Do yourself a favor and send your mom this video–I guarantee she’ll love it. I know mine did.
My mom is a saint for many, many reasons.
The biggest reason is the sheer fact that she’s put up with me for over two decades, which is a pretty amazing feat in itself.
You might recognize this recipe because I’ve posted something very similar here before, but there’s a story behind this necessary redundancy on Mother’s Day!
My mom is very particular about her cookies; you might call her a bit of a CCC connoisseur. She is the best mom imaginable and unimaginable, but she doesn’t sugarcoat anything, not my life performance and certainly not my baking. Growing up, there was none of that “Oh good job, honey, you did a great job!” some kids heard after their soccer game. No, it was always, “What happened to the last points you missed?” or, to other parents, “I wish my daughter could be more like your daughter–so smart, so responsible!”
My old college roommate was absolutely shocked the first time she heard about this. “What do you mean, your parents don’t praise you for the work you do?” she asked me when I told her, unfazed and laughing, that my dad had just called and said that English majors really are bleak creatures with downright morbid economic futures.
To be fair, I totally agree with him. Us academics are part of a sort of masochistic trade.
Most recently, the part of my achieving life in which my mom has become most involved has been (unsurprisingly) my baking. As my blog has grown, she’s become one of my best go-to taste testers and critics. Like me, she has a huge sweet tooth–but like her usual self, she is also hyper-particular about the types, textures, and flavors of sweets she will eat….and she will not hesitate to tell you when she downright hates something you’ve made for her.
Now, for someone who loves baking as much as I do, this can be a little hard to chew on sometimes, especially when all you really needed after the cookie platter’s been passed around was a big smile and a hearty thumbs-up.
I’m sure that sounds slightly artificial, but at the same time it’s totally true. I’m a huge believer in strategic affirmation, a.k.a. knowing when to be brutally honest about something and when to sort of tweak your framing so that the other person feels better about their self-worth without getting totally deluded about their potential. Unnecessary, unconstructive critics are probably among my biggest pet peeves. As an incredibly relationships-oriented person, I don’t think the phrases “Well, it’s the truth” and “Just saying” are excuses for chucking a wrecking ball through someone else’s day just because you want to be right.
I’m not asking for endless rainbows or unicorns that shit sprinkles. But tactless or unsolicited criticism? No. No wrecking balls.
Miley. I’m looking at you.
Needless to say, this sort of tact-before-telling approach isn’t something I learned from my mom–who, for the record, I love to the ends of the Earth and back.
I guess I’m glad she was honest about my cookie record. She doesn’t like brownies, she doesn’t eat things with cinnamon in them, and this crosses a lot of my favorite recipes off her list. She didn’t like my favorite thick and chewy chocolate chip cookie (gasp), and she certainly didn’t like my favorite soft-baked pudding cookie (GASP), though I basically had to bum-rush the cookie platter to save a few for her to sample. And when she didn’t want them, er, I might have kinda stuffed them all sorrowfully in my face while blasting BSB’s “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” in the background to assuage the pain in my stabbed heart.
As I write this post, I find myself suddenly toying again with the idea that my parents must have plucked me off the clearance section at Petsmart and that my whole life is just one huge fat Petsmartian lie and we aren’t even related to each other. Because who could not love my favorite thick and chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe??
Answer: My mama didn’t like them.
On the other hand, we totally are related.
I mean, so related it’s kind of scary sometimes.
For example, we both love:
- Hong Kong style French toast,
- Running around vast lawns making wild gurgling noises,
- Dipping our feet in the ocean,
- Mickey Mouse;
- Eyeing and nibbling other people’s meals instead of our own;
- Playing puzzle games, and
- Wiggling our butts when we’re bored.
We both hate:
- Smelly people,
- The sand that gets caught before our toes after we’ve dipped our feet in the ocean,
- Getting sucky massages by people who prod you like they’re trying to pop bubble wrap or something,
- Loud bass blasting from inconsiderate adjacent cars, and
- People who walk way, wayyyy too slow at theme parks. (Ain’t nobody got time for that!)
With all of this said, my mom is everything to me: BFFL, mentor, fellow frolicker, go-to shoulder, antagonist (sometimes!), shopping buddy, chef de cuisine, confidant, and a billion and one things I haven’t named for everything I have. I love everything about her–including, I’ve come to realize, her completely honest opinions, which I realize affect me more than most others’ opinions because I value them so much. That’s why I’ve been hard at work creating THE chocolate chip cookie for her this year–it has been a crowning obsession with me (as my mom knows only too well–I’ve shoved at least ten different batches of CCC at her in these past months alone, and every time the frustration scale creeps up a notch when she dismisses it a la Anton Ego. I mean that literally–she won’t swallow if she doesn’t love it.)
After the eleventh gorgeous, puffy, soft-baked batch came out and received a decided Mom NO, TOO SOFT, I realized that some things really are better tried and true. If my mom’s found her favorite version of my chocolate chip cookie recipes, who am I to fight it? This is the woman who fed, pampered, bathed, sheltered, raised, and put up with me, after all–she deserves some major props.
So here’s my cookie for Mom: thick but not-too-thick, chewy in the middle, crisp on the edges, not soft-baked, not-too-puffy, no-extensive-chilling chocolate chip cookies with white chocolate chips and coconut thrown in for good measure because Mom loves those.
Feel free to toy around with the recipe to your mom’s (or whoever you want to make these cookies for’s) tastes.
I just sent my package of cookies off on Wednesday, and I am so nervous right now about how she’ll react when she tries them that my hands are actually trembling. Deep down, I know these cookies are beyond stellar and have been Mom-approved before, but the tha-thump-tha-thump of my heart isn’t going to believe it until I actually hear it from her. Fingers crossed! (5/12/14 UPDATE: SHE LOVED THESE COOKIES AND THIS POST YAY–I’m a worthwhile human being again!)
Until then, and in the grateful spirit of Mother’s Day, I’ve decided to write a list of completely honest truths that I want to share with my mom (who I hope is reading this right now!) and that you can read below. I hope you find it as sincere and apt as I did in writing it. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom–because we love everything about you, from your open integrity to your admirable, unwavering love for your entire family…
And that is the complete, honest truth. <3
Happy Mother’s Day!
Are you celebrating Mother’s Day? What fun things do you have planned?