were salt cookies.
We had confused the sugar bin with the salt bin.
“What a waste,” I heard the instructor say under her breath. “Spoiled brats.” Did she think we did it on purpose?
I felt terrible, but I couldn’t stop laughing, and neither could Linda. It can really hurt when you can’t stop laughing when you know you need to.
I started to cry when I told my mom the story, and was relieved to see her stifling laughter. She told me I’d feel much better if I wrote the cooking instructor a note of apology, that it was also the right thing to do and that of course I should always be respectful. Even when cooking instructor makes the obvious mistake of putting salt in a one gallon bin right next to the sugar.
When we think about the biggest milestones and roadblocks in our lives, we also remember the food we cooked and/or ate while getting through them. Because we’re human. And pretty much always hungry.
I’ve contributed a *different* story about cookies in a new book of essay’s by a bunch of kick-ass women writers, illustrators, and photographers. In the book, we share our deepest struggles, our silliest moments, our deepest revelations, and, of course, our favorite recipes.
The book was edited by:
Claire LaZebnik, the author of has written five adult novels and five young adult novels, including Epic Fail
and the recently published Things I Should Have Known
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). She is the co-author of Overcoming Autism and
Growing Up on the Spectrum
and lives in Los Angeles.
Ann Brown, who writes about family life for newspapers, public radio and literary magazines. She has a video series on parenting: The Motherload, Not Your Mother’s Parenting Advice, and a blog at: www.drstrangemom.com . She lives in Portland, Oregon where she only has to shave her legs two months out of the year.
Anyone who has ever cooked through tears, laughed over a botched recipe, or choked down food to be polite will cherish SisterWriterEaters.
Join us as many of our Los Angeles-based authors read from their essays while enjoying homemade foods and the gorgeous art of Eleanor Swordy. I will be there, even though I don’t live in LA.
May 21, 3 to 5 pm, Moskowitz-Bayse Art Gallery, 743 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Join us as many of our Los Angeles-based authors read from their essays while enjoying homemade foods and the gorgeous art of Eleanor Swordy.