the chain, monster cookies, and cookbooks

As much as I’d like to think I’m not a food snob (I like Peeps–food snobs don’t like Peeps), I do tend to turn my nose up at chain restaurants. I prefer to visit one-of-a-kind spots. The food is often (though admittedly not always) better than what’s offered at chains and–just as important–my money goes to entrepreneurial folk, not Corporate America. I also appreciate the unique look and feel of independent spots. One of my first positions out of college was as manager of a well-known coffee chain. I will never forget the thick manual instructing exact placement of everything in the store. It included a diagram for the spacing and position of everything on the condiment bar; precise measurements dictated distances from the cream pitcher to the sugar packets to the nutmeg shaker, etc. Holy cow.

So, my family knows: Whenever possible I prefer eating at independently owned food venues. Today we road-tripped north to my in-laws and time constraints meant that fast-food was on the menu. Supper at Subway. Instead of complaining (which I often do), I gamely ordered a spinach, turkey, and avocado six-incher on whole wheat. It was tasty enough and I could have done much worse than a healthy turkey sandwich.

Sitting around a table at Subway–a table that looks like every other table at any other Subway in any other city in America–I looked over at my oldest who was laughing. My husband laughed at whatever she had said, then my youngest started in. As I joined in, it occurred to me that I was enjoying my family and I was enjoying my meal in a–gasp!–chain restaurant. I admitted to myself in that moment that even though food is paramount in my life, it’s still always going to be secondary to relationships. This isn’t to say I’ve changed my mind about chain vs. independent. One-of-a-kind will always win in my book. But the experience took a small notch out of my (still not admitted to) Food Snob status.

My postscript (the first of two, so keep reading) is yet another of my mother-in-law’s amazing baked goods. At the end of our road trip, we found a platter piled high with Monster Cookies that she had baked for our arrival. They were amazing and yummy. No chain will ever be able to match the taste and texture of a fresh-baked homemade cookie.

monster cookies à la amazing mother-in-law

monster cookie minus a bite

Monster Cookies

parenthetical comments are mine

  • 1 1/2 pounds peanut butter (preferably super-chunk)
  • 1/2 pound butter or margarine (pick butter), softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 9 cups quick-cooking oats (use old-fashioned for more texture)
  • 1/2 pound chocolate chips
  • 1/2 pound candy-coated chocolate candies (m&ms of course:-))

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease baking sheets.

In bowl, beat together peanut butter, butter, sugar, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla until mixed well. By hand, stir in oats, chocolate chips and chocolate candies.

Drop batter by tablespoons onto baking sheets. Bake 12 minutes or until just lightly browned. Watch closely at end so cookies do not burn. Makes 72 cookies.

Lastly, I’d like to invite you to check out a post I wrote for Megan Kocher’s blog for the Kirschner Cookbook Collection. I’ve written about this collection here before, and was lucky enough to be asked to write a post for the Official Site. I feel so strongly that this collection has a lot to say about women and history and was thrilled to be able to put my thoughts in print. I’d like to share it here as well.

3 thoughts on “the chain, monster cookies, and cookbooks

  1. Pingback: Monster Cookies and Recipe Roundup « The Heavy Table – Minneapolis-St. Paul and Upper Midwest Food Magazine and Blog

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