Forgotten Cookies Remembered

I’m not sure why I was interested in cooking as a kid, since I was not especially interested in eating anything other than Cap’n Crunch and was in no way interested in growing up, especially if it meant doing boring adult things like writing checks. I watched my dad do it, writing checks, and there was a ledger with columns and a lot of scribbling including the writing of numbers as words, in cursive. Why would you?
Another Guy with a Sign

My mother would not buy fluffy-spongey white bread, but she would buy Pepperidge Farm Toasting White and Thomas English Muffins, and Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries. The way I ate it, three or four bowls at a sitting, in the middle of the day, with lots of 2% milk, was this: crunchberries first. I tolerated the slightly pink stain in the milk, and the tiny bits of floating crunchberry, despite hating all food that seemed to be a mixture of other foods, like pizza or lasagna or really any casseroles at all.  

Mostly, I guess I wanted to be able to make cookies, because my mother was in the basement making silk-screen prints for the art fair and didn’t do things like make cookies. So I figured out how to make cookies. There was a recipe ON THE BAG of chocolate chips. I even figured out how to walk to Schnucks, across Hanley Road, to buy chocolate chips, how to crack and separate eggs, and that vanilla is the most magical of substances in a tiny brown bottle.

Forgotten Cookies Recipe:

Just before bed, preheat oven to 375F. Beat two egg whites until stiff. Add a pinch of salt and ½ t. cream of tartar; beat in ¾ c. white sugar until glossy. Add a splash of vanilla extract and fold in 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Drop by small spoonfuls onto foil-lined cookie sheet. Place in oven, and turn it off. Cookies are ready in the morning.

Around 1975, I made forgotten cookies once a week to sell at the weekly junior high school bake sales; we were raising money for a spring break trip to France.  I still have not been back to France, but I did go and I ate two new things there: yogurt and croissants. I recall hearing my mother grumble about the cost of a bag of chocolate chips and the labor involved in making forgotten cookies and making a cash donation instead, but I enjoyed making them and carrying them to school in a wax-paper-lined shoebox.

If I made them as regularly now as I did then, I would use superfine granulated sugar, and I’d make mayonnaise by hand with the leftover yolks (unless I gave them to the dogs), and I’d use those tiny chocolate chips, and I’d experiment with finely chopped pecans.  Let me know if you have your own variations.

A Letter from my Dad, 6 May 1975

My dad was funny, and liked being funny. He sent me letters every time I went to camp. I looked forward to the letters so much they were typically the only reason I would stop crying about having to go away to camp. 
I sincerely apologize for his use of the term “gypsy,” or the implication that the Romani people eat cats. Also “Jap Patrol.” 
I do not think Dad meant to disparage any ethnic group in a specifically hateful way. Instead, I would say that he liked to make fun of everyone.
I do not know if he dictated the letters to his secretary, or if she typed them up from his written notes. He was not actually affiliated with the Clayton Fire Department, but did work for the Ralston Purina Company.