Tip Tuesday – Special Times

[Daring Young Dad here. I’m a Guest Blogger Schmoop today. Hi! *waves wildly*]

Once upon a time, I did not know how to make chocolate-chip cookies. Shocking, I know. This is the story of how I learned.

memories5My mom is a good cook. At least she has been for as long as I’ve known her. When I was small and trying to spend as much time as possible underfoot, I spent a lot of time with her in the kitchen. I loved to cook with her. I was fascinated with how you could put a bunch of stark, homogenous ingredients together in a bowl, mix them into some kind of batter or dough, and cook it, and then end up with ACTUAL REAL FOOD, like bread, or rolls, or cookies, or pies.

memories1Hmmm… I don’t think I knew the word “homogenous” at the time. If I did, though, it was because my Mom taught me””she was well educated in the ways of organic chemistry, and explained lots of fascinating stuff to me about how yeast worked, and gluten chains, and how soap works (cleaning is too part of cooking! to my great chagrin).

Unfortunately, we kids were a lot of work. Also shocking, I know. I remember at one point that my Mom seemed to be extra tired all the time. In my defense, I think she may have been pregnant with her third or fourth kid at the time. She just didn’t seem to have as much time or energy to fritter the day away making cookies with me in the kitchen. But that certainly didn’t stop me from asking.

One day, she was lying on her bed with one arm draped over her head trying to shade her eyes, but I wanted to make cookies. Alas, I was not the caring and sensitive man I am … still trying to become. I’m sure I used all my little-kid wiles to coax her into some kitchen fun, but she just couldn’t muster the energy. So she finally said, “How about YOU make some chocolate-chip cookies?”


“But I don’t know how!”

“But I don’t know how!””That’s okay, I’ll tell you what to do.”

“But I don’t know how!”

“It’s okay. Just go get the big mixing bowl out of the closet and put it on the counter,” [editorial note: yes, she really did have to be that specific] “and then come back.”

So I did. And then she told me to get two cubes of margarine out of the refrigerator and put them into the bowl. I did, and then came back. Then she told me to get the white sugar out, and to find the one-cup measure, and to measure a cup out, and put it in the bowl. I did, and then came back. Then for the brown sugar.

memories4This went on for some time, with some confusion at some points, but generally making it through. For some hard mixing parts, I actually brought the bowl to her in her bedroom and she helped do the hard stirring. (My mom was STRONG””she could totally cream cold butter out of the fridge! With nothing but a spoon! Wow!)

And that’s how I learned to make chocolate-chip cookies.I don’t know the recipe by heart anymore. And I think perhaps in my mind I may have coalesced several experiences and maybe forgotten some unpleasant parts involving gross mistakes on my part, but I didn’t have a journal back then and that’s how I remember it now, so that might as well be how it was, to me anyway.


What were your special times when you were small? What did your parents do with you that you loved? That made you feel special? That was fun?

About Guest Schmoop

I am the Daring Young Dad, of course.
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24 Responses to Tip Tuesday – Special Times

  1. Heth says:

    That was just beautiful DYD! Love the photos. (used that word for you Kathryn….)

    I just did this recently with my oldest, put him on cookie duty and he did a fine job. Women love men who can cook.

  2. Oh, totally. My man could cook when we met (granted, it was also chocolate chip cookies, but it was no less impressive). Our oldest is The Cook Extraordinaire, and it’s very fun to ask him to go into the kitchen and make this or that – not to mention handy for when he babysits his siblings.

    You DO have to be that specific. I love that your mom was so brave and let-go-y. Good for you and her! πŸ™‚

  3. jeana says:

    This brought back a memory which happened long ago when I was a teenager but which I hear at least 3 times a year told at family gatherings. My mom was telling me how to make tea, in much the same fashion as yours because, hello, I hate tea so I had never ever made it. Anyway, she was being VERY specific, up until the part where she didn’t mention that I had to remove the tea bags from their individual wrappers. So my “tea” cam out looking like clear water.

    I thought the wrappers were the teabags, just extra thick.

    I hate that story.

