Baking cookies. Last week we were singing the praises of brownies and lamenting the popularity of a brown beverage that poses as a food substance and has been voluntarily recalled for possible contamination. Today it’s time to talk about baking cookies. I’m pleased to have my writer friend and colleague, Brette Sember, visiting. Brette is the author of over 40 books (I know. I know. But if you meet her and see what a kind, generous, and smart person she is, you won’t be able to hate her for long), including Your Plus-Size Pregnancy. She’s also a mom of two. Her latest is an ebook called Cookie: A Love Story: Fun Facts, Delicious Stories, Fascinating History, Tasty Recipes, and More. You can read more about her at her website and on her blog and download her cookie book for free here.
Baking Cookies Teaches Love
By Brette Sember
Most moms make a batch of cookies once in a while. We do it because it’s fun, it makes our kids happy, and we don’t mind having a taste ourselves. But did you know that baking cookies has deeper meaning?
Take a moment and think about the memories you have of cookies from your childhood. You probably have memories of a special family member baking, of you baking with someone you loved, and of eating cookies made for you by someone who loved you. For most of us, baking and baking cookies is linked with these memories of close personal interaction. When you bake with your own children, you are creating these memories for them.
Why is baking cookies so personal?
Baking is a very personal activity. First of all, the kitchen is a warm and friendly place, where we gather only with those we love and care about. It’s a space reserved for family. Baking is something we do with our own hands, which takes personal care and attention. When you bake with kids it’s about taking time to teach them how to do something. You’re sharing a skill in a very hands-on way. Baking is also about paying attention to the desires of those you care about: We select what we bake based on what our kids will enjoy. Baking is a gift of our time and of energy.
Baking cookies for someone tells them you care about them, want them to be happy, and feel content. They are a tangible message of all the emotions we want to share. Whether or not we want them to have such deep meanings (and whether we’ve found other ways to send the same messages to our kids), cookies continue to be a cultural symbol of love.
Baking cookies links us to the past
If you use special family recipes, baking is a way to connect your child and your family to the past. Baking with your grandmother’s recipe is a direct way to link your life, and your children’s lives with her life. Baking with these heirloom recipes cements your family identity and focuses on where you came from and what you share. The cookies become shorthand for your roots, and a way to maintain the relevance of them.
Cookie baking has roots
Baking is a very primal way to connect with your kids, and one that children of all ages respond to. We humans used to gather around a warm fire and share food prepared over and next to it. We’re programmed to associate food with the idea of being in a tribe and warm food in a hungry belly is the most basic way to connect with someone else.
Cookies probably began as accidents. Grain pastes were baked on hot rocks into early bread. Spatters of batter dropped on nearby rocks were likely the first cookies: perfectly sized for children. When ovens were created, cookies were a way to test the heat and temperature of the oven, and also a way to quickly cook something for hungry and impatient children who could not wait for large baked goods to cook. They’ve remained popular ever since!
No matter what kinds of cookies you make when you’re baking cookies with and for your kids, you’re creating memories that your kids will carry their whole lives.
Published: November 13, 2012
Updated: January 19, 2020