Whenever I bake chocolate chip cookies, I think of two things.
There. Now the pop culture references are out of the way. I have a rule in my life: The ingredients for chocolate chip cookies must always be on hand. If you drop by my apartment unexpectedly, and it’s been raining, and you have a case of the mean reds, or you got unhappy news, or you didn’t get the latest edition of InStyle yet even though three of your neighbors already did, or you couldn’t find a copy of “Despicable Me” to save your life, I want to help make your world a little bit better. With cookies. There are lots of ways to make the world a better place—clean water, access to medical care, education, hugs, and cookies. Generally I can’t do much about the first three in a pinch, but I’ve got the last two under control.
Like Monica, my chocolate chip cookie rule exists to help me be the best Aunt Hannah (and eventually Mom Hannah) I can possibly be. Like Ana Pascal, I like to make awful days better with cookies. “Stranger Than Fiction” is a poetic movie for many reasons, but sometimes I understand Ana Pascal more than Harold Crick or Karen Eiffel or Professor Hilbert or even Penny. In my mind, Pinterest exists solely to supply me with new recipes for cookies that I can bake after 11pm. For the past two years, I’ve called baking “Productive Procrastination”—even though I’m spending two hours not doing classwork, I still have something to show at the end of it. Graduate school can often be a selfish endeavor, focused on my research, and my writing, and my students, and my life, and my blah blah blah. So if my baking cookies lets me share something other than a great book review with others, then I will bake long into the night. Everyone needs a little pick me up, and what’s better than a cookie now and then?
A cookie is a little thing. And, as Karen Eiffel so perfectly points out at the end of “Stranger Than Fiction”, all the little things, all the perfect moments, are all the things that are the most important in our lives. In fact, “They are here to save our lives.” A cookie is an edible hug. Hugs and cookies are warm, and sometimes gooey, and come in all different shapes and kinds. Last night, I made myself one single chocolate chip cookie and it was the best idea I’d had all day. It was a little thing, but it was perfect. Sometimes, we just need a hug, and sometimes we just need a cookie. And then there are days we need both.
And on the days we need both, I’m here for you.
I don’t know about you, but I love cookies, and I love hugs. And because I’m Aunt Hannah, I am always here with both. If you’ve had a good day or a bad day, just come on over, even if it’s 11pm. We’ll put on some Hanson, pretend we’re twelve, and dance it out. And then, after about nine delicious minutes, we’ll stuff our faces with chocolate.