I have an epic story about my home-baked cookies. Time has passed since this happened, so I feel comfortable sharing here, our own little Circle of Trust.
Well, let’s wait and see on that.
My freshman year in high school I volunteered to bake a double batch of my family’s beloved Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies for my entire English 101 class. As the only chubby, brown-skinned girl with bushy, wiry black hair in the room, I did my best to be invisible.
I spent a lot of time listening to other people’s conversations. One day I overheard some guys and girls talk about their craving for chocolate chip cookies and I worked up the courage to boast about my mom’s recipe.
One of the guys, Lane, asked me if they were so great, why didn’t I bake some and bring them in to prove it? Just the fact that he made eye contact made me melt.
“Of course!” I said, accepting his challenge. I knew I had to follow through. I would bring them in tomorrow morning! I guess I hoped the cookies would score me some new friends?
Bribery with sweets kinda thing? Always a win, right?
I went home after school and begged my mom to buy all of the best ingredients. However, when I made the shopping list, she flinched at the projected cost.
“This isn’t for a party or special event?” she asked, scanning her eyes over my long list of supplies. Real butter, not margarine. Real milk chocolate chips, not artificially flavored. “You are just randomly going to bake cookies for your class? That doesn’t make sense. Walnuts are very expensive!”
I guess you could say I was doing Random Acts of Kindness before it was even a thing!
“Please, Mom!” I begged. “I told everyone I was going to bring them. They will all be waiting for them. We don’t need oats, I found a carton in the cabinet, so that saves money right there! Please!”
She reluctantly agreed and forked over the cash for what was needed. I cleaned the kitchen and prepped for my big night of batter mixing and greasing cookie sheets.
However, upon the last step of the process, I noticed something strange as I stirred in the oats: Tiny black dots. Moving. A lot.
“Hmmm,” I thought as I poked in my finger to swirl around the mixture.
“Are those…wiggling?” I whispered, horrified. Oh dear Lord. Yes, they squirmed and did fancy back flips like micro acrobats. BUGS. I had mixed bugs into the cookie batter. What was I supposed to do? Throw all of it away? I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or throw up.
First problem, how would I explain this to my mom? She would be furious, especially after I guilted her into spending all that money!
NOTE: Before I proceed with the rest of this story, and before you judge – if you were 15 years-old and this happened to you, what would you have done? Just let that sink in a bit.
What did I do? I ignored. I didn’t see a thing!
My thinking at the time: The bugs were so tiny they couldn’t possibly do any harm. And seriously, you had to squint in good lighting to even see them. I figured once they cooked for twenty minutes at 350 degrees, they’d stop wiggling because they’d be crispy corpses of protein.
I happily finished baking the cookies, wrapped them up on a pretty plate and brought them into English 101 the next morning.
I felt like a rock star. Everyone swarmed me and said thank you over and over. I dusted off my shoulders in pride. They nom nom nommed and compared notes on the clever balance of browned edges vs. chewy centers.
And of course, Lane had a newfound respect for me. He nodded his head in approval for a job well done. He noted the high ratio of chocolate chips (I put in extra to cover up the bugs). Everyone sang my praises and deemed me The Sugar Goddess of the Freshman Class.
OK, not quite, but I sure felt that way!
It wasn’t until my senior year that I actually came clean.
While my friends (yes, including Lane) and I were at the final senior school dance on a Friday night, we moved away from the dance floor to talk. We sat under the dim lights of the auditorium bleachers and shared our favorite stories from years past. Embarrassing stories. Horrific stories. Funny stories, Sad stories. Stories we’d remember for a lifetime, hopefully. None of us judged each other’s bad decisions.
I’m talking the ultimate Circle of Trust. A safe zone. Soooo, I decided to confess my secret about the bug cookies from freshman year.
“I have a good one!” I bragged, waving my hand in the air. Everyone turned to give me their full attention, their eyes sparkling with anticipation. Circle of Trust, remember? No judgment.
“Remember those cookies Lane asked me to bake for English 101 freshman year?” I asked, holding my stomach because the uncontrollable giggle fest had set in.
My friends exchanged cautionary glances. “Yeahhhh, what about them?” they asked.
I finally caught my breath.”I…I… accidentally baked bugs in them!” I barely let the words escape before I slapped my hand on Lane’s lap, I howled with laughter, my eyes watering. I calmed down for a millisecond and expected my friends to bust a gut with me, but instead, they stood stonefaced.
So much for the Circle of Trust.
“KATHY. YOU FED US BUGS?” Lane said in disgust.
Talk about a buzzkill. Word spread among the school and for the rest of the year (thank God it was only a few weeks) and a few people approached me to make comments.
“I’ll never trust that smile again,” someone said.
All I can say is here it is many years later, it all worked out, it never happened again. And last I checked, everyone from my English 101 class is still alive.
But even so, maybe it’s a good thing I stick with crafts.
Happy National Chocolate Chip Day!
If you want cookie recipes with no bugs – here are some good ones!