Chocolate chip cookies will forever remind me of the little finger on my left hand and vice versa. I was a rather rambunctious child and was pretty good at working in stealth mode when my mom was otherwise engaged (aka pretty much when her back was turned). Thank heavens I outgrew that stealth mode thing. However, I had some “life lessons” which helped me to learn that stealth isn’t always a healthy skill.
One day when I was 2 or 3 years old my mother was baking chocolate chip cookies. She would always save a little bit of the cookie dough for me to eat and I loved it. It was not uncommon for me to try to sneak a little more dough when mom wasn’t looking, but one day I out-smarted myself. I was standing on my tip toes on a little stool trying to reach into the olive green bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough. The stool slipped and I lost my balance. As I was falling I somehow managed to drag the ceramic bowl of dough off of the counter with me. The bowl hit the floor first and I fell on top of it. Of course the bowl had broken and of course I got injured on the ceramic shards. My left little finger was severely lacerated in several places.
Mom rushed me to the hospital and the doctors started working to save the finger. They were able to piece the parts back together, but told mom that I could still lose part of my finger. All turned out well, but I was left with a funky looking little finger, which somehow always got noticed by other kids when I was growing up. I got ooo’s and ahhh’s over the scars and the story that went with them.
Fast forward many years later when, as a health care professional, I needed to register my finger prints. My prints were initially rejected because my little finger print turned out ‘blurry’. So, I had to go back down to the police station to get re-fingerprinted. I’m just not sure what to say about the man who kept taking the print of that little finger over and over, trying to get a different outcome. “A normal fingerprint for that finger doesn’t exist anymore,” I kept telling him. “The finger has a lot of scars from being cut when I was little. My finger has looked this way since I was 3.” The man just kept staring at me as if I was a sneaky little criminal who had deliberately altered a fingerprint. He kept inking, pressing, and rolling that little finger as if he could force a normal print out of it. “Well,” he finally said, “I just can’t get a decent print. I’ll mark it on the fingerprint card and say that this is the way your finger looks.”
Okay. Glad we got that all straightened out. I now have government acceptance of having a deformed fingerprint on the fifth finger of my left hand. I’m so relieved.
All of that because of chocolate chip cookies. Top my story, I dare you. Wanna know the recipe my mom was using for those now infamous chocolate chips cookies? Why, the original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, of course. She was a woman of her time. Since the Toll House recipe first appeared, it has been the recipe to beat. Everyone thinks they have the answer. I’ve tried a fair number of recipes myself in my lifetime.
In the above paragraph I made the statement “top my story, I dare you”. Well, in an eery, twilight zone-ish twist of events, as I was preparing to publish this post, I got a call at midnight from my son in-law. He was calling to ask for assistance and moral support because my daughter (his wife) had just called from work to tell him that she had severed her little finger…on her left hand. Tricia is a chef and is working on the Mist Project. She was passing through a set of heavy metal doors and the doors closed on her little finger, severing it just above the first joint. She had surgery on the finger this afternoon, 1/24/2012. The severed portion was not salvageable, but through some miracle the doctor has managed to perform surgery in such a way that Tricia’s finger may only end up being about 1/4-inch shorter than it was prior to the accident. Last night the ER doctor had harvested the fingernail bed and sent it home with Tricia so that the surgeon today could perhaps reattach it.
Sorry if all of this makes some of you ill. I needed to write this because it is important to my family–it is a part of the happenings in our lives. I had written most of this post last week, reflecting on an event in my own life–my own finger injury. I had tried to get this post published last Friday, but there were some glitches in making the cookies and I couldn’t get things posted. Maybe God had planted the idea in my mind to do a post about my little finger and needed for me to wait until now, until a time when my daughter needed me to write about her, too. Today when I was at Tricia’s house trying to help her a little bit, we talked about her finger and we talked about chocolate chip cookies and some interesting things that I had learned about the original Toll House cookie dough. It was a mother/daughter time, a nurse/wounded person time, a food blogger/chef time, a much needed time.
I love you, Trishy. Everything is going to be okay…
For your chocolate chip cookie education, I’d like to refer you to this very interesting article from the New York Times, published on July 9, 2008. You might also enjoy reading this blog post from Rachel of Fuji Mama regarding the original Toll House recipe, but using half the butter of the original recipe.
For an excellent tutorial on making cookies including ‘what’s wrong with my cookies’, see this post at The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie.
The recipe that I am giving you is based on the Toll House recipe, with a few changes. Back in the early 90’s a popular rumor was that Debbie Field of “Mrs. Field’s Cookies” used pudding as the secret ingredient in her cookies. All of us moms used the Toll House recipe and started throwing in a box of instant pudding into our cookies. We also learned that a mixture of 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup shortening gave us great cookie results. I’m pretty sure that Mrs. Fields still had us beat, hands down, but the humble chocolate chip cookie baked right in our own homes was elevated to gourmet status, as far as our families were concerned.
This recipe has been linked to: