At ground level

A column about LIFE

Life is like baking cookies

I have been baking cookies all week. They are for the Milk & Cookie Bar at the baby shower I will be giving my daughter this weekend. Some friends ask, “Why not buy? Why go through all that trouble and stress?”

I’m not really sure why I’m putting myself through all “the trouble.” All I can say is homemade cookies always taste better than store bought cookies. And they always seem more special, too, especially when you see others enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Isn’t that the case in anything you do? You tend to celebrate your achievements, especially the ones that have been tough to earn. Like life…

In many ways baking cookies is like life. It can get pretty messy. And like life, it’s how we make it that matters. Paying attention to the ingredients and how much to put in – just like the choices we make in life.

So far, I’ve made nine dozen chocolate chip cookies and, by tomorrow, I will have made seven dozen shortbread cookies in the shape of onesies.

In my haste and distraction, I forgot to add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to one batch. While mixing another batch, I couldn’t remember whether I had already added three cups of flour, so I added yet another cup.

When you don’t measure the ingredients correctly, or combine them the wrong way, the cookies don’t turn out the way they are supposed to. Like life… We make mistakes because we don’t pay attention, or are careless, or don’t heed advice from people who know better.

I thought I knew better than the icing recipe, only to find out the extra tablespoon of water I added to the Royal Icing was just enough to spell disaster. All I could do was stare helplessly as the pink icing quickly ran over the cookies and on to the parchment paper.

Some mistakes are worse than others. That batch to which I added that extra cup of flour turned out downright awful, and I had to start all over again. Like my life, and starting all over again here, in California.

Tomorrow, I will ice the onesies. They have to be perfect because they will be the shower favors. I plan to wrap them individually and top each one with a pink bow.

I’m a little rusty with my decorating skills, but I’ve practiced. I now know better than to second guess the experts. This time, I will make the border first, and then flood the cookie; I will use a #2 tip, instead of a #3 tip; and I will wait until the icing has hardened, before I decorate the cookies with stripes and polka dots.

Practice makes perfect. Like life … you just have to keep on trying until you succeed.

Once the cookies are decorated and individually packaged, I will face yet another hurdle. You see, my daughter lives in Vegas, so packing the cookies in my suitcase and making sure we all get to Vegas in one piece, undamaged, will be a challenge!

I can’t risk taking the frosted cookie favors on the airplane with me, for fear the TSA will confiscate them. I’ve heard of too many horror stories about similar incidents.

After much research, I stumbled on one woman’s advice. She said the best thing to do is to carefully wrap them individually and separate them with bubble wrap; pack them in single layers with more bubble wrap; place them in pizza boxes; and then pray!

Challenges in life never end. About the time we think we’ve overcome one hurdle, here comes yet another. Sometimes, we think we’ve followed the perfect recipe, but somehow hit a roadblock. When we know that we’ve done the best we could, we have nothing left to do but pray…

Mind you, I will be praying all the way to Vegas!

February 8, 2012 - Posted by | Life | , , , ,

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