Two weeks ago, I baked two dozen bialys. I baked one dozen toward the end of the week, and then two days later I baked another dozen. The first batch was mostly a failure. Well: the first half dozen were a failure; the second half dozen were a little better. By the second go-round, I was starting to get the hang of shaping the bialys correctly, and by the end of it all I thought, “When I do this again, I’m gonna be on top of it.”
I haven’t made bialys since. The last two bialys went moldy before we had a chance to eat them, which is my own fault, because obviously I should have just put them in the freezer. But for a few days, there, everyone here was gleefully eating bialy after bialy. We had bialys with butter and bialys with pimiento cheese and bialys with cream cheese and red onion. It was a good time, and well worth the work and angst involved in making the bialys. No one here said, “Uck, Mama, no more.”
Since making all those bialys, I have made chocolate chip-butterscotch chip oatmeal cookies, and I’ve made a lot of evening meals, more than a handful of lunches and snacks, and I’ve baked some white sandwich bread and one really good Aunt Velma chocolate cake with coconut frosting. In a couple of days I have to get ready to bake a birthday cake for my father, to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. All of this is to say, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and a lot of baking and it’s all fine. No one’s complained.
But yesterday, as my daughter and I were unpacking a grocery delivery, she asked me, “Mama, have you ever eaten an Oreo?”
I was taken aback. Oreos are one of the essential cookies of my childhood. I’ve eaten more Oreos than my daughter has had hot meals. “Sure,” I told her.
“Can you buy some Oreos sometime?” she asked.
This, on a day when we had a remarkable homemade chocolate cake with coconut buttercream frosting just sitting on the counter. Right there. Cold milk in the fridge waiting to be served alongside the cake. Right at that moment, my daughter wanted to know if I could buy her Oreos.
And I thought, “Why am I doing this?”
So I’m going go stop baking nice things for a while. We will eat up the cake we have, and the leftover Hallowe’en candy, and I will buy a box of Oreos one of these days, and my daughter will love them. (In fact, she HAS eaten Oreos; she has not reached the age of 8 1/2 without experiencing Oreos. That would be disgusting. It is true, I think, that she’s never had to suffer through eating Chips Ahoy. But we’ve made sure that she knows about Nutter Butters and Oreos and Fig Newtons and other American cooky classics.) (I can’t recall if she’s ever had Entenmann’s chocolate chip cookies; we should get a box, just to be sure she’s well-rounded.)
I can’t decide if she will care that I’ve stopped baking for the household. It may be that she won’t care at all, and that she’ll be more than happy to just have Oreos or maybe some Keebler chocolate covered graham crackers, when she wants something sweet. But I bet one day she will sidle up to me and ask, “How come you never make those brown sugar coconut cookies anymore? Or those chocolate sandwich cookies? Those were really good.”
And I’ll say, “Chocolate sandwich cookies? You mean, the ones that are just like Oreos, except like even better?”