  4. HLH says:

    Welcome DYD. The little you reminds me of my 4 year old, he loves love, loves to help in the kitchen.

    I remember that I really enjoyed watching my mom roll out the dough for homemade cinnamon rolls. I think I used to beg for her to cut just a small circle off the end of the roll for me.

  5. Amanda says:

    What a sweet story! And what a patient mom. I need to do more of that with my own kids. Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. jeana says:

    But I love your story. πŸ™‚

  7. HLH says:

    it ate my comment. Sheesh, I said something witty and then I described how much fun I remember having when my mom would roll out the dough for cinnamon rolls.

    It just isn’t the same to recreate my comment…

  8. Tess says:

    Daring Young Mom In Law must have been strong, I can’t even cream the sugar and butter together.

    That is why I buy Pillsbury cookie dough pre mixed and shaped.

    (notice how nice I am to not call her Daring Old Mom? thought you’d like that.)

  9. Anne/kq says:

    I always cooked with my parents and older half-sisters. πŸ™‚

    My dad taught me how to make minestrone when I was about 8; by the time I was 9, he would do the chopping and I would do the rest, because mine turned out better than his. That’s how I discovered that I have a talent for soups. When Dom DeLouise came out with a cookbook and came over to our house, I cooked minestrone, and he gave me a signed copy of his cookbook inscribed to the “Queen of Minestrone”, which I still have. (He didn’t tell me it was better than his mother’s, but several other Italian friends have.) It was a proud moment in my young life. He also taught me to garden and can.

    Another thing I used to do with my dad was sewing. He taught me to sew at an early age. Hiking and backpacking were also fun things to do with him.

    Then, of course, there was the music. I always went to music parties with my dad and his professional and semi-professional friends, and they always let me, even encouraged me, to sing. I know all the old songs now, and love the music, and even write my own songs, because of my dad including me in that part of his life.

    With my mom, my most special memories are of museums, and car trips, and cleaning. The car trips and cleaning aren’t special in and of themselves so much, but for the time we spent singing together (she’s from a musical line, too), and talking, and for the basic religious trust she instilled in my soul.

  10. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    My mom used to mill her own wheat. As much as I hated (REALLY hated) the sound of the mill I loved making breat with her though! Punching dough is fun. It’s way better than Play-doh and tastes better too! I even had my own tiny little loaf pans for my own tiny little loaves. Just thinking about it sends me off into a little warm and yeasty fugue… ^_^

  11. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    My mom used to mill her own wheat. As much as I hated (REALLY hated) the sound of the mill I loved making breat with her though! Punching dough is fun. It’s way better than Play-doh and tastes better too! I even had my own tiny little loaf pans for my own tiny little loaves. Just thinking about it sends me off into a little warm and yeasty fugue… ^_^

  12. Stephanie says:

    I can see myself telling my kids to go make their own cookies while I lay in an exhausted stupor…

    Roadtrips to Grandma’s were special when I was a kid. Loved the road trips because it gave us great talking opportunites.

  13. allysha says:

    nice to read you, DYD. Love the pictures! My fav story does not involve myself. It involves my mom giving my sister instructions to whip up some cream. She left a wire wisk on the counter. My sister was a little clueless and spent 40 minutes (I kid you not) getting grumpier and grumpier and was tired out by the time the cream was whipped, completely unaware until we all came home and teased her about it, that her wisk was indeed an attachement to the mixer and it would have taken her about three minutes if she would have thought through it!

  14. Dan, those pictures are priceless. I love your guest post, and I love you.

  15. Nantiemeg says:

    Dan! You rock my socks off, and so does your mom. I love you!! Can’t wait to see you, you cute wife, and all the chillun’ in 4 weeks!!

  16. Mary says:

    That is so sweet! You really have a great mom. A fun food tradition in my family growing up was making Sunday-night fudge or pop-corn balls with my dad. Messy, sugary goodness just before bed. I’m sure my mom just loved it.

    When we bake cookies, my toddler MUST pour everything in the bowl for me and MUST sample lots of chocolate chips. She’s a helper!

