When I was a kid, I was sent to school every day with homemade cookies — chewy, chocolate-morsel-laden cookies, or crisp sugar cookies glazed with lemon. They were delicious, but like most kids, I wanted to be just like everyone else, and all the other kids had Chips Ahoy. I would have killed for one of those store-bought cookies, hard and dried out though they were. But my mom was a professional chef, so everything I ate was made from scratch. Most times, it drove me crazy.
Photo by Jim Franco; Food Stylist: Stephana Bottom
There's some truth to the saying that you don't appreciate what you have until you're older. For me, it was the Mother's Day my mom and I decided to surprise my grandmother with homemade whoopie pies. My mother made the chocolate cakes while I made the cream, and we assembled them together.
I still remember the smile on my grandmother's face when she saw us coming with those pies. She made a pot of tea, and we sat down for an afternoon of "girl talk." Sometime during those hours, I realized that to my mom, cooking was so much more than whipping egg whites. To her, cooking was love — love for me, her mother, and all those who touched her heart.