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Beverly Beckham

She met the Cookie Monster, and it was she

By Beverly Beckham
Globe Columnist / September 26, 2010

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I ate the kids’ cookies.

My neighbor, Katherine, who lives across the street and bakes all the time, yummy things like cakes layered with raspberries and cakes dripping with chocolate, put two freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in two baggies last Tuesday, then handed them to me because it was nearly 5 p.m. and too close to dinner time for cookies. That’s what the children’s mothers repeated three times before they left their daughters with me: “Don’t feed them anything, Mimi. Not even if they beg. It will spoil their dinner.”

So this is what I repeated to Lucy, who is 7 and Charlotte, who is 3. “Your mothers said . . .” And they rolled their eyes and so did I because none of us believes that a cookie is capable of spoiling anything. Cookies enhance. Cookies make life better! “C” is for cookie,” we sang as we waited for the traffic to stop and let us cross the street. (Note to drivers: Do you really not see two little kids and one adult waiting on the side of the road, or are you in so much of a hurry that you can’t take a few seconds to stop?)

Anyway, because I live in fear of being reprimanded by my grown-up daughters (“You what!! You gave them cookies after we told you not to?!’’), I did exactly as instructed and set the delectable and distracting chocolate chip cookies on my kitchen counter and fed the kids real food instead: macaroni and cheese out of a box, which really can’t be much better for kids than something home-baked.

But I did as I was told. The kids ate dinner, watched a little “Dora’’ and then went home.

And left their cookies behind.

I was not going to touch them. After all, what kind of a person would eat a little kid’s cookies? Besides, I am trying to shed the few — OK, more than a few — extra pounds I put on this summer due to an excess of cakes layered with raspberries and dripping with chocolate.

So I was merely moving the cookies to a different location, moving them out of sight, eliminating a source of temptation, when I looked at them and saw them for what they are: things of true beauty, all round and bulging with chocolate chips and butterscotch chips and crushed walnuts. And I thought, just a small bite. Just a wee morsel. Just a teeny tiny taste. What harm could there be?

I had a peck, then another peck. And then there was just half a cookie left. What good is a half cookie? I couldn’t give it to anyone. So I ate it.

Now there were three cookies and only two kids. Divide three by two and you have one left over. I knew that if I didn’t eat this leftover cookie right then, I’d eat it later. So I ate this cookie, too.

Then it was all equal again. No harm done. There was a cookie for Lucy and a cookie for Charlotte. This was perfect. I took the two cookies and put them in separate bags and buried them in a bottom drawer under a pile of clean dish towels. Out of sight, out of mind. That’s what I told myself.

I ended up foraging through the towel drawer during the final 10 minutes of “Dancing with the Stars.” I tried not to. I tried eating unsalted peanuts instead. But they simply did not do the trick. So there went the third cookie.

I polished off the last cookie at breakfast the next morning. It was all over by then. The only thing to do was to eliminate temptation’s source. And that’s what I did. I ate the last of the kids’ cookies.

I know I could walk across the street anytime and get some more. Katherine always has cookies. And I will, five minutes before the kids come over next time. Maybe four minutes. And even if it’s dinner time, and even if their mothers get cross, I will let them eat the cookies right then and there.

Canton resident Beverly Beckham can be reached at bevbeckham@aol.com