  17. Michelle says:

    Thanks, just thanks. Now my husband wants to know when he gets to guest blog for me. πŸ™‚ All I’ll hear is, “Daring Young Mom let him do it, why can’t I?”

  18. What a sweet story. It is the little things that make the best memories, your mom is awesome DYD.
    Your whole family is so cool πŸ™‚

  19. grammyelin says:

    I always knew that I LOVED your Mom. This just reinforces it. I wonder if she realized at the time: that she was not only helping you to be a happier boy, but a better husband and father in the future? That is a wonderful story and I’m crazy about all of the pictures. Great post, Dan. You could totally do this if you wanted to. Love you.

  20. Shalee says:

    Hi! *waves back wildly*

    Dan, that was a fabulous memory to share with us. I love how literal your mom had to be because that is exactly what I have to do for my kids. (Go to your closet, pull out some socks, put them on, then find your shoes and put them on too.)

    My mom liked to cook, so I watched and learn. The hardest part came when she would just throw some stuff in. I’d ask how much that was and she would just lift up her shoulders and say, “Enough.” I get that now. I do it to my kids too. It really led me to become comfortable about cooking and not just following a recipe.

    I’m working on meatloaf with my daughter. I hope that one day, she can give this story as a great memory too.

  21. KYouell says:

    My family has a story like this, but it was my grown uncle asking detailed questions of his wife. “Charmaine, which bowl do I use? Which spoon do I use?” etc. He was just doing it so she would come make cookies for him. One time she finally told the story in front of my aunt (that uncle’s younger sister) and he was immediately outed. He had been the one to make the cookies for them when they were kids and had the recipe memorized! What a sneak.

    I like your story better. It’s a good idea to cook with your kids, especially the fun stuff that you are known for. You don’t want the food to just be a great story when you’re gone; it’s better if the descendants keep making the recipe to remember you by! Mmm. I think I’ll go blog about Horace and Doris beans. πŸ™‚

  22. a fan says:

    in my husband’s family, dad was the cook and mom was the one who didn’t know to take the large stouffer’s lasagna out of the box before putting it in the oven, thus causing a small house fire. unfortunately, dad worked a lot and the kids therefore ate a lot of grilled cheese and frozen lasagnas. but the recipes dad used and the memories he passed on to my husband are priceless. i guess the burnt lasagna cardboard memory is priceless, too…

    but i appreciate the example dad set for my chicken kiev and rice pilaf making husband. i LOVE having a husband who can cook, even if it’s less frequent than i’d like. baking, not so much… but he’s killer on the cooking stuff! yesterday, our girls talked him into making “egg treats” (deviled eggs) before he left for work. they beg to make them daily!

  23. Pam in Utah says:

    Dearest DYD, what a sweet post! You were indeed young and I was indeed pregnant and feeling way more than a little awful that particular day and I remember it well. I thought you were in kindergarten, but I think you were 6. You really wanted some cookies but I just couldn’t do anything that afternoon. You remembered it really well, and I broke every little thing down for you and gave you a little encouragement, but not that much, and it really was a fun experience. I was so proud of you, that you would just do what I said instead of saying “I can’t I can’t” like some might have. You have been an “I can” person all your life. I love that about you. And I love your family, too!

  24. Pam in Utah says:

    A sweet memory of MY father was when he had us come out on the farm to help move sprinkler pipe. We were probably 8 and 9.The pipes were too heavy for us individually, so my sister and I moved them together. What a sense of accomplishment. My dad always used to say when we had done something a little challenging “I knew you could!” I loved that about him, the way he was proud of us in a good way.
    One of the things I loved about my mom when we were little was that she used to play games with us all the time, and she even made up a homemade board game for me when I broke my ankle in first grade, and I was the most popular person in the class for a while because everyone wanted to play it with me. She had the nicest laugh. One funny thing that I did as a kid… When I was old enough to know better, I made some cookies and thought they looked a little different. My mom said they’d be fine, just put them in the oven. I kept checking and they kept getting thinner and thinner and I would say to my mom in the other room “they don’t look right!” Finally they started dripping off the corner of the pan and she came to look. We all laughed, as I had forgotten to put in the flour!

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