The best chocolate chip cookie I ever ate was on June 28, 2019. I was with my friend Celena and my cousin Tara. We were wearing bathing suits and sunglasses and sitting on chairs that were the size of toddler beds on a roof top deck at the hippest club in Chicago I’ve ever been to. (It’s so cool, when we walked inside, we were told we couldn’t tag the establishment on Instagram. Can you imagine being cool enough that you don’t need to be on Instagram? That’s like, Emily Dickinson cool.)
The cookies were served to us with fresh brewed coffee, and time stopped when they were presented on trays held out before us. Tara, Celena, and I simultaneously sat up, slid our sunglasses down our noses, and looked at the chocolatey treasures in the same way as I’m sure Juliet looked at Romeo for the first time.
The cookie was everything a chocolate chip cookie should be and more: gooey and crunchy, the right amount of chocolate in dough, which was buttery and brown sugary. But the best part was the sea salt sprinkled on top. Did the baker shake the salt on before or after baking the cookies? What made her decide to use salt? A trend? Instructions in the recipe? A whim? I knew about the teaspoon of salt that goes into the batter — I always pour a bit into my palm to brush and mix in — but these crystals that sparkled under the Chicago skyline were something else entirely. They made everything pop. It made me wonder what Juliet was eating at the masquerade when she saw who it was she wasn’t supposed to mix with.
These cookies also made me consider my friendship with Celena and Tara, women who I’ve grown up with. The three of us lead very different lives. We are three very different ingredients. I wonder sometimes if our personalities were laid out on paper someone would say, “Don’t put these three together. It’ll be a disaster.” Yet the three of us together might be one of the best recipes around.
A chocolate chip cookie is so very basic, but I’m wondering now whether the same is true for love, and also, for a best friend. Perhaps it’s these basic things that make us see the possibilities in the world and in us. Why not salt a cookie? Why not follow the boy you were told to stay away from? Why not step toward the vivacious girls you assume you have nothing in common with while hoping you’re wrong? Why not step toward them anyway.
What’s your favorite cookie? Is it something simple — vanilla, flour, sugar, eggs? Or is it complicated, with frosting or nuts or dough that needs to chill? Why do you love this cookie? Is it because of its taste? The memories that surround it? This week write a poem about a cookie, but see what else bakes as you write.
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