Since the beginning of time itself, my mom, my sister, and I have baked chocolate-chip cookies. They’re not amazing or perfect and definitely not round, but to us they’re as good as paradise. We bake them all the time, on rainy evenings, or mopey afternoons, or cozy Sunday mornings. If you scavenged through our kitchen and found that cookbook, in its rightful place beside the toaster, you would see the recipe forever open to that spot. You would see the splattered batter marks. You could even count the thousand chocolaty fingerprints. Today, we will bake them again, stirring up all our memories in the mixing bowl.
We cascade into the kitchen, hollering and whooping and turning on cheerful music. We all dance, and Zoe sings, her sweet melodies rising into the air. We do a lot of things, but mostly, we bake. I dump in teaspoon after teaspoon. Cup after cup. I add vanilla, contemplate, and then add more. We pull out ingredients from cupboards. Flour flies, and batter drips. All the while my dog licks up the mess. Spatter, lick, spatter, lick. It goes on like this for a while until we have successfully put the pan into the oven. We stare in, oohing and aahing at the soon-to-be cookies.
Now all there is left to do is wait. And check the timer, and wait. And peer in through the oven glass and wait. And wait.
With nimble fingers, my mom pulls our legendary cookies from the oven. They are the yummiest shade of buttery brown. The chips are melted completely, mixed into the soft cookie. Perfect. Only then does my dad come down to admire. Only then does my sister stop texting. Now, it is time for our little feast.
When I was little, and Zoe was little, we would pretend to have tea parties. I would lay out a pink crocheted blanket, on which we’d all sit, as if on a picnic. We’d sip milk from small teacups, and talk in English accents. My sister and I were usually princesses, and my mom, the queen.
Now, as time progresses and we are all too old for make-believe, my family sits at the kitchen counter, just our plain old selves. We guzzle cookies, not trying to be proper or princess-like. We talk too. About regular things, about school, about what we’ll cook next. It usually turns out to be those same cookies. About past and future, and right now. Maybe we don’t play pretend anymore, but I’m sure we love these cookies as much as any queen of England ever could. Maybe even more.