Warm Cookies and Milk
I grew up with fine cooks in my life; my maternal grandmother was a wonderful cook, my eldest aunt on my father’s side was the ultimate cook, and then there is my Mom. It is unfortunate that cooking now isn’t as important as it was when we were growing up. Busy schedules and the availability of fast food has turned it into a somewhat lost art. Come back with me into the kitchen; climb up onto the stool and see that beloved individual in your life create and/or teach you one of the fine foods that will for years to come, bring back memories that can and will be ignited by a fleeting thought.
Sunlight filtered into my bedroom and the aroma crept up. At first I simply rolled over, then my eyes opened and I sat straight up. In a semi-trance I made my way to the kitchen. Ahhh fresh rolls. My maternal grandmother made the best little bite sized rolls you could imagine. I remember helping her, but I never quite got the hang of it. Instead I am happy to be the cake baker of the family.
As amazing as it is, we don’t really think about how smells, fragrances, aromas act as a time machine for us. I realize it only because I am so far away from the familiar terrain I grew up in and around. I didn’t know where this was going when my friend told me a story and sparked the writing bug. The title came fast and the rest just lingered on with nothing really inspired to talk about. It was, after all, her memory and she relayed the story so well. I was trying to gather something from a similar experience, so that I could do her memory justice . Perhaps that was my mistake I was trying too hard. I could not do her story justice because it was her story, and even though she gave it to me as a starting point it still belonged to her. I cannot touch the feeling she relayed to me from her mind’s eye. I just know I was right there in the room with my friend and her mother tasting those cookies.
Then I saw a photograph of another friend from childhood with her beautiful little granddaughters on the playground. The baby was bundled up, her big sister looking on showing off baby sister, and my friend glowing with pride. I could smell the cool, dew drenched Southern California mornings. I felt the chill in the air and I went back to grandma’s kitchen. I saw her cutting out the little delicacies and I tasted the buttery delight of them. This segued to my first mornings with my new baby sons, decades flew past like the pages of a book in a mild breeze. Then I knew my warm cookies and milk memory was simply my family, my friends, and their faces. Ignited by one sense, but crescendoed by another.