We all know, on one level or other, that sometimes we buy really, really disgusting things at the grocery store. We like to pretend like it's not so bad, though, since it tastes marginally okay, and sometimes that beats taking the time to make things ourselves. I'm the first to admit this; given my typical hectic schedule due to my status as a full-time graduate student and part-time employee, it's not always possible to make everything I eat. And, let's face it, the stress and pressure of life leads to the consumption of things that help deal with such things: I'm speaking mostly of cookies here. They're glorious, and I am hereby making a declaration: I never again want to eat a store-bought cookie. Not even the ones from the grocery's so-called bakery.
It occurred to me today that if I don't have the time to make something, there's a good chance I shouldn't then bother eating it at all. What helped me come to this conclusion? Why, the listed ingredients of some soft (and suspiciously chewy) chocolate chip cookies from a local Vons grocery store:
Bleached enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin and folic acid), sugar, semisweet chocolate (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, dextrose, soy lecithin, vanilla, milk), margarine (palm oil, water, salt, vegetable monoglycerides, natural butter flavor, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate and beta carob (color), milk), vegetable oil (palm), eggs, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, water, baking soda, salt, natural and artificial flavor, sodium acid pyrophosphate. **Contains: wheat, eggs, soy, and milk.**
One interpretation of that list of ingredients is that to eat something composed of all such items would not be unlike ingesting one of those free plastic frisbees real estate companies used to offer ironically1 to potential home-buyers.
What I'm getting at here is that for Labor Day, I was invited to spend the day with a good friend of mine in Long Beach. He'd just move there, so I tried to think up a good gift to bring as a house-warming gift. I had gone to IKEA on Saturday, but of course every such shopping excursion to that store ends up involving me walking out with some piece of furniture clutched in my arms; in this case I exited the premises with some organizational cabinet shelves that I simply could not live without. I shop for myself there, bitches, and even if you only want a gift card there, I'll probably use said gift card for myself and get you a gift card to someplace that doesn't make me drool quite so much.
I decided that, since it was Labor Day, some food would be in order, and hey, chocolate chip cookies are always a good addition to a barbecue. So I dragged myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 8:45-10:002 and, once I was done with all that grooming nonsense, I started baking. (In case you're wondering about my timeliness here, I started baking around 10:45.)
The night before, I'd gone to the grocery to get some last-minute supplies. While there, I picked up the aforementioned store-bought cookies; I figured I would do a taste-test sort of experiment, a Cookie Championship to determine whose cookies were more savory.
My cookies contained the following:
Organic flour, organic brown sugar, organic granulated sugar, butter (from cows that do not ingest growth hormones), vanilla extract, salt, baking soda, eggs, and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
And here's what they looked like:
Verdict: my nine-ingredient cookies beat the pants off of Vons's nearly thirty-ingredient cookies. They looked more delicious, tasted more delicious, and best of all, they didn't bounce off the floor when I dropped them.
Were they a hit? Well, I made nearly four dozen cookies and walked away with a couple of plates that didn't even have any crumbs left to show what once had graced them. I'd say that's a mission accomplished.
1There's nothing really ironic about that. Which, I suppose, is kind of the point. 2I require at minimum one hour to actually go from being 'asleep' to 'awake.' In that time, I pound the snooze on my alarm repeatedly, then proceed to brush my teeth with my eyes closed. If I'm particularly energetic, I may even squeeze a shower in during that time-frame, but it's just as likely that that will happen during the next hour block.