cafe mama

entering the mind of the married mom

Cookies for a platoon - November 10, 2004

Today I stood in my kitchen, with my "baby" monitor nearby, baking chocolate chip cookies for a platoon and wrapping them individually in plastic wrap.

I felt as if I'd entered a different dimension. For those of you who don't read my other blogs, you won't know that my husband recently decided to join the Army Reserves. He's in basic training (you can read all about his experiences at the aforementioned link). He asked me to bake cookies for his platoon. In order for my sweet dear husband to be able to eat one cookie - just one - I have to bake one for every member of his platoon, plus an extra few for the drill sergeant.

As you can imagine, the Martha Stewart in me reared her head and soon I was whipping a full pound of butter by hand and sprinkling in an assortment of chocolate chips. I turned each cookie sheet two or three times during baking to ensure they would be evenly cooked. As I counted my cookies and realized that, due to my early generosity to myself, Everett, and others, and a slight oversight with one of the batches (there were a few over-browned ones), every cookie wouldn't be equally good.

As I carefully wrapped each one, I wondered which would be his. Would they let him pick one first, then distribute the rest to his platoon mates? Would the drill sergeant open the box and let everyone have at it? Would he get the last choice of the box?

Such a small thing - one cookie - and it disturbed me endlessly. I wanted each one to be wonderful, and I'm sure to a sweet man who hasn't had homecooked anything in weeks, any one of them would be fine. But my jealousy of my baked goods - my hours of work, butter and love - was incessant.

What I'm really sending him is a platoon full of goodwill, I'm sure. These cookies could possibly be the source of a little bit of a generous spirit on the part of the drill sergeant and the resident platoon "thugs" alike. Mostly I'm hoping Jonathan and his friends really enjoy their cookies.

If it works, I'll do it again, often. It gives me a simultaneous feeling of power (my ability to create over three dozen fantastic cookies, spreading a tiny bit of joy throughout 36+1 men) and complete lack of control (how do I know he'll even get a good one, and not the one that was crushed and close to burnt?). It's domestic as hell but it says, hey, I'm willing to go through all this work and considerable lack of feminine power to make your week just a few hundred calories brighter. I suppose, in the end, it's worth it.

But don't think for a minute I'm joining one of those groups who knit socks for soldiers. I love to knit, and all, but that's just a bit further than I'm willing to go.