Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Ingredients: butter, white sugar, brown sugar, eggs, flaxseed meal, water, vanilla, flour, salt, baking soda, brewer's yeast, oats, chocolate chips

She thought she had everything she needed at home, but realized that they were out of most of the baking supplies normally kept around. A trip to the store was necessary anyhow, but she ended up going to both of the neighborhood stores (one that catered to a wealthy, healthy crowd and the other just a normal store). She forgot the oats on the first stop into the hippie store so had to go back a second time.

I wonder, she mused, as she walked around the neighborhood in the breezy spring afternoon. The yards were full of flowers and new plants and piles of mulch everywhere, signs that people would be spending the long weekend sprucing up their residences after a long, hard, cold winter. I wonder if anyone will ever do this for me.

Dissolve flaxseed meal in water for five minutes. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, vanilla, and flaxseed meal, combine well.

The backpack was heavy, at least fifteen pounds worth of baking supplies weighing her down as she forced her way home through the cold gusty winds. I should have worn something other than a tank top and shorts, she thought. At least the pack helps keep me from blowing away. People were out on the sidewalks with their dogs, evening constitutionals resulting in perfectly preserved poop, something future generations of archaeologists would be scratching their heads to explain. Why did 21st century Americans worship the feces of companion animals and babies? The thought made her giggle a little, and then the reminder of babies sobered her again. Her project would be in support of a brand new little one, who needed as much help as he could get.

Sift flour, brewer's yeast, baking soda, and salt. Add wet ingredients and mix until well-combined.

She passed the house where the first summer they'd lived in their new place, they'd noticed the young family out playing in the yard. A blond father, a red-haired mother, and two babies, one Asian and one resembling Winston Churchill, both around the same age. She remembered the comment she'd made to him, four years earlier, about how maybe that family had had a hard time concieving, and so they adopted a little boy from another country only to find themselves pregnant halfway through the process. I bet those boys are in kindergarten now, she thought. Wonder if any more siblings ever arrived.

Stir in oats and chocolate chips.

Nearly home, she welcomed the sight of one of the neighborhood roamers, a buff-colored orange tabby who came when she called him. She hadn't seen him in a while; he liked to come around in the yard and tease their male cat, who was indoor only, but he must have spent the winter inside. Orange Kitty, as they nicknamed him, was very friendly. She was sure he had at least a couple of places on the block who would put out food for him. It's hard not to care for a cute, friendly animal, she thought, much like how we're programmed to take care of screaming babies who don't let us sleep.

Drop by teaspoonfuls on parchment-lined baking sheets.

She thought back to all of the blankets and hats and booties she'd made over the years. So many of those babies were children now, and it would be years before they could ask questions about where the blankets had come from. Maybe it's because I had one on my bed when I was little, she thought, made by someone I never met, but it was green and pink and purple and it kept me warm. Maybe that's why I do it. You knit things out of love, hoping that the person for whom you made the thing finds it useful, even if they don't know who you are and maybe never will. And sometimes the families of those babies need extra help.

Bake at 375F for 8-12 minutes.

This baby, for example, this baby who was only 10 days old and back in the hospital with serious pneumonia. As an outsider, there is only so much you can do to help the people who are hurting. The baby had a charmed existence from the beginning, conceived in love after a beautiful lavish wedding and an adventurous honeymoon to relatively wealthy parents, causing no morning sickness, coming out only 6 days later than scheduled, of average size. He wasn't named something-that-rhymes-with-Aiden or after a medieval profession. But even the best foundations don't necessarily translate to an easy time of it later. The baby's mama wants to breastfeed him after he comes home, and could use some help. So she volunteered.

Makes several dozen cookies. Nursing mothers should eat at least four cookies per day to assist with milk supply.

You feel helpless, sometimes, when a friend is in trouble. Sometimes you just wish there was something, anything, you could do to help. And sometimes there is. Maybe someday, she thought, someone will help me. It will be my turn, and someone will make a blanket. Someone will layer a lasagna. Someone will bake cookies to help me make food for my baby. But today, I'm the one with free hands, and I can bake, and pay it forward, so that if it's ever my turn to need help, someone might be willing to do it for me.


Cate said...

My favorite sentence: "He wasn't named something-that-rhymes-with-Aiden or after a medieval profession."

Also, I was unaware of this lactation cookie phenomenon! I wish it was medically necessary for me to eat 4 cookies a day...

agirlandaboy said...

The good karma you have created will be returned to you big-time, just you wait.