Cookies and Prufrock

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In honor of Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, I baked cookies this weekend.

When I claim to have “baked” cookies, I mean that I made the cookies from scratch rather than slicing flat discs off a pre-packaged roll of refrigerated dough, placing the them onto a Silpat lined cookie sheet and sliding them into a 375 degree oven for 9 to 11 minutes before pulling them out of the oven and triumphantly proclaiming to anyone within earshot, “Huzzah! I have baked cookies.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and technically, that is the job.

I tend to bake, though, when something’s weighing on my mind and it’s usually all that’s required to take my mind off whatever that something is. So I cut butter into teeny tiny cubes, and I level off cups of flour and sugar; measure out teaspoons of baking soda and salt, thinking of Prufrock as I do. I unpack brown sugar and carefully pour in vanilla and beat in eggs – one at a time – before stirring in the mixture of flour and baking soda and salt and finally, folding in the chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.

I’m about four months, and one very casual dating situation with someone who keeps telling me what a “down chick” I am (can someone please tell me if that’s a good thing?) out of my last relationship, and I’m really in no rush to start down that road again. When it happens, it happens, and I’ve no doubt it will happen. And indeed there will be time, or so Mr. Eliot has promised.

Life is busy, though. I find myself very focused on the changes going on in and around my life now. I look forward and there are dreams, plans, and goals. I’m not anxious to write them down or talk about them, though, because I’m afraid that, like a birthday wish, if I say it aloud, it won’t come true.

Reading that now, it seems so silly, but that’s a real thing. I heard once that if you share a goal, speak it aloud, you’re actually less likely to follow through with it. It’s as though saying you want to do or achieve that thing – whatever it is – fulfills the largest part of that goal for you. Like you’re recognized as a better person for even ASPIRING to do it. As though that were the impetus for having the goal in the first place – to be seen as someone who would do, achieve, or aspire to such a goal.

I know people who won’t talk about what they’re doing or writing or pursuing until it’s real, and I kind of dig that about them. I can’t put my finger on why exactly. I guess I just admire them for being able to keep secret something they really have to be so excited about. Don’t you think that takes incredible restraint? But instead of exposing that wonderful project or creation, they protect it until it can stand on its own. Like a child or a new relationship, they keep it close and safe in order to allow it to grow and develop without the influence of the outside world. I think there’s something beautiful in that.

I ran this morning. I ran yesterday morning, too. Then I went to yoga and after that I dropped off some chocolate chip cookies to an ex-whatever that was and current friend, someone I still think is very cool. He’s one of those people who will hold on to an idea or a goal or a secret, or even just a memory, to keep it close and safe…just like, once upon a time, he did for me.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

BAKE at 375° F for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

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