Friday, October 22, 2010

This is not really about cookies.

I had a unsettling revelation the other evening: Cookies are not as good as they used to be.

Don’t get me wrong – I still enjoy cookies, but I remember them being better when I was a kid. Cookies from the past are what all present-day cookies are judged by, and to put it frankly, they just aren’t measuring up.

My first impulse was to blame the process that was used in preparing the recipe. But after close inspection, it was clear that this was not the source of the problem. Sure there are changes – electric beaters instead of hand mixers, fancy convection ovens instead of Grandma’s ancient oven – but the job gets done all the same.

What about the bakers? Are they not as good as the bakers of yester-year? I don’t think that’s the problem either. They love to bake and wouldn’t be in the profession if there wasn’t a desire to do so (or a desire to produce delicious cookies, either).

So why aren’t cookies as good as they used to be? Cookies are a big part of my life, and I simply could not abandon such an important question. It’s not because of the recipe and it’s not the fault of those who bake the cookie, so what could it be? Then it hit me.

The ingredients.

Perhaps the reason bakers cannot produce a high quality cookie anymore is because they do not have access to quality ingredients in which to bake with.

But this is an even bigger problem. Bakers can only control what goes on in their kitchen. They cannot control how ingredients are prepared before being packaged and shipped to them. All they can do is bake with passion and desire – and make the best cookie they can with the ingredients that are sent to them.

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