I remember eating with my grandparents as a kid while visiting their farm. The centerpiece of meals were fresh vegetables from the garden in summer and home-canned vegetables in winter. My grandmother baked a pan of cornbread most days. And at the end of the meal, my grandfather would always have a bite of something sweet. Sometimes it was a biscuit with Nana’s homemade apple butter. Sometimes it was a slice of cake. Sometimes it was a small bowl of ice cream with Hershey’s syrup. It never mattered to him, as long as it was a bite of something sweet to punctuate his meal.
From those gatherings, I learned many things about life and my grandparents and food. My favorite lesson about food was that “sweets” or dessert were not to be reserved for special occasions but rather enjoyed each day. Dessert was not an indulgence or a reward, it was as much a part of the meal as the fresh snap peas from the garden.
I guess the lesson of dessert being a part of life is why I quickly latched on to the concept of COOKIES as a symbol of how to raise money and awareness for the awful “C” word. Cookies are sweet and happy and represent a wonderful part of any day. Cookies are fun to talk about – the different types of cookies like chocolate chip or lemon sugar or oatmeal raisin (which happen to be the flavors of our Great Holiday Cookie Sale cookies). Cookies are NOT scary statistics about children with cancer or lack of funding for new and improved treatments. Cookies, to me, should be part of everyday – just like gratitude for good health and support for those not as fortunate.
But today, all of us at Cookies for Kids’ Cancer took note when The New York Times featured a story on the quickly vanishing bake sale due to concerns for childhood obesity. The end of bake sales? But we’ve just gotten started! Who knew that bake sales might quickly become an icon of the past only to be replaced by not-so-tasty fundraisers in the form of car washes?
We chatted back and forth today about how to honor the concerns associated with childhood obesity while remaining true to our vision of bake sales. Should we offer low-fat recipes or even a signature healthy living cookie to purchase? Should we encourage other types of fundraisers for our cause? Should we try to follow the California school regulations for our cookies – with fat and sugar substitutes? As parents – most of us here at Cookies for Kids’ Cancer are parents – we certainly want our children to eat healthy foods and make healthy choices and would never condemn efforts otherwise.
But you know what else? We want our kids to enjoy a good, old-fashioned gourmet cookie whenever they get the chance. We want our kids to savor the yumminess and crumbs and silliness of cookies. We want our children to make cookies a part of their everyday life – just like my PawPaw did and just like all children should. We want our kids to be kids.
We also want the adults out there, especially those reading this blog, to be the adults. We want you to protect your children, teach them moderation and more than anything, we want you to care about their future. And while you do all of that, we hope you will care about the future of pediatric cancer patients. We hope you will buy cookies during our Great Holiday Bake Sale. The proceeds of each cookie sold will keep new treatments for pediatric cancers moving forward.
We hope you savor each and every bite of our delicious gourmet cookies. They are best eaten in moderation with a generous heart.