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Carpet of Disappointment

Everyone was crazy about the chocolate chip cookies my middle school served for snack hour. I ate everything they served anyway; any type of pastry — they were usually some type of pastry — I gobbled down thanks to my giant appetite, but my classmates started getting picky as we got older. The chocolate chip cookies, however, would entice almost all in the class. How could they not? We were children, and they were chocolate chip cookies! I had never encountered a phenomenon quite like a chocolate chip cookie at that point, frankly, and none of the adults in my family knew how to make something similar. They also probably were interested in doing absolutely zero research on this topic as they didn’t want to encourage my eating more carbs. Pastry shops started selling similar things, but they were smaller, different in texture, and had nuts. Not wrong but not the same thing!

In my last year of middle school, a very close friend’s mother asked the school cafeteria for the recipe. It didn’t even occur to me that you could do that! I didn’t question the miracle that had just taken place. I was only glad that I was bestowed the recipe before I graduated and went to another school, forever parting ways with those beloved marvels.

What I had in mind when I set out on this journey...

I don’t remember baking on my own that much before. My mother would sometimes make cakes, mostly if we were having company over, and at that point my culinary experience consisted of licking the bowl clean after she was done, like all good children are supposed to do. 

I was unbelievably excited and a little scared of disappointment when I mixed my first batch of cookie dough. I didn’t know what to expect, whether or not to be surprised when it turned out looser than the types we were used to making. The recipe said to scoop out and shape with two spoons. I was confused since we had always made dough balls in our hands when shaping cookies, but this dough was and felt different. I required adult supervision as I shaped them and put them on the parchment paper-lined tray. My mother and I made small balls with the help of spoons as the recipe suggested. I protested when I noticed her placing the balls a little too close to each other, like how she had always made shortbread-like butter and flour cookies. The cookies I had seen were quite large; surely we were making a mistake. My mother insisted we were obviously making smaller cookies, and as she was the adult, we went with her expertise.

I was about to burst from excitement as the cookies baked. After they spent a few minutes in the oven, however, it became apparent that we indeed had crowded them. This was my mother’s first experience with such loose dough, and she hadn’t imagined they would expand so much. I was rightfully infuriated by the sight of this speckled dessert carpet that I had been dying to make. I was betrayed by my mother and adult insight. I was told it would taste the same, but that was adult nonsense, typical adult mistake downplaying.

The chocolate chip sheet cake came out of the oven, still a whole. I was not able to will them into separating into individual cookies before their time in the oven was over. We cut them into squares. All indignant, I put all my chocolate chip squares into a bowl and marched them with me to my bedroom. Clearly, I couldn’t eat them all in one go, but the gravity of the situation demanded that I take a stand. My bowl of chocolate chip squares were delicious, not exactly like the ones I had in school but still delicious.

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