12 July 2005


this is an excerpt from a longer piece i wrote/am writing. let me know what you think...

Making cookies in Grandma's, while my younger sister napped, is the first memory I have that is not more sensation than experience. I was supposed to be napping too, but I could not sleep, the lure of the kitchen was too great. We creamed butter and sugar, used only real vanilla and the eggs were so fresh we had to wash them off before cracking them into the bowl. The whir of the electric mixer was more soothing than the hymns I learned before I could read. When the dough became too thick for the mixer we used wooden spoons, taking turns. Grandma would not let me give up when my right arm got tired, "Cookies need lots of elbow grease." So I switched arms. Flour, oats, and then the chocolate chips. Stir some more. The first batch went into the oven. We got the next pan ready while the first baked, but invariably I would finish dropping those perfectly rounded balls on to the pan ages before the timer sounded. The timer was old, a dial with sixty dashes to mark off the minutes. It would start about thirty seconds before zero with a low buzz, softer than the bees that came inside with the peonies from GrandmaÂ’s garden. Then it would actually click over the mark and the volume would increase to fill the house. We had to turn it off before that click so Mary didn't wake up. The anticipation brought by that soft buzz was almost more than my four-year-old being could stand. The smell of the cookies that preceded the buzz, caramelizing sugar, melting chocolate, seemed to me a more powerful alarm than the buzzer itself. The peak of the smell would tell you when twereeere done, not the peak of the noise.


  1. Your voice takes on an interesting tone when you write. It's almost as if these need to be whispered or read aloud in a soothing bedtime story voice.

    And you're right...now I want cookies!