The love of my life


In the movie Field of Dreams, James Earl Jones, playing the character of author Terrance Mann, gives an impassioned speech about baseball.

He tells Kevin Costner’s character, Ray Kinsella, “The one constant through all the years Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”

Click here to see his speech in it’s entirety.  Get your hankie out if you’re a baseball fan.

That speech has been stuck in my head since I first watched the movie. The speech of someone who connects the present with the past and the future with one common, unifying thread. The speech of somebody truly passionate about something they’ve intensely loved since childhood. Something that’s brought them comfort through the bad times and joy in the good times. Something that is inherently good and unchanging.

But baseball? Hardly. I’m thinking that he was really talking about that foundational pillar of American society…

The chocolate chip cookie.

Think about it. Fill in “chocolate chip cookie” for “baseball” in the speech and it makes perfect sense. Way more sense than baseball.

Bake it and they will come.

As a young girl, my mother didn’t attempt to teach me how to cook. She did, however, let me make chocolate chip cookies. And so it started…

Through all the seasons of my life, my constant has been the chocolate chip cookie. Through all the uncertainty of life’s twists and turns, the chocolate chip cookie was always there to help bring calm and reassurance to my life. Though the good times, it was a celebratory focal point.

When I went into labor with both of my children, the first thing my husband did was to make a batch of slice and bake chocolate chip cookies to bring to the hospital. Seriously. I ate them after each baby was born when I was famished. It was sweet balm for the tired, but jubilant soul!

But don’t hate me for this – AGMA’s actually a dough person.

About 70% of the ccc’s I’ve eaten have been in the form of raw cookie dough. Which technically isn’t a “cookie” but I don’t want to get too caught up in details… If you’re a dough person, you understand. If you aren’t, then there’s no way I can explain throwing caution to the wind about consuming raw egg and answering this siren call of the naked, unbaked ccc.

It’s fascinating to note how access to the chocolate chip cookie has changed through the years. Back in the day when AGAM was growing up, you either had to bake them yourself (if you had any left over after the dough binge…) or you bought the rock hard, baked by elves, flavorless ones in the grocery store cookie section.  Yuck.

Then, in the 1970’s, the Pillsbury Company turned the chocolate chip cookie world on it’s head. They came out with the slice and bake chocolate cookie “log”. Revolutionary! Suddenly everybody had access to freshly baked, soft ccc’s (or ready made, hard as a rock ccc dough.) It was like Woodstock, but way better.

Peace, love and chocolate chip cookies.

To attest to the enduring popularity and societal importance of the chocolate chip cookie, cookie stores in malls became all the rage in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. But the cookies always tasted meh and were too expensive. Not good ccc karma. AGMA’s glad that fad is dying out.

But we’ve truly come a long way baby. Take a look at the refrigerated cookie section in your local grocery store now. It’s freakin’ mind boggling. All kinds of cookies in all kinds convenient forms – from the traditional slice and bake to “pre-chunked” cookie packages.

I know this because I was just there on Sunday. Buying some pre-chunked ones. I had the post-football beer drinking munchies. A few of them actually made it into the oven.

To clarify, the pre-made dough is fine in pinch if you’ve just had bad news or are desperate for the nearly narcotic calming effects of ccc’s. Or suddenly get a fit of the munchies. Or are having a baby.

But at heart, I’m really a purist. My favorite is made from scratch, gooey, soft chocolate chip cookies. And dough.  No nuts or other additives allowed. Just sugar, butter, eggs, flour, salt, baking soda, vanilla and quality bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks.

A balm for the soul and the fabric that hold us all together as a society.

The chocolate chip cookie.  The love of my life.

“It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again.”