if i were to promise you that this bl0g post will neatly explain all my memories and associations surrounding chocolate chip cookies, then that would be a silly promise for me to make. how could I possibly summarise accurately and eloquently all that they mean to me? what you will get here is a disjointed rambling and a messy muddle of memories about chocolate chip cookies. because that’s what they are. messy muddles of memories that melt all over your fingers.
what comes to mind when I think about chocolate chip cookies? first of all, school picnics and sports days. two things were for sure. number one: mum was going to bring a traybake. it was always a traybake. mum has drilled into me from a young age the practicality of a traybake for large numbers. “mum, I need to bake something to take back to school for my friends.” the response? always, “do something practical. do a traybake.” number two: a barrel of mum’s chocolate chip cookies.
I remember always being nervous about my mum bringing her bakes into school to give to my friends. it was strange. I think it was because I knew she was the world’s greatest baker because I had sampled all her delicious treats. but now, in my head, my mum had to prove to my friends that she was the world’s greatest baker in just one bake. the idea of my friends not being able to recognise this caused me great anxiety. she was the best – no ifs not buts!
but anyway, back to the cookies. mama would bring at least one barrel, two, if we were going to my brother’s school: it was all-boys and they liked their cookies. choc chip was always a favourite but year by year, cookie barrel by cookie barrel she grew to learn the preferences of the boys through a process of trial and error. first was the classic choc chip – the most popular, of course. forever and always. then peanut butter – largely popular but a few fusspot eaters weren’t a fan. and then oat and raisin – a real ‘controversy.’ it is a personal favourite of mine but, you know teenage boys. put anything with an implication of health near them and they turn their noses up at it. mum was trying to give them variety and excitement but after year three she realised they didn’t really care. they wanted a mummy munir choc chip cookie and thats all!
but what I love about the chocolate chip cookie is its timelessness. even by my brother’s final speech day picnic, when the burly boys came out with their manly half-grown beards, when mum brought out the cookie barrels their faces lit up in the same way that they had five years ago, on their first speech day.
a chocolate chip cookie is a constant and a commonality. we all have memories of chocolate chip cookies. for me, it’s my first bake, it’s school picnics, it’s feeding my friends at school, around the kitchen table with mugs of tea and giggles and its many more splendid things that I just don’t have enough commas for. it doesn’t have to be some big, symbolic, poetic memory. it’s just simple encounters. the chocolate chip is a familiar face. whether it be maryland cookies in your lunchbox or mum’s homemade cookies on the picnic rug, as you sink your teeth into a chocolate chip cookie you will always beam with a great smile. a smile for nostalgia and a smile for childishness.
11 years ago, I was sitting on a picnic rug, I had grass stains on my sports kit and mud all up and down my legs. I was sitting with other seven year-olds, messily chomping down chocolate chip cookies. now I’m here with a big fancy camera and food props, food styling like they do in the big food magazines. but take away the picnic rug and the camera and the props and it all comes down to the same thing again. suddenly all the worries of the “adult-world” can melt away and its just you, your chocolate chip cookie and a smear of chocolate on your cheek. none of us have grown up, really. we’re all still just big kids that munch on chocolate chip cookies.
here is our favourite recipe: https://www.nigella.com/recipes/chocolate-chip-cookies