Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 24, 2018

Empty Nest: Cookies

By Curt Swarm

I’m a cookie lover, and fortunate enough to have other people make me cookies.  However, I found myself running out of cookies in the middle of the week.  Not wanting to resort to “store boughts”, I decided to see what I could do about the situation.  
Snooping around in the cupboard for chocolate chips (I was going to shovel a handful into my mouth), I found the recipe for chocolate chip cookies on the back of a package of chocolate morsels.  
“How hard can this be?”
An hour later, and after dirtying most every dish and bowl in the house, there appeared,  cooling on the counter, the resemblance of homemade cookies.  They were about double (or  triple) the size of most cookies, more like the size of a hamburger bun, and they were burnt on the bottom and mushy in the middle.  But hey, when you’re a chocoholic like I am, any port in the storm.
The backyard birds got the biggest share of that batch.  But I learned.
The second batch was more promising.  My chocolate chip cookies were still enormous, but I’ve always said, “A cookie should be a meal in itself, by golly!”  Plus, I had added walnuts to the concoction.  Outstanding!  But very rich.  It might have something to do with the two sticks of butter.
I love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter.  You know those peanut butter cookies that appear at Christmas time, the ones with a chocolate kiss or star in the middle? Well, how about peanut butter/chocolate chip cookies, with maybe walnuts thrown in for good measure?  What I needed was a recipe.  (Men can follow directions when cookies are at stake.)  Of course, I didn’t have a cookbook, but who needs a cookbook when we have the  internet?  I Googled “Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.”  Voila!  The recipes rained forth like manna from heaven.  The one I printed said, “Very addictive.”   
Yep, they were.  Talk about Lethal Weapon Part III!  And guaranteed heartburn right before bed.
I’d heard of oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, but had never eaten one.  On the inside of the lid to the oatmeal box was a recipe for oatmeal/raisin cookies.  I’ve never been a big raisin fan, so I substituted chocolate chips, and added a cup of walnuts.  
Now there’s a cookie!  In fact, of the three cookies I made, oatmeal-chocolate chip is my favorite.  I’ve made several batches now, and can’t imagine life without them.  
No, I’m not going to give you the recipe.  Just go to the store, buy the name brand oatmeal, and the recipe’s on the inside of the lid.
But I wasn’t done with oatmeal.  I remember my mother making oatmeal meatloaf.    Once again, to the internet I charged.  Boom, there the recipe was.  And I was learning that one can ad lib.  Instead of tomato juice, I used picante (can anyone tell me the difference between picante and salsa?). Plus, I smothered the top of the meatloaf with bacon.
The meatloaf fell apart in the oven.  Dang!  But I scooped it out, and it sure was good.  I had added eggs, so I don’t know what the problem was.  Maybe too much picante and not enough oatmeal.  Hmmm.  The meatloaf sandwiches the next day were to die for.
Now, instead of the neighbors bringing me plates of cookies, I’ve been taking cookies to them.  They give me that look of, “Do we dare try these?  We’d better.  Don’t want to hurt his feelings.”  Then, I see their face light up when the first taste hits their taste buds.
That look can’t be faked.     

Have a good story?  Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com, or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com