Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sundays with Sparky - The Friday Cookie Gazette

3088658522_e6c3ef3ebd.jpgSometimes, food can offer us more than just nutrition.  For instance, a couple years ago, as I prepared to pile my son out of the car and into school, he turned to me, said simply "I hate Fridays."

"Fridays?" I replied in surprise, "Really?  It's the last day of the week - don't tell me you're afraid you'll miss school on the weekend?"  "Mom, Fridays stink."  A little probing revealed that Fridays do, indeed, stink (I have been forbidden to say "suck," though apparently it's perfectly OK for my eight-year-old to say "pottymouth.")  The poor child not only had a spelling test (which is in Spanish two out of three weeks) but also a math quiz, and to top it off, the "specials," the classes he most enjoys: library, music and art, are replaced on Fridays with an entire extra period of math.

 "Wow." I said "Fridays really do suck..I mean stink.  What about if we went out for ice cream after school on Fridays, would that make it better?"  Sparky shook his head.  "Too cold," he said morosely.  Suddenly, my eyes fell on the unused free cookie coupon he'd won at the library this summer.  Inspired, I said "What about we go out for a cookie?"

His face brightened considerably.  "Could we make it a food adventure, Mom?  Maybe we could go a different place every time, and get a different cookie.  Maybe I could talk about it on  Then it would be a food adventure!  I could call it the Cookie Gazette!"  So, true to my word, after school on Friday, we took Sparky and his buddy cookie-shopping, our stop driven mostly by proximity: Bennison's Bakery.  Following is a transcription of his cookie review of a sandy Christmas sugar cookie:

These cookies are really, really interesting, 'cause it's got a lot of sugar...I especially love the sprinkles and everything: it just represents Christmas and stuff.  I don't get it, but I just completely like this.  It tastes good, just like a cookie should taste like.  It's sort of chewy and crunchy at the same time, and I really like it.  Oh, and I just noticed it has sugar on here.  Neat!
Realizing suddenly that descriptive language might be easier to develop if cookies are involved, we made our little Friday adventures a tradition that year.  It was interesting to watch Sparky grow through this exercise: at first, he assumed that everyone could see what he saw and taste what he tasted: he didn't understand the purpose of description.  The next week, with a little prompting, we got:

OK, well it looks like a mini pie and it's got nuts all over it and a little red speck that I don't know what it is, and I think they must have been almonds and I really like it, it's chocolaty on one side and nutty on the other side, and it tastes buttery and I just like it.
Later that year, we were able to convince one of Sparky's buddies to come along and make the review something more of a debate.  I had explained that you need to describe cookies as though you were talking to a blind person, as though they'd never seen a cookie before - I was pleased with the response:

This is a peanut butter cookie, of course, you can tell by the peanuts - I mean 'cmon, look - peanuts!  It's really good, it's basically crummy (crumbly) it basically was like all made out of crumbs, check out the interior there's basically like a thousand crumbs in this thing {and you like that, that's a good texture} Yes, and it tastes like - well the peanuts taste like peanuts, and this {the cookie} tastes like...I have no idea what this tastes basically tastes like vanilla, all I taste of the peanuts is the actual peanuts.  The first flavor is vanilla and then it tastes like peanut butter.  It's sorta sweet, it's basically not candy-sweet, it's sweet.

Here is our normal potato-chip cookie and here is how I think it got it's name.  In reality, when it wasn't all eaten up by me, it was in the shape of a potato.
Master X (Sparky's friend):
Half of a potato!
And, well, I like it because it tastes like walnuts.  It's hard, it's really soft, though -in originality, it's supposed to be pretty soft, but now since we've been in the car and are at my house and are not at the bakery 'cause my mom forgot the camera, well, it was softer at the bakery but now it's pretty hard.  It's good hard - crunchy, sweet, not candy sweet.
Master X:
The flavor {of the potato chip cookie,} well, I don't know what it reminded me of but the flavor just wasn't good and I think it was a little too soft in the middle on the inside, but the chocolate chip was good, but only the outside was hard then you got to a reasonably soft in the middle.  I would say it was medium {sweet.} And it also tasted like oatmeal raisin, maybe some raisin hid, 'cause it kinda tasted like an oatmeal raisin cookie.
Later that year, at still another bakery, we tried a Whoopie Pie; the resultant commentary was like a couple of little newscasters.

Sparky and Master X:
Hi, Sparky and Master X again.  So, now, we have Whoopie Pies from Kim's Kitchen and they are just like the last cookies so far, except there's WAY more chocolate cookie, and it's like and ice cream sandwich, so the filling is white, and obviously the sandwich part is dark brown..very dark brown
Almost..almost about black

And almost about red when you bite into them, they have a red tinge, and they're really good - texture is smooth and the cookie (I wasn't talking about the filling, I was talking about the actual cookie) it's smooth on the inside, but rough on the inside.
It's rough
Thanks, Master X
It's more like cake, 'cause...
This took us what, 15, 16 minutes, Master X?
Yea, and I only ate about
And I ate a half-moon of it
Yea, a half-moon is like this
...well, almost a half-moon
You ate about...two-thirds.
Two thirds!  OK!

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