Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It's time to make the cookies

We were out of cookies. Again. Having boys home all summer means empty cupboards, cookie jars and refrigerator shelves. The eco 'burban dad even remarked tonight that it's a little bit like the army around here. Tonight at dinner, I filled plates and glasses and within minutes it was all gone, like our dining room was the mess hall at boot camp. And they were asking for more. Only, that was all that I had prepared. And we were out of cookies. So, I made cookies. Again.

In the old days, I wouldn't have fretted about being out of cookies. I would just buy more cookies. Or, dig into the pantry for yet another box of cookies trucked in from Arizona or New Jersey. Today, I make the cookies. I am making so many freakin' cookies these days I feel like a Keebler Elf. Some days, I resent those cookies. Why make cookies when you are so busy? Because now, I can't even bring myself to buy cookies. I don't walk down the cookie aisle, I don't want to buy cookies. I can't buy cookies. I think about all the bad, bad things in cookies. I see all the bad, bad packaging wrapped around the cookies. And how I would be a bad, bad mom for buying the evil cookies. Or, so I think.

In that lies the problem. Sometimes I am too tired to make the cookies, but I make them anyway. Sometimes I am too busy to make the cookies, to stressed to make the cookies, too over extended to make the cookies. But I do it anyway.

I am sure you can imagine - cookies are a metaphor for so many other things in this greener lifestyle. Searching out local food, going out of the way to shop at farmer's markets, looking for products that use less packaging, visiting thrift store after thrift store to find something you need or taking the initiative to write letters, make phone calls or whip up some cookies. Sometimes it's harder, sometimes the search is longer, sometimes the process more complicated, but in the end, we all do it anyway. Why? Because lying in bed at night rethinking the day, I have no second thoughts about local, organic healthy cookies. No guilt for taking the easy way out. No remorse for how I treated our planet.

So, eat the sugar cookies boys. They were made with love, a pinch of stress, a touch of tiredness and a lot of consideration. I will make more tomorrow.

14 comments:

Joyce said...

EBM, I SO remember my four tall thin runners with blast furnace metabolisms looking around after a big meal like Oliver Twist-"Please, sir, can I have some more?"!
Maybe they could be put on the cookie baking detail themselves? Cooking isn't just for girls, and it's really just an edible science experiment. As long as you're home, with the fire-extinguisher in hand, and don't mind some mess, they might have some fun with it.

Heather @ SGF said...

When you look back, though, wasn't it worth it? I started baking all ours immediately after looking at one of those pop-in-the-oven cookie packages. Yik! I'm not much of a cookie eater but my hubby was downing them like there was no tomorrow.

Speaking of cookies, I don't know how fast your crew eats them, but I make huge batches at a time, roll them into serving size balls, freeze them on cookie sheets, then drop them into gallon size plastic baggies. That way when he wants cookies, he can pop as many as he wants in the toaster oven (or in your case, probably the oven as you probably make quite a few at a time). It means, I don't have to mix the dough quite as often.

So enough about cookies, since that really wasn't what the post was about. Hang in there. When you in the moment, being green can be so completely exhausting and it tempting to do things the "easy" way. But despite the fact that all those efforts add up to an exhausting EBM, they also add up to a beautiful and healthy earth through you and all those who you inspire. Your effort is never wasted. Have a great day!

JAM said...

This was a really great post. I think it does a great job of summing up that all the little things we try to do are worth it in the end - and believe me, your boys will have great memories when they're grown up of their mom that made them cookies - they would have no such memories of scarfing down a pack of Oreos in 2 min. In addition to giving them healthier food that's better for the planet, you're showing them that they are worth your time and that you love them - not that it's bad to take shortcuts when we need to - but for those times we don't, it makes a lasting impression. Thanks for a great way to start my day - you've inspired me!

Green Bean said...

So true. While it takes longer to do these things, I'm just not willing to go back to the old way. In fact, it's not even that I'm not willing. I literally can't. Living in accordance with your principles makes up for a lot of stress, tiredness and such. It is the only way to live.

arduous said...

Aw, but your boys will forever remember that Mom made them homemade cookies.

However I'm with Joyce. Why not put them on cookie baking detail? They might even enjoy it.

JAM said...

I don't know how old EBM's boys are, but I know she has 4. I have 2 girls (which are scientifically proven to be much less messy!) and they are 9 and 14. Now (and only recently) they can actually make their own cookies, and do a pretty good job of cleaning up. Before, it was fine to cook with them if I was going into it as an educational, bonding experience, but it would take twice as long and create twice as much mess. If EBM's boys are still on the young side, cooking for fun is great, powering out major batches of cookies is probably easier by herself!

eco 'burban mom said...

