For many of us today, cookies are the identifiers left on our computers by the web sites we visit. Unlike grandmother’s brownies or dad’s scones, they are hidden and questionable gifts. The soft sweetness of these treats has become subject to greater scrutiny since grandmother’s youth, though. Despite carob powder, honey, and whole wheat flour, there’s now concern about calories, saturated fats, and glucose. Purchased, packaged cookies must have detailed labels of their ingredients, portions, and calorie counts. Like digital cookies, they are now viewed with suspicion rather than smiles.
Will apples, pretzels, and nuts be not only the preferred, but also the required snacks of the future? The absence of cookie jars from contemporary kitchen counters, homemade chocolate chip cookies from grade school bag lunches, and macaroons from the dinner table may be popularly attributed to the demands of paid work on parents’ time. An inventory of kitchen cabinets, pantries, and grocery lists is required to test this hypothesis. Further investigation of grocery receipts and glove compartments may be necessary. Perhaps, cellophane packages of sandwich cookies, cardboard boxes of ginger snaps, and waxy bakery bags of sugar cookies are now reduced to guilty impulse purchases. That is, they are plunked into a shopping cart only under the duress of a whining toddler or hungry adult. Eaten quickly and surreptitiously in the car, the only remains are a few indistinguishable crumbs.
Although the ample variety and number of colorful packages in the cookie aisle at the local mega food mart belies these concerns, consider the strident advertising of their manufacturers. If we increasingly ignore their saccharine flavor innovations, discounts, and reduced calorie counts, we may become slimmer and healthier. Our culture, though, will have to change some cherished rituals. Will auntie dole out boxes of raisins rather than oatmeal cookies for good behavior? Will the local bakery specialize in vanilla biscotti and peanut butter bread sticks rather than snickerdoodles? Will Santa Claus have to share Rudolph’s carrot and celery sticks? Like cell phone manners and texting slang, the future is ours to embroider.
© Laura Rizzardini, Inc., 2013