January 10, 2008
Morning Cookies

For the new year, I bought a weekly desk calendar with some inspirational phrases on it, and decided to keep the pages clean, except to document creative excursions, and to make sure I was dedicating a some time each week to a small adventures and fun.

A few days ago, I woke up in the morning wanting to make cookies, and since I had promised myself to keep
the little calendar lively, this seemed like a great idea – furthered by the fact that my Mom had sent me back to New York from Ohio with a great little cookie mix and jar of frosting. (Okay, I realize it could be considered cheating to make them from a mix, but the love involved in receiving said mix from my mother should muzzle any nay-sayers.)

There is something nice about baking in the morning. I’m sure that’s when it was done, traditionally, and yet most of my life, I’ve always had school or a day job, so baking in the morning on a weekday kind of feels like a magic day off or playing hooky! And I realized that if we all got to do one thing per week that felt like we were playing hooky, we’d probably have a lot more fun, and end up being more productive from our place of a more positive outlook.

I am a perfectionist when it comes to setting cookie dough balls on a cookie sheet. I don’t know why this is – perhaps it comes from my graphically-inspired visual background. But each ball has to be the exact same size (spoons help measure this nicely), and also perfectly round – no lopsidedness or protrusions. I form these balls with concentrated deliberation, seeing no other way. I do not know why I am doing this, until I pull them out of the oven (just a touch of golden brown around the very edges – I am also a perfectionist about baked-ness), and remember from some obscure past experience that they become perfectly shaped, flat, smooth disks in the oven. I relish this perfection again when I frost – making perfect swirls with my spatula as I do so.

What I love about baking is that it is not complicated (particularly when using a mix!), but it requires full attention. I can therefore clear my mind from stress by simply putting my full attention on the perfection of the shape of a ball, or patiently wait for the exact touch of brownness I am waking to appear around the cookie’s edge while it’s baking. It centers my mind in a place of wonderful simplicity, and in the end, I get to eat the delicious results.

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