“Mom, I need you to bake cookies,” my daughter said as she looked at me expectantly. I sighed. “I need you to bake cookies.” Five little words that never fail to strike fear in my heart.


 

“Mom, I need you to bake cookies,” my daughter said as she looked at me expectantly.


I sighed. “I need you to bake cookies.” Five little words that never fail to strike fear in my heart.


I know there are some women who can cook and bake and knit and get their family’s clothes their brightest white, but I’m not one of them. When God was handing out domestic prowess, he clearly skipped right over me and gave my helping to Martha Stewart. 


I actually think the baking thing might be a genetic defect. My mother was not a baker, and neither was her mother before her. We are defrosters and reheaters. We are eat-outers and bring-inners. When we cook and bake, things bubble, burn, smoke, and explode. Actually, it’s something of a talent. It’s just not a very good one.


Throughout my children’s school years I have been called on to contribute to various bake sales and food fundraising events. Not wanting to be responsible for the loss of anyone’s teeth or the poisoning of an entire grade school class, I have always bought pre-baked cookies and arranged them on a doily and a tray to make them look like my own. No one was ever the wiser, and it ensured that I would stay out of prison for involuntary manslaughter.


Then one day my daughter decided she wanted to help me bake the cookies. Clearly, the jig was up.


“Well, Mommy doesn’t actually bake the cookies,” I explained. “Mommy buys the cookies.”


Her little face dropped in disappointment. I could see I had failed the most basic lesson of Mommy 101: I burst the baking bubble. It only could have been worse if I told her I ate the Easter Bunny for dinner the night before.


After ruining her childhood, I realized it was time to bite the bullet and bake a damn cookie, even if it killed me, her and the rest of the class.


I decided to go for the easiest possible cookie - the slice and bake kind. There were no eggshells to accidentally mix into the batter, no ingredients to forget and replace with crushed potato chips, no batter to mix badly and end up with lumps of flour the size of Texas in the cookies. Not that I ever did anything of those things before. No, never.


Confident in my ruin-proof cookie plan, I sliced the dough, placed it on a cookie sheet, set the timer, put the cookie sheet in the oven and waited. I didn’t want to take a chance that I would miss the timer and the cookies would turn into petrified hockey pucks, so I didn’t leave the house while the cookies were in the oven, or get caught up on a phone call, or go to take a nap. Not that I ever did any of those things before. No, never. 


After 25 minutes, the timer went off.  I put on my oven mitts and pulled the cookie sheet out of the oven.


The cookies were not overdone. They were not underdone. In fact, they were not done at all.


Hard to ruin a cookie when you forget to turn on the oven.


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