Wednesday, November 12, 2014


It all started with a pin. A pin on Pinterest of children at a library, decorating gingerbread cookies for story hour. Here it is.

And then we discovered a recipe for gingerbread which seemed okay. It said it would make 40 cookies, and we did the math (April did the math, actually) and figured that if we made three batches of the 40-cookie recipe, we would have 120 cookies. This would be enough for story hour and several preschool visits.

So then April said, "You've got a standing mixer, right?" And I said yes. "Can you mix them?" And I thought, sure. That isn't too many more cookies than what I've made in the past, so I could mix them up and bring them in, no problem.

I went to the grocery store. I bought supplies.

I went home. I had run the recipe through a calculator, figured out how much of each thing I'd need, and I began to mix things together. I had tripled the recipe and then halved it, thinking that I'd  be able to do the liquid ingredients for one and one half of a batch, transfer it to a big mixing bowl, and then add in the flour and water.

That was when it all went wrong. I think when I opened the first bottle of molasses it released evil powers or the gateway to hell opened up and spilled forth sticky agents of darkness. It was all falling apart and there was nothing I could do about it because once you start pouring molasses, you are COMMITTED. There is no escape, there are only cookies and all the places the molasses has adhered to you, your shoes, and the counter.

The liquid ingredients for a batch and a half wouldn't fit in my standing mixer. In fact, the liquid ingredients for ONE batch would not fit into my mixer. That was when I should have been afraid, but what I actually did was move it over into a giant mixing bowl and keep going.

The problem quickly became that, when the flour was added, it wouldn't fit inside the mixing bowl. But by then, I had already mixed the other batch and a half's liquid ingredients inside the standing mixer, so I was committed. All of this had to be mixed, or I'd be throwing food away.

I could hear my grandfather telling me not to throw good food away, and I was still thinking (since not all the flour had been added, that I would need all of this stuff to make my 100 cookies. Right?


Soon I had to beg Mum to help. She brought a giant stock pot--one we use for canning--and I put all of the cookie batter into it. By then, everything was sticky, everything was ginger. Molasses stained both my arms. I kept sticking to the floor. I put all of the stuff--all three batches of cookies--into the stock pot. It was half full.

I can use this stock pot to can like ten jars of tomato sauce or salsa or various other substances! This pot could fit half a human! You could lop off my upper torso and either half of me would neatly fit into this pot. This is a pot for people who want to boil ten cabbages at once. This is a pot that can heat up vegetable soup for dozens of hungry roofers. This is a pot that works for a living. The very idea that the still very sticky cookie dough could fill even half of the pot was frankly, terrifying. It meant that soon it would fill more of the pot, it meant that I would not just have 100 cookies or even 120. I would have enough cookies to cover the walls of my kitchen like doughy wallpaper.

I began using a giant wooden spoon like a paddle to combine the stuff, like a peasant laborer. I realized quickly that this was why so many aristocrats were beheaded or burned at stakes, because their serfs had to mix food like this EVERY DAY and didn't get to eat any of it because they had to instead feed the aristocracy while they sat wearing hats so big they caused permanent vertebral damage only repaired by the guillotine.

When it was finally combined, it was the size of my dog. My dog weighs 20 pounds. I had been mixing for three straight hours. My gingerbread weighed forty pounds.  I divided the gingerbread into four great hunks, approximately ten pounds each. I had long ago given up on the idea that I would only have 100 cookies.

I thought probably it would be between 300-400 cookies. I went to bed, and when I tried to get up, I stuck to my pillow because somehow I'd managed to get gingerbread on my head or neck during the mixing process.

I took the gingerbread to work. It looked like I had a body in my trunk, but really it was gingerbread.

Today we rolled it out, cut the cookies, and baked them. We worked for another three hours. So much gingerbread. So much rolling of dough. Six hours of my life were stolen by gingerbread. SIX HOURS. There is no escape.

April did not want me to take this picture. I took it anyway.
We did not have 300 cookies. We had more. We had more than 400 cookies. We actually had 404.

I actually do not have a line down the middle of my forehead, it is my bangs attacking me.
Four. Hundred. And. Four. Cookies. I could be buried in these cookies. You could live on these cookies for a week. Maybe longer.

Guess what? That is not all of the cookies. THIS is all of the cookies.

In fact, that isn't all of them, either. This is because we encouraged the rest of the library staff to come sample a cookie or TEN cookies.

But because there are 404 cookies, Red, my friend from Twitter, told me this: "404? Wait, that means there are no cookies! 404 not found error!" And that made him my favorite. And then Allison at work made me a sign to go with the cookies because she knew how happy it would make me.

404 ERROR, Nothing Found.


  1. I will admit, my first thought was also "404: cookies not found."

  2. That was my first thought as well. I just shared this post with a few of my coworkers, and they are in shock and also wishing they were closer so they could eat cookies.

  3. This brightened my morning considerably. 404 cookies!! I die. Also you must have arms if steel after all of that.