Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Slice of Life: #52 Stories, 1/52: The Roots of my Obsession

If you know me, then you must know of my cookie obsession. If I stop at a bakery, I'm eying the cookies. If it's my birthday, I prefer cookies over cake (though it is tough to put candles in a cookie). If it's December, then you'll find me in the kitchen baking cookies to share with friends and family. Actually, I share cookies year round, but December finds me with several tins of cookies in the freezer ready for whoever needs or wants a cookie or two.

This particular obsession had its roots in 4-H. I was one of those small town kids who participated in 4-H. We met in the courthouse on the 3rd floor.

One of the first things we did was learn to sew. Two sewing projects I remember? A scarf that wasn't even sewn, it was merely a piece of fabric fringed on four sides by pulling out threads and a wrist pincushion made of felt, with a piece of cardboard inserted before we stuffed it with cotton. A piece of elastic secured it to the wrist, with pins at the ready for the budding seamstress. All the sewing for this project was done by hand. Was it the beginning of a long career of sewing? Nope, I never made it to the 4-H runway in a stunning handmade dress. With a mom who worked in a fabric store and two older sisters who were accomplished seamstresses, I could always find someone else to sew for me. 

Sewing was not to be my chosen hobby, but 4-H did lead me to a favorite hobby, baking. I remember fondly the cooking demonstrations by our local county extension agent which we willingly devoured at the end of the 4-H meetings. So it should come as no surprise that in third grade, Kay Benham and I decided on our demonstration project - How to Make Chocolate Chip Cookies. 

We practiced often, or as often as our moms would allow us. We copied the recipe on a poster so we could refer to it during the demonstration, we measured the ingredients ahead of time and  arranged them in containers on the cookie sheet. We showed how to make perfect drop cookies with a spoon and a knife, no fancy cookie scoops were in use at our houses. This was the 60s and you made do with what you had. We even included a wet washcloth for wiping the cookie sheet or table in case of spills. 

We were prepared. We had practiced. We rocked the demonstration. So why were our mothers quietly chuckling as we returned to our seats? They had both noticed that the cloth we used to wipe down our cookie sheet was the same one we had used to wipe down the table at the beginning of our demonstration after another member's dog demonstration. In spite of this hygienic blunder, we took home a blue ribbon! And I took home an obsession for baking cookies that continues to this day.


  1. Fabulous story. Fantastic #52 project. You are going to have fun and as a result have a short personal story book ready.

  2. That’s a great story! Best to you as you write 51 more!

  3. Great story, fun memories! The blunder makes it so real...

    It wasn’t a 4H project, but for fun my daughter and her friend made a baking video (also a cookie production) that had the moms not just chuckling but laughing out loud at the line “don’t forget to wear protection” (delivered as they held up their hands with oven mitts on before opening the oven to take out their cookies).

    1. So funny! These are the stories that will last in family lore.

  4. What a great memory. I love when something from childhood lasts a lifetime.