include a large amount of love.
Everyone has a favorite. It’s a
great question to start a conversation or to open a group discussion because it
seems as if most people have an immediate answer. My favorite food has always been my mother’s
chocolate chip cookies. Her cookies were
probably the reason I could never lose those extra five pounds I’ve always
wanted to lose. She’s told me it’s
simply the recipe on the back of the Toll House Chocolate Chip package but I
don’t believe her. I think there’s a
secret ingredient, perhaps one of which she’s not even aware. It’s a mystery! I’m not the only one who loved her chocolate
chip cookies. They were a favorite for
the whole family, especially my son Joey.
For years she baked him a special batch.
“Those are only for Joey.”
I think he was one of her favorite grandsons. Recently, I’ve had other people tell me she
baked special batches of cookies for them too.
“She told me, these were only for me.”
both my youngest daughter, Ellen, my sister’s daughter, Samantha and to my
brother’s daughter, Stacy. The food
doesn’t just taste good but it looks yummy. I was stunned when during one of my
visits to Ellen; she asked me if I’d like to see her journal. I couldn’t even imagine where this offer was
leading. Was she going to confess some
deep dark secret or worse yet have one of those mother-daughter “come to
Jesus” conversations? Then she
pulled out her baking journal. It was
beautiful. She had all the recipes she’d been trying and the adjustments
recorded to make them more to her liking and photos of the cookies and cakes. I was honored to have her share her passion
share their treats with their friends, family and whomever they think would
enjoy them. I watched my mom and I’ve
watched other bakers go about giving away their cookies to whomever they wanted
to grace. It didn’t need to be a special occasion. It might just be because someone needed a
pick-me-up or perhaps it was a way to say “thank you.” My mom would give her yummy cookies to the
hair dresser, the auto mechanic, the nurse and doctors she frequented, to an
ailing friend or perhaps to her friend’s caregiver. They were always warmly and graciously
received. Many times our Christmas
presents to her were fancy “cookie” boxes with her initials on them
or several cookie tins with varying designs.
She even began saving some of the small used plastic containers from the
grocery so she could package up just two or three cookies and present
them. I envy people who like to
bake. I too would like to be seen as a
warm, generous person who says “thank you” with a tangible yummy
treat but, I don’t like to bake, especially cookies. So, I wondered what I could share in a
homemade treat. Let’s face it even if you’re
not eating sugar or can’t eat sugar, the gift still warms your heart. You know someone really cares and they’ve
taken the time and the energy necessary to let you know. Perhaps sharing food in any way brings those
same warm feelings. I’ve been to many
events where people showed up with food as a form of love and support. My experience of living in the Midwest and
now here in the South affirms that belief.
If someone has a tragedy or is going through a difficult time, people
bring meals. During my many months of
cancer treatment we were supported with some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten
and on the flip side, I’ve dropped off meals whenever the opportunity presented
itself. I usually make dinner and include
some sort of chocolate candy. I don’t
bake. I do, however, make every effort
to be affable and caring on a daily basis.
but usually the recipient too. I’m an
avid hugger. I learned that skill from
my husband, Sandy and my mother-in-law, Yolanda. I know not everyone wants to be hugged. If I’m not sure I open my arms and
hesitate. It’s usually fairly obvious if
it’s not welcomed. That doesn’t happen
very often. I love to send snail-mail birthday
cards with a blessing over them and a few loving words inside. I know these small gestures do not hold a
candle to a good chocolate chip cookie but it’s my way of letting people know
they are loved; they are an important part of my life. I value them and their relationship.
was famous for her chocolate chip cookies.
When I spoke to the presided of her Requiem Mass, Father Doug Reed, I
shared her notoriety and he wanted to know her recipe. I told him what she said that it was simply
the recipe on the back of the Toll House Chocolate Chip package. I, however, knew she was not sharing the
secret ingredient. Now, I know why. I don’t think she was aware of it. It was magical! Her secret ingredient was her love. She made those cookies, cakes and pies with a
heart filled with love. We all show love
in different ways. This was my Mom’s way
and she did it marvelously. Love is the secret ingredient in every special gift
we share with another. It’s that one
thing that tells someone, “These are only for you.” I love you.