love is a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie.

guess what?  i don’t like sweet foods.  sure, that might make me a curmudgeon.  yeah, you might be able to accuse of having lost touch with my inner child.  but in all honesty, right from the get-go, sweet was always one of my least favorite flavors.  i know lots of people are probably chomping at the bit, ready to lace into me for being such a cynic, but hold your horses and let me explain myself for a moment.

in my experience, the vast majority of sweet foods being produced en masse are highly processed.  sweet is one of those flavors that reminds us of “home,” and even if we didn’t have a mommy or a grandma who baked fresh goodies all the time, we like to imagine that we did when we bite into a tollhouse cookie or a little debbie snack.  commercials and marketing do their best to convince us that a tremendous room full of smiling grannies or joyous frolicking elves produce our snacks.  which of course could not be farther from the truth.

in actuality, most of these sweet foods are cooked by a series of cold, unfeeling robotic arms somewhere in the bowels of a fully automated factory.  candy, especially hard and gummy candies, contain ingredients which look like they belong in a spelling bee, not on the back of food packaging.


that being said, let me add an addendum to my first proclamation.  i don’t like sweet foods, but fresh-baked, homemade, perfectly executed baked goods deserve my unending admiration and praise.  never, i repeat never, will i turn down a made-from-scratch chocolate chip cookie straight out of the oven.  pies (particularly pecan, pumpkin, berry, apple, and peach) are a beautiful and majestic art form that at times seems all but forgotten.

“but poor man, how can you adore homemade cookies and pies whilst hating sweet foods?  that seems like a paradox.”  the solution is simpler than you think.

i didn’t write this post while throwing away a box of twinkies.  i wrote this post while watching one of the most important people in the world to me whip up a batch of 230 cookies in a single sitting.  she gave those cookies to her father (who is a college professor) so he could give them to his freshman students and residents on the day they moved in.

in other words, more often than not, freshly baked cookies and pies aren’t made by a robotic arm.  they are made by a person who loved you enough to show you in the gooiest, warmest, freshest, most chocolaty way possible.  and you can’t get that from anything that comes out a vacuum-sealed bag.   i have never eaten a gummy worm and thought, “yeah, that is what love tastes like.”  i’ve never microwaved a moon pie and marveled at the time and effort put into it in the 30 seconds it takes to get piping hot.

i know not that many people read my blog, but i have a favor to ask of those of you who do.  first, try your best to avoid highly processed sweets.  cut those gummy worms and Swedish fish and little Debbie fudge rounds out of your diet.

the second part is a little harder, but worth it in the long run.  find someone you love.  and i don’t mean someone you are infatuated with.  i mean someone you love madly or unconditionally.  a son or daughter, a girlfriend or wife, a boyfriend or husband, or a friend who you know you just couldn’t live without.  and if this better half of yours bakes, beg them on the regular to make you tasty treats, consume them with fervor in their presence, and thank them for being so wonderful.  and if they don’t bake, take up the mantle and show them you love them with a cookie every now and again.

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