Ethel didn’t cotton to baking cookies very much, so the task fell to a Mackey child’s capable hand. Another thing Ethel couldn’t stand was facing a dirty kitchen when she came to work. Anybody using her kitchen better make sure they cleaned up after themselves.
One Saturday night, engrossed in their favorite show Get Smart, Gordy suggested that they should try their hand a batch of cookies. “What do you mean we?” Sallee sneered as she lazed on the sofa. Her brother’s cooking style tended toward a seat-of-the-pants approach while hers, of course, was more exacting. “Last time we,” she air quoted the we, “I cleaned up while you acted all Betty Crocker. No thanks.”
Like all things having nothing to doing with drawing, Helen thought little about what went on in the kitchen. That fact didn’t keep her from interjecting her two cents into this conversation. “Yeah, and they tasted terrible.”
Gordy shot his younger sister a quick glare before launching into his rebuttal to Sallee’s remarks. “Chocolate chip,” he wheedled, “not even for chocolate chip cookies? All warm and gooey fresh from the stove, you don’t want to? You could lick the bowl.” He thought about the ramifications of the sacrifice he contemplated for a good while then shrugged before he said, “You can make ’em this time.”
“Nope, not interested. I licked the bowl last time and then had to clean it. Ethel grumbled for three days about her kitchen. I don’t know how I could clean it more unless I went all Cinderella.” She resumed watching Maxwell Smart bumble his way through another case.
“Well, if I make them you can’t have any, then,” Gordy announced to his disinterested siblings. “You can go all starving children in China for all I care.” Sallee and Helen exchanged bored looks as he marched out of the room.
In the kitchen, the boy found to his immense disappointment no brown sugar. Had he made less of a fuss over not sharing the cookies, he would have given up on the project. As it stood, he needed something to withhold from his two miserable sisters to make his point. If the something tasted good, all the better. He remembered the last time he made the Toll House recipe he used all white sugar. The results left him disappointed. Making a point was one thing eating bad cookies to make the point was stupid.
He perused the contents of the cabinet, trying to remember what had Ethel used as a substitute for brown sugar. If I put some molasses in the sugar, it will make it brown that ought to work he thought. Armed with a plan Gordy set to work. For a change, he followed the directions exactly except adding enough molasses (about three tablespoons) to make the white sugar look brown.
His experiment was a tremendous success. Despite the difference in texture the cookies were delicious. Besides, the praline crispiness the chocolate chips became the real star in this new cookie he created all by his self. He liked that they spread out when cooked rather than staying in hard knots, the whole reason Ethel didn’t like baking cookies. As he well knew, she said it enough times.
With a recipe bordering on perfection, he felt under an immense obligating to share. His former behavior seemed peevish in light of his culinary triumph. We strutted into the den with a plate filled cookies intending to share them and bask in the hurrahs that would surely follow to find the room empty.