For the first time in days or maybe even weeks, my kids went to sleep at a decent time! They were both asleep before 9pm and I had the place to myself. I can't tell you how much I love moments like those. I could go on for days and days. But I won't. But what I will tell you is that since they were both asleep and I still had some energy, I baked. Nothing fancy. Nothing new. Just simple and delicious chocolate chip cookies. My go to recipe for chocolate chip cookies is always from Vive Le Vegan by Dreena Burton. Before I found this recipe, I just used the Tollhouse recipe that my grandmother used. You know the one, on the back of the bag of chocolate chips. Yes, that one. But Dreena Burton's recipe is more simple. No egg replacer and she uses maple syrup which adds a great flavor to the cookie.
Chocolate chip cookies always make me think of my grandma. The one who cooked from scratch. When you would visit her house, she'd have a tin of chocolate chip cookies waiting for us. The tin was always on top of her bread box. After giving her a hug, I'd wait for the adults to start talking, and then I would sneak off to the kitchen to find the cookies. My brothers didn't have the same need for sweets as I did, they still don't. My dad and I are the sugar junkies. So I didn't have to fight way to the cookie tin. It was a peaceful, quiet moment. Then pour a glass of milk, now I always drink plain rice milk, and sit at the counter that separated the kitchen from the dining room, in a spinning bar stool. Soon my dad would come in and join me. He would stand across from me and we'd chit chat about nothing while we dunked our cookies.
As my grandmother aged, her cookies did too. They didn't taste as wonderful. But no matter how tired she was, she always made them when we came to visit her. So my dad and I always ate them. And took the leftovers home to show her how much we appreciated the treats. Sometimes I would ask to make them with her, but she didn't like people in her kitchen. She liked cooking alone. It was her domain. It took quite awhile for her to accept me cooking my vegan food in her kitchen. She wanted to kick me out but I kept explaining that I needed to cook my food separately from hers and I wasn't trying to disrespect her. The meals I made there were always simple, so that I didn't hang out on her turf for too long. After my grandfather died, my grandma moved in with one of my cousins. That way she wasn't alone. I never saw her cook again and she never had cookies waiting for us when we would visit. She didn't care what I did in the kitchen, she would grumble that it wasn't hers anyways, it belonged to my cousin, so do as I please. Funny, but I missed the struggle. I wanted her to get up and push me out of the kitchen. To try and take over. But it wasn't going to happen. The desire to cook was gone for her. Before she passed away in 2004, she asked if there was anything I wanted of hers. I went straight to the kitchen and requested her mixing bowl ( a beat up yellow pyrex bowl) and the cookie tin. She thought it was funny that I wasn't asking for pictures or jewelry. But I had the photos I needed to remember her by, for when that time came. And I don't like jewelry. I just needed to have her cookie making supplies so that when I made cookies for my family, she would be there with me.