The holidays are an especially difficult time of year for Oregano. He has a sugar addiction and I bake cookies as holiday gifts. The aroma of the cookies lure him to the kitchen where I invariably find him snitching them off the cooling rack. At first he denies having eaten the cookies, but the crumbs on his shirt give him away every time. Then, he tries to legitimize his thievery by claiming to be a cookie quality control officer. I’m certain one does not need to eat nearly a dozen cookies to ascertain their quality. He argues that he needs a large and varied sample to adequately do his job. I realize I’m being conned, but since he is willing to clean up the kitchen after I make a mess baking, I play along with his little charade.
Oregano’s sweet tooth is insatiable and uncontrollable. Once, when I was baking with unsweetened baker’s chocolate, he walked through the kitchen and grabbed a hunk of it. I warned him not to eat it. I told him it wasn’t sweet, but he ignored me and popped the large chunk into his mouth. He didn’t get very far before he turned to me with the most befuddled look on his face. His brain could not process the mixed signals it was receiving from his eyes and taste buds. Quickly, he spit out the chocolate, took a swig of water and then began wiping his tongue with paper towels. As he dejectedly left the kitchen, I could hear him muttering, “It looked like chocolate. It said chocolate on the label.”
Oregano and his ever present sweet tooth have always fantasized about eating a big cookie: no particular type of cookie, just an unusually large cookie. I’m not talking about the jumbo sized cookies seen in diners and bakeries. Those aren’t big enough. He wants a cookie on steroids; a cookie the size of a hubcap. Something about the thought of seeing and eating a baked good so large sends him into fits of euphoria. Several years ago, when I was baking raspberry thumbprint cookies, Oregano had the opportunity of a lifetime. As I removed a batch of cookies from the oven, Oregano spied a small amount of dough left in the bowl. The idea of the big cookie always lingering just below his consciousness, he turned to me and said, “There is only enough dough here for a few cookies. Can I use it to make one big cookie for myself?”
Knowing his love of the big cookie and because I already had 4 dozen cookies, I agreed. He eagerly set to work rolling out a wide expanse of dough then glopped heaping spoonfuls of raspberry jam into the center. When he finished, he had created what can only be described as a fist print cookie with a lake of raspberry filling. He gingerly slid the monstrous cookie onto a baking sheet and popped his creation into the oven. In just 15 minutes he would be able to fulfill his dream of eating a big cookie.
In order to make room for the girth of the big cookie on the cooling rack, I put its normally sized brethren into a tin. Behind me I heard the oven door open and a sigh of delight escape my husband’s mouth. The big cookie had baked perfectly. Just a few minutes of cooling and Oregano’s lifelong cookie fantasy would become a reality. With my back still to the oven, I felt something warm ooze down my hip. I looked around and saw a splotch of red on my hip and my shocked husband staring at an empty spatula. At his feet was a big pile of little pieces of the big cookie- raspberry jam side down, of course. Apparently, in his zeal to get the hot cookie to the cooling rack and into his mouth as fast as possible, he had made a fatal decision. He chose to transport the top heavy cookie from the oven to the rack via a flimsy plastic spatula using only his reflexes as a safety net. As I looked at Oregano’s crestfallen face, I noticed that he was sucking on the tip of his finger. Adding insult to cookie injury, he had burned his finger in an attempt to save the teetering, hot cookie from an untimely and inedible demise. Alas, the hefty cookie did not survive the impact with my hip and the floor. The dream of the big cookie remained elusive as my husband sat shoveling a pile of crumbs into his mouth.