Linda Boyne: How the cookie crumbles
Vail, CO, Colorado
I’m not sure there are words to describe my affection for chocolate chip cookies. It’s a primal thing, something deep within my soul that connects with the amazing combination of sweet crunchy cookie and sensuous, delicious chocolate. Makes me salivate just writing that.
So the Beaver Creek chocolate chip cookie competition to select the treat to be passed out all winter is like a match made in heaven! No, not as a competitor. I think my skills are best utilized as a judge.
Wednesday was the day of the annual contest, and it also happened to be my younger son’s eighth birthday, a boy who would live on cookies and other carbs alone if left to his own devices. So when I told Small Boyne that we could go eat a bunch of cookies on his birthday, his eyes lit up.
I’d done my research, read about all the bakers, analyzed their recipes. I knew the ones I definitely didn’t want to miss, the ones I was skeptical about, the ones that intrigued me (Kahlua in cookies? Genius!). My boy and I were ready to be discriminating tasters and voters.
When the big day came, Small Boyne’s big brother was sick on the couch. So it was just the two of us venturing forth into cookie heaven. We set out at 1:30, thinking we had plenty of time to get to the big event. Ten minutes to drive to the Bear Lot, ride the bus, saunter in just before 2 ready to munch. But the cookie gods had another plan in mind for us.
We ran for the bus that was at the bus stop when we got out of the car, Small Boyne sprinting ahead of me, but to no avail. It left without us. So we stood waiting for the next one. And we waited. A crowd of about 50 skiers, boarders and fellow cookie connoisseurs gathered. And we all waited. It was an early season mishap. Apparently the hardworking Beaver Creek bus drivers hadn’t quite got the bus timing coordinated yet.
Fifteen minutes later, a crowded bus pulled in and we all tried to get on. “Tried” being the operative word. Determined to get my birthday boy up the hill to the cookie fest, we squished ourselves in, standing cheek to jowl with all the others, or in Small Boyne’s case, cheek to butt. The ride may have scarred him for life. As we pulled away, two empty buses pulled in behind us. Figures.
As we disembarked in Beaver Creek, visions of cookies danced in our heads. Small Boyne rhapsodized about the cookies of tastings past, when he’d had one that was a chocolate cookie with chocolate chips, how much he loved that, how he hoped there was one like it today.
It was one of my proudest moments as a mother. My boy was recalling a food memory, able to taste it in his little mind, remembering how good it was. I had cultivated another foodie! I was so happy.
Our happiness was short-lived. We rounded the corner by Foxnut and began working our way through the crowd toward the white tents that housed our culinary treats. The first one we came to had nothing but crumb-filled trays. No! This couldn’t be happening. The second, empty baskets. The third, nothing! Frantically we sought out the fourth and fifth tents. It was not to be. They were all gone. I looked at my watch: 2:15. Damn.
We both stood there in stunned and disappointed silence. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a pile of cookies. In a garbage can. I won’t lie to you and tell you I didn’t think about taking a couple and brushing them off. Small Boyne had no problem with the idea. But sanity, and sanitary concerns, prevailed and we left with empty stomachs and heavy hearts.
I consoled us both by telling him that all the recipes were in the paper so we could make them together and try them all out on our own. In his wise, young, 8-year-old way, he said, “That will be better anyway, Mom. You make the best cookies.”
That’s my boy!
Linda Boyne of Edwards writes weekly for the Vail Daily. She can be contacted through email@example.com