My mom did a ton of baking when I was a kid, but the recipe that sticks out is chocolate chip cookies. It was a recipe out of a dilapidated Betty Crocker cookbook that had once been white, but was more of a beige-grey, with pages falling out. That is the recipe I remember best, standing on a chair, dumping things in the bowl, sneaking tastes of the dough (A tradition so sacred to me, that when my second grade class compiled a cookbook for our parents my submission was “Ornery Chocolate Chip Cookies” that included eating some of the cookie dough as part of the instructions, other than that it was the same recipe).
To me no other chocolate chip cookie recipe existed, so secure were my recipe blinders that I didn’t even acknowledge the existence of the recipe on the back of the package of chocolate chips. Even though the recipe is less than my ideal for chocolate chip cookies, I like softer cookies, and they’re very crunchy, never did I think to go find another recipe.
One day, a few years after I got married, I came across an online discussion about chocolate chip cookie recipes, and there were recipes that weren’t my mom’s recipe. I was shocked, confused, and a little angry. Every other recipe had variations and other versions in my head, I had a couple of sugar cookie recipes, I’d already spent years trying to find a good yellow cake recipe, but I literally could not understand how there were other chocolate chip cookie recipes. Sure, it’s ridiculous, I acknowledge that, but it actually turned my world sideways for a few days while I came to terms with the whole idea of other chocolate chip cookie recipes.
It’s been years since that day, and I have never used another chocolate chip cookie recipe. Despite it’s flaws, I cannot bring myself to do it. I made that very recipe just last night. This is how I remind myself that shedding ideas that you grew up with is extraordinarily hard, that it’s more than just reading about something, or doing some research. Ingrained ideas from your childhood stick harder than most people like to admit. Be it a cookie recipe, or a religion, or fucked up internalized messages from friends, family, or society, it’s extraordinarily hard to change those ideas.
I’ve changed religions (twice) since I was a kid, I’ve changed my mind of a lot of really toxic things I learned, and those things were hard to change, but the thing that reminds me how hard it is, are some very crunchy chocolate chip cookies. They’re the reminder because they’re the thing I’m unwilling to change, and if you’re not ready to change your ideas, nothing can force you too.