Snickerdoodles and Other Silly Words

It’s another cookie baking day. The boy politely asked for snickerdoodles and though they are my least favorite cookie to eat, how can a mother refuse? Especially when the word “please” precedes the request. As I stood in my kitchen rolling boring, bland cookie after boring, bland cookie, it occurred to me that the most interesting thing about this particular treat is its name. Snickerdoodle. Who thought up this ridiculous name? It’s not even listed in my giant-sized Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language.

I found snicker, “to laugh in a disrespectful manner” and snickersnee, “a knife”. Did some mother in generations past make a grave error in her recipe and leave out the flavor? Upon eating the insipid cookie, did she make a self-deprecating remark comparing herself to a doodle, “a foolish or silly person?” Rather than kindly eating the cookie, did her family snicker at her error?

This is just one of the many, many silly words I adore. What’s not to love about kerfuffle, “a commotion”; rigamarole, “an elaborate, complicated procedure”; or hullaballoo, “an uproar?” I called my son doodlebug, “the larva of an antlion” for the first year of his life. Don’t even get me started on scallywag. You have read The Pirate’s Booty, haven’t you?

Cookie Math

Can someone tell me why cookie recipes promise the mother lode but actually deliver a few tailings? It’s a cool, rainy spring day here so naturally it’s a cookie-baking day. The boy and I compared our available ingredients with several recipes and decided gingersnaps would be both aromatic and delicious. This particular recipe claims to produce six dozen cookies. I’m fairly good at my 12 times tables and know that means 72 cookies. I am the perpetual optimist but I’m not insane, so I knew we’d be lucky to get five dozen at best. And if you’re as good at your math as I am, you’ll know that equates to 60 cookies.

Now, I confess to a little dough munching despite the raw egg my mother always said will make me sick. But it was like, literally, half a cookie. And the boy got a little overeager with the teaspoon size on the first cookie but reined himself in on all future cookies. So tell me, why do the people who write recipes get our hopes up like this?

Not 72 cookies.

Forty-four cookies people. That’s it. That means we got a return of 44 out of 72 promised cookies. That’s 62% of what was promised. Recipe writer person, I give you a D. These will barely last me through the weekend.