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the cookie conspiracy: a cautionary tale

‘Tis the season to repost this little rant from last December:

Snow Men
It feels to me like the cookie currency in my town is getting out of hand.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love cookies as much as the next girl.  I like to bake, and I like to eat, and I’m happy to do my fair share.  I believe cookie making is festive and heartwarming for those who bake and those who partake.  But is there a point when too much is. . . too much?

When I moved to the midwest years ago, I quickly realized the Christmas cookie culture was big.  It feels like every woman worth her salt (except me) gives up a full weekend to make a zillion dozen of a myriad of different kinds of cookies for the world.  Where I grew up, some people –those who thrived on baking as their love language– did this, but not everyone.  I do make batches to give as teacher or hostess gifts.  I enjoy baking a few dozen for our church’s cookie walk fundraiser.   I’ve learned to make extra for my family to enjoy at home, or I buy more at the cookie walk for a hefty sum.   It’s for a good cause. 

But that’s not enough.

There’s the cookie parties.   Everyone brings at least two, three or four dozen cookies to trade and share with everyone else.  When it’s all done, you get to bring home a small plate of assorted cookies.  But where, pray tell, do all the other cookies go?  Does every person at the party eat three dozen cookies?  It’s a mystery to me.

And that’s not all.

We have the church, school, and extracurricular cookie-driven events.  Typically, the night before every event, someone sends an email requesting “just a couple dozen homemade cookies” as your admission ticket.  Plus a small, insignificant but witty, beautifully wrapped gift.  No big deal.  Just whip up a couple dozen from your perfectly stocked pantry or pull it out of the massive stash you prepared the day after Thanksgiving.  Oh, you didn’t?  Oh dear.  Might want to think about that next year.

Then there’s the family.

When your children find you whipping up that last minute batch, they’re crushed if there aren’t “just a couple dozen” to eat at home.  So you make more. . . more. . . more to dial down the whining.  Then your husband, who is trying to lose weight, doesn’t want a cookie in sight in fear that he’ll gobble them up in one sitting.  So you conceal. . . stash. . . scarf the evidence to support his efforts.  Even though you’re jealous of his willpower.  Because you’re nibbling “just one” of every tray coming out of the oven. 

I think I’d have to make at least 20 dozen cookies to meet everyone’s demands requests, and it’s enough to put me over the edge.  Please tell me, invisible internet people:  who created this madness?   Who eats all of these cookies, and what do we do without them the rest of the year?  I love cookies, I do, but I’d like to make them on my own terms.  In the age of increasing obesity, over-the-top stress levels, and my own slloooowinng metabolism, is this the way it should be?   Could I be overreacting, becoming a scrooge-ess over  just a couple dozen cookies? 

Never mind, don’t answer that.  If I have to ask, I already know the answer. 

Step away from the oven, sister.  Just say no to the cookie conspiracy


2009 update:  Pam hasn’t been invited to any cookie parties this season and is beginning to feel the urge– to bake or nibble, she’s not quite sure.  She’ll get around to it sooner or later, but for now she plans to pick up a few dozen at the First United Methodist Church Cookie Walk on December 11th.  Enjoy the baking and partaking! 

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7 comments to the cookie conspiracy: a cautionary tale

  • naomi

    I am inviting you to make some cookies for me. No cookie conspiracy here. Just “other” conspiracies. ;)

  • Amy Brooks

    LOL! I love making cookies at Christmas time but one year I baked dozens — dozens! — of cookies and everyone ate my mom’s frozen, pre-cutout sugar cookies instead. I vowed to myself never again! Now I just make a couple different kinds that just my immediate family like and a batch to leave for “Santa” (which usually means Grandpa when he and grandma drop off all their presents on Christmas Eve after the girls are asleep). As much as I really want to bake, it seems pointless — just a lot of wasted cookies. So sad.

  • Doug

    On the other hand the organized women group in my church makes thousands of dollars with their cookie walk where the proceeds go to mission – usually helping the poor and under privileged. Seems like a pretty good thing for a little inconvenience.

  • pam

    Yes, Doug! The cookie walk is a win-win for all: those who love to bake and eat, and those who benefit from the proceeds. Amy, next year you can put all that energy into helping the underpriviledged, and I’m quite sure your wonderful baking will be greatly appreciated.

  • Not to be a Scrooge here. I love the idea of making/baking things for charity. (I donate proceeds of my holiday book sales to homeless shelters.) But as I noted on your Facebook page, the holidays are really a challenge for those of us who are trying to control weight or must avoid sugar for health reasons. I’ve been invited to a couple of cookie exchanges, one of which required AT LEAST 6 dozen cookies! I wish the holidays weren’t so much about food. (Don’t get me wrong, I love food and I love to cook.) I try to resist the many temptations, but when my mother-in-law, for starters, presents us with a huge tin of wonderful sweet things, I cannot resist … I pay an unhealthy price for this, long after we ring in the New Year.

  • I’m so with you on this Pam. And I realized my kids aren’t really excited about baked goods. I’ve toned it down considerably, and say no to cookie exchanges.
    For some reason this made me think of years ago when I first started going to weddings with my husband’s Italian family and friends. I’ve never seen so many cookies, for no apparent reason other than wrapping them up to send home. Largely with the people who made them to start with. And there were only a very few varieties that were good. Wasteful , as I’m sure many of them got thrown out, or tossed in the freezer to be forgotten, or eaten by people for the sake of it, and regretting the wasted extra calories.

    sorry, a little scroogie.

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