I remember, and I have always loved, like so many people, the smell of cookies baking in the oven.
Now, let me admit that it never gets particularly cold in southern California, but we do get a chill, often, in late fall and winter, especially at night, and yes, even on the sunny days, so the kitchen – especially when cookies or cakes or bread is baking – can become especially inviting, both for its delicious fragrance of something loving in the oven, as well as being a source of warmth at the center of the house.
But what I remember today, so many years later, is the time I was a wicked little boy, and ate almost all the cookies my mother had baked for the meeting of her bridge-playing group of friends who got together once a week to play cards all afternoon. She had baked a batch of cookie cut-outs in the shapes of stars and trees and probably angels and santas too, and I had asked if I could have one and she said yes, but only one.
Then I think she went off to take a bath and get dressed and put on makeup and I just could not eat one. Then I could not eat just one more. Then one more no. Then no. What I remember most clearly is how wonderful the warm sugar cookie tasted going into my mouth and chewing it up and swallowing and oh I just had to have another and another and then I was rearranging the cookies on the plate, trying to make it look like I had not eaten another one, and then if I just moved this one over there, and no, it would be better if I just eat this one and then….
The ladies had a wonderful time laughing at me, much later.
How young and beautiful they all were, in their flowing dresses and fuzzy sweaters.
My stomach ached.