Yesterday, Paula Bourque posted this slice, using the prompt “What do you know by heart?” This definitely got me thinking. I am slicing in the March Slice of Life 31 Day Challenge with my fellow yearlong slicers. Read more slices here. This is day 25/31.
By Heart #sol20
March 25, 2020
When I first thought of the questions What do you know by heart? I thought of the obvious answer, numbers. I know my social security number, my phone number, others’ phone numbers, my copy code, addresses, the list could go on and on.
When I read Paula’s post, I thought deeper about what I know my heart. I know recipes by heart. Maybe you know some too. One recipe I could recite at any time and perhaps make with my eyes closed is chocolate chip cookies. Oh, I’ve experimented with fancier cookie recipes. Even loved them. However, most weeks you will find the tried and true recipe right there in that cookie jar my mom gave me for a wedding shower present. That silly looking mouse cookie jar with the chips on the rim that have been sitting on a kitchen counter in three states and even more cities since 1981.
I knew the recipe by heart even before then. You see, we had a cookie jar in our kitchen growing up as well. I’m trying to think now what it looked like. I don’t have many pictures from my childhood, but I think it matched my mom’s dishes which means it was in the shape of a bobwhite quail. Yes, that’s right, the little bird. My mom had Redwing Pottery dishes with bobwhite quail walking across them. All the accessories were quails. Had you met her, this would make perfect sense. Back to the recipes.
So you probably know the recipe, but here it is by heart.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mix 1 cup softened butter (MaMa used margarine) with 3/4 cups brown sugar (light) and 3/4 cups white sugar (she called it cane sugar). She had an old Sunbeam Mixmaster Stand Mixer. I can see it standing on our formica counter in the kitchen making that gentle whirring sound. My personal secret here is to let that whip up for 4-5 minutes until it’s soft yellow and has peaks.
Add two eggs one at a time along with 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix well. I add a little more vanilla here and. unlike MaMa, I use cage free eggs and organic vanilla. She probably used imitation vanilla.
Now is the time for the dry ingredients. I never saw her sift them and in chip cookies I don’t either, I just dump all the ingredients in, 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour I (now I will only use King Arthur), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tsp. baking powder. Mix just until it comes together.
Add the entire bag of chips. There were only Nestlé Chips back in the day. Now I use many different kinds. Stir until mixed into batter.
Drop cookies on baking sheet by teaspoon. My grandmother used the two spoon method. Scoop with one spoon, scrap unto pan with the other. I use a cookie scoop. Try and keep the kids from eating the raw cookie dough. Good luck!
Bake in 375 degree oven for 10 minutes. Leave on pan to cool for five minutes and then shift to cooling racks for another 15 minutes or until you remember to put them in the cookie jar or the kids have eaten half of the cookies.
When I asked my grandmother to write down the recipes that she cooked on rotation at our house, she had to think on the measurements using the palm of her hand mostly as the measure. That’s what I know by heart, the recipe for chocolate chip cookies and for being a home-cook. The kind of cook that looks into the pantry and says let’s have orzo and chicken tonight. But that recipe is for another day.