If cookies could talk, what would they tell you?
Would they give you a piece of advice, telling you that using real butter instead of the fake stuff works every time” or would they give you penance “this means one more mile, or no pumpkin pie later” or would they project blame or reveal an apparent flaw: “you are so weak and undisciplined” or perhaps, they would be silent, accusing you of clear cannalbalism, that your desire won out, and yes, in fact, you are “an emotional” eater.
Yet…eating IS emotional. One of the best memories of “Christmas” involves my great-grandmother’s recipe for cinnamon rolls and the fact that this was the only time my mom allowed us in the kitchen. The smell of yeastiness getting jiggy with the flour dusted air and later, charring raisins and brown sugar and vanilla…put us into a peaceful anticipatory coma. Waking up to those pillows of fluff on Christmas morning felt just as sensational as unloading drooping stockings.
Of course, certain foods speak to us. When ingested, they release chemicals that cause us to feel relaxed and happy. And sure, during the holidays research shows that we are MORE stressed, LESS fulfilled…because we expect that somehow, all this non-routineness, all the tinsel taping and turkey trussing and santa visiting will give us a sense of appreciation….that we run ourselves ragged chasing unrealistic ideals…and thus are more “stressed” and craving of foods that trigger those happy feelings.
Why is that a BAD thing? Why do a slew of magazine articles and segments on TV or advertisements warn us of putting pleasurable treats into our pie-holes when “emotional?” Then, we feel guilty for being “guilty” and truly, we can’t control the emotions roused by the holidays, or these little perfect gingersnaps.
If you can’t eat emotionally at Christmas…then something is seriously wrong in this world of ours.
With this in mind, I hosted a cookie exchange to honor the emotional preparation and eating of these gems and to SHARE it with the families of the Pediatric Staff….being aware of the story and the process and the taste and the outpouring of happy dancing taste buds on your tongue (molasses plus ginger create merry elves of goodwill in my brain) turns emotional eating into therapy….(see instructions at the bottom of the post)
David, the Director of Housing at Fuller Theological Seminary, would bring these critters in a few times each year, and just eyeing the little basket that cradled them, had this profound effect on moral and productivity. He is the kind of baker, and leader, that makes you want not need to “earn” those cookies, because he already made you feel worthy of them. And when you think of it…a cookie is just a cookie. You don’t “deserve” it…it should be worthy of you, not the other way around. Plus, when I asked for cookie recipes, a dozen or so friends all agreed on these cookies. The shared emotion…that is the best ingredient of all:
Ginger Snaps – (from Florence Smith – David’s mom)
Mix first 3 items together
¾ cup of shortening (butter)
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup molasses (THIS IS KEY!)
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ginger
Chill so it can be made into balls
Roll in sugar and drop on cookie sheet
Bake 8-10 min @ 375
(I made a second batch for a friend, vegan style with no egg, adding 1 tsp of cream of tartar, and using 1/2 C. oil instead…SUPER yummy!)
Now, you, too, can have a session of your own…
Let the healing begin!
What emotional eating is healing for you??
The How-To of the Cookie Exchange
Half a dozen of your cookies will be put out to eat at the party, and the rest is reserved for exchanging!
Bring 3 dozen cookies with their own platters. All cookies should be homemade (or bought from a home-made baker!). Please provide 12 copies of the recipes if possible. Bring an empty platter to take your goodies home.
The Cookie Exchange will start at 4pm…Each participant will introduce their cookie and why it was chosen. Numbers will be drawn, and then one by one, each person will pick out half a dozen cookies at a time (you’ll get three times) The cookies that “sell out first” will win a gift card to Java Café.
HINT: Bake the cookies 1-2 days ahead of time so they can “dry out” a bit. A freshly baked cookie is not a good cookie to transport. When we’re swapping, we’re piling different types of cookies on top of each other and the fresh ones crumble .