Yesterday, I visited a local cookie store in our area, The D.W. Cookie Co., and was instantly transported into one of my Mama memories. As far back as I can remember, Mama always allowed us to help out in the kitchen. At first it was in small ways, like stirring the batter, or handing her things she might need for a recipe. Later, it transformed into a much more involved experience. Our kitchen had an open door policy at all times. That is not to imply that we were allowed to just waltz right in and grab anything we wanted. We were raised knowing that there was a purpose for all things in our house and whatever food we may stumble upon might very well have an ultimate destination on a much grander scale. All this really meant was that we needed to ask Mama before devouring it. In the overall scheme of things, alone the ingredient may be good; but, in one of Mama’s creations, it was bound to be phenomenal.
That brings me back to the memory that I stumbled upon yesterday. As I stood in this little independently owned business, tempted by the assortment of delectable, chewy discs displayed in front of me, I recalled my first true experience in our kitchen as “Head Chef.” I decided I wanted to try my hand at baking and what better way to start than with some ooey gooey chocolate chip goodness?
Now, Mom had a library of exceptionally tasty cookie treats; but being my new adviser, she decided a classic chocolate chip concoction would be an appropriate beginner challenge. What I loved most about cooking with Mom was the ease with which she managed to do everything. She allowed us to make mistakes without getting overly excited. I think this is a true sign of not only an experienced cook, but one of an amazing teacher. She never approached cooking as if there was only one certain way it could be done. So as I journeyed through the process of making my first batch of cookies, I was coaxed, allowed to err, encouraged to ask questions, and ultimately guided with the compassion of someone who had a deep love of cooking and baking.
I remember those cookies were not as perfectly balanced as hers. And as we nibbled on them, Mom explained what she thought might work better next time. I love the fact that she allowed me to make mistakes, because that is ultimately how one learns to cook, through experimentation and an understanding that nothing is set in stone.
As the years passed, I became quite the little baker and making cookies has always remained one of my absolute favorite things to create. So yesterday, as I stood in this amazing little store with chocolate dripping from my fingers and smudged on my face, taste buds dancing and angels singing, I thanked Mama for helping me to develop a true appreciation of the artistry of making cookies. Because of her, I was able to truly express to the owner and baker, Devar Ward, just how much his skill is admired and his Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie a true work of art.
No worries if chocolate chip is not your favorite. He’s got plenty of delicious combinations to choose from at his store, The D. W. Cookie Co. in Canyon Country, California. What I will say is….you must go and try them! It’s like all the delicious goodness of childhood rolled up in one round, delightful, sinfully good bite!