The Power of a Cookie

For a blog that is intended largely to be about shooting and fitness, it probably seems odd that the first post is about cookies.  And on the surface, it probably is.  But if you think it’s odd, you probably underestimate the power of a cookie.

Cookies are delicious.  They come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors.  Some are chewy; some are crunchy.  But they all have one thing in common:  they have magical powers. 

Cookies have the power of a smile.  Now, I’m not advocating emotional eating because that doesn’t solve anything, but I have rarely seen a person eating a cookie who doesn’t have a smile on his face.  I am convinced the recipe card for every variation of cookie looks something like this:  Blend 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, and 2 cups flour until creamy.  Stir in 1/2 cup smiles.  Bake 8 minutes and enjoy!  In many cases, that 1/2 cup of smiles is suspiciously shaped like chocolate chips, but I’m sure that’s a coincidence.

Need a smile?  Grab a cookie!
Need a smile? Grab a cookie!

Some of the greatest memories of my childhood involve baking cookies.  Christmas cut-out cookies were always abundant in our house, and one of my favorite pre-Christmas activities was the night that Mom would get out all the different colored sugars, frost the cookies for us, and let my brother and I decorate them.  In retrospect, Mom really only needed to get out the red and green because I would make EVERY ONE of mine green and my brother would make EVERY ONE of his red.

Even as I’ve gotten older, the Christmas cookie tradition has played a role in my adult life.  For the last 3 years I’ve hosted a Christmas party centered around the activity of baking.  For several hours, my kitchen becomes a time machine back to our childhood, as each of my friends brings her favorite Christmas cookie recipe from when she was a kid.  We bake cookies.  We eat cookies.  We get flour all over the floor.  And we smile.

Christmas cut-out cookies.  Full of smiles and delicious SUGAR!
Christmas cut-out cookies. Full of smiles and delicious SUGAR!

Cookies have the power to make friends.  Cookies aren’t meant to be kept to yourself.  They’re meant to be shared!!  (See above about smiles, which are always better when shared with others.)  That’s why one batch makes so many cookies.

When I first started shooting 3-gun competitions, I didn’t know a lot of the other shooters.  But I knew one thing:  they’d want to know ME if I had cookies.  So for my entire first season of 3-gun, in addition to cleaning my guns and packing my ammo, I baked chocolate chip cookies before every match to share with the people on my squad.  It was a great way to break the ice and get to know people; nobody turns down a conversation with the girl holding a tin of freshly baked deliciousness.  My cookies have become something of a legend on the range, although I have also expanded my repertoire to include from-scratch brownies and muffins.  I’ve even traded cookies in exchange for some gunsmithing.

Ok, ok, so the cookies don’t actually MAKE the friends for you.  But they definitely open the door to a conversation.  The rest is up to you!

Have deliciousness; will travel.  Fresh baked range cookies en route to a match.
Have deliciousness; will travel. Fresh baked range cookies en route to a match.

Cookies have the power of love…but only if you bake them yourself!  I’ve got nothing against Nabisco and Keebler; those little tree elves can bake up some yummy treats.  Anyone can go to the store and pick up a package of Oreos or a few cupcakes from a local bakery.  But they lack the personal touch that accompanies homemade baked goods.

Two years ago, I baked cookies for all of the coaches at my Crossfit gym — all 35 of them.  I made 5 different varieties and it took me an entire weekend to bake them all.  My thought process was that our coaches invest so much time and energy into us all year long that I could invest one weekend back in them, just to say thanks.  What cost me a few pounds of sugar and several hours of work got me dozens of smiles and hugs and thanks in return.

Because we love cookies as much as we love fitness!
Because we love cookies as much as we love fitness!

When shared with others, homemade cookies send a message to the recipient:  I care enough about you that I spent time making these for you.  In our busy society, time is always of the essence, and may in some instances be more valuable than money.  Homemade cookies cost more than money.  They cost time, and they cost effort.  But they share LOVE so much more than the store-bought kind.

Such little cookies.  So. Much. Time.
Such little cookies. So. Much. Time.

What kind of cookies can you bake?  Maybe you’re not actually a baker; perhaps even the pre-mixed cookie dough is a challenge for you.  But no doubt, you have a little bit of time and some special talent that you can share with others.  Maybe you have a lawnmower and your neighbor doesn’t; maybe you know how to change the oil in a car.  Perhaps you’re proficient in web design or house cleaning, or are just really good at making people laugh.  Whatever “cookie” is your forte, remember to add 1/2 cup of smiles, sprinkle in some love, and share them with others!

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