Joyce & Arduous - yes, they can HELP, but boys 4, 10, 12 & 12 are not quite ready for going solo on the cooking front. They do reheat their own lunches and can make sandwiches and things, but a 350 degree oven is something they're not ready for. And, I run into scheduling issues. Yesterday was baseball practice, so they weren't even home to help! I am SO not waiting until they get home at 8:30, shower the stink off and then have time for me about oh... 9:30 PM!

Heather - Yes, I am glad they will look back and remember my homemade cookies with love. I just hope they don't look back and also see a stressed out, frazzled mom always worrying about making the cookies. That is hard for me. Though, I LOVE your idea about making the dough and freezing the premade dough balls. I think next time I will make a double batch and freeze half. Duh, why didn't I think of that?!?

GB - Why is it so much easier to look back and the end of the day and appreciate your principles, but when you are elbow deep in cookie dough with a oven pumping out heat in the summertime you just don't feel the same way?? I need you to can some of your zen and send it my way!

Jam - Thanks for recognizing that ocassionaly, it's just easier to whip out those cookies yourself. Really, cookie making with 4 boys is just drama. The 4 year old will NOT take turns and share, the two 12 year olds sigh and ask if they can go call their girlfriends now (yes, they have them!) and the 10 year old gets his feelings hurt because the 4 year old takes all the turns doing the "cool stuff". My annoyance about having to make cookies goes up about 10 notches just thinking about it! During christmas time, they all help me with the baking. It's much easier when there are more tasks to go around. Frosting, decorating, cutting etc. When I can assign a job and walk away, that's best. But, like you said, they just don't have the "clean up" gene. I think that automatically goes to the girls!!

Chile said...

Yep, you are right on target comparing this chore to others we simply have to suck up and do because the alternative just isn't acceptable anymore.

But...that sounds like a lot of complaining from the kiddos about helping make the cookies. Perhaps they should have to earn their cookies instead of getting them so easily and freely. Just sayin'...

I know my siblings and I were helping in the kitchen from a young age. It made us appreciate how much work our parents went to keeping us fed. And, my brother turned out to be an outstanding cook. (Me too, but I don't wanna brag...much.)

JAM said...

Ok, I promise this is my last comment on this post! Chile, you do have a very good point. As much as we can, we should involve our kids in the chores of life, doing it all for them does no favors. Now, I can see picking and choosing where to involve them, and maybe cookies yesterday was not where EBM wanted them, but your point is well taken. The girls and I just spent an hour in the sun at the pool, and after we walked home we were all tired. They both sat down with a water bottle and a book, while I went out to take down the wash and fold it, and check on the chickens. Now that it's summer especially, they do need to be doing more. It's hard for me to let go, since I am a bit of a control freak and I want things done now and the way I want them done, but I need to give them jobs and let them do it. OK - now I'm turning away from the computer and going to make brownies with my 9 year old. Completely non-local, non-organic, but delicious and bought before I started paying attendtion to where my food came from!

eco 'burban mom said...

Chile - while I don't disagree with you in theory, I do disagree in practice. Truth be told, the 4-year old help make cookies last night, and just about every time I make them because it's fun for him, which is fun for me. And, as much as I believe my boys should help out in as many daily activities as possible, I have a limit for stress.

My day starts at 5:45, includes an 8 hour work day, various school, sports and homework related activites. There is no cook, housekeeper, gardener, dog walker, babysitter or nanny. My husband works an amazing amount of hours, which can not be controlled.

So, I only have so much patience left for teaching, instructing and helping my kids learn a new task. And, I have a rule, if I can't be calm, nurturing and helpful, then I should do it myself. Nothing much is gained from a crabby mom being snippy and short while teaching a new task. They certainly won't grow to love and appreciate cooking or gardening, if I am just griping at them throughout the task. Rest assured, the boys are all (even the 4 year old) in charge of certain age appropriate chores. And, the kicker? We don't believe in allowances! Some things are just part of being a family.

Just this afternoon, we picked strawberries at a local Upick. As I told the boys, come December - strawberry sundaes will be for pickers, not loafers!! :o) More on that tomorrow, because really I see a glimmer of hope for future cooks and gardeners in there. I just need more time to be patient and helpful, like I had today!

Chile said...

Got it. And that's one of the reasons I chose not to have the little kiddums. No patience. :)

eco 'burban mom said...

Chile - Oh, but feel free, if you ever wonder what you missed, I can box mine up and ship them to you FedEx Ground. I will be kind enough to send the SIGGs along so you can refill them 55 times a day! And, you could test out all those kick-butt cucumber recipes. They could help you cook them. :o)

Chile said...

ROFLMAO! Nice try, but I wasn't born yesterday. You could, however, box up some of those cookies and ship 'em on out. ;-)

eco 'burban mom said...

Too late... you can't wait 24 hours to request cookies in my house. They're gone. Apparently the eco 'burban dad decided to get in on the cookie-action. Seems like they are much tastier when they are homemade too!