04 February, 2009

Cookies

Figure A: This IS a cookie (we'll come to the converse later).

Today I am annoyed. I'm tired of not being taken seriously and having to explain myself to collaborators who don't bother reading my Methodology write-ups (do I seriously need to start diagramming these things in my spreadsheets?) to understand the data I share with them. I am tired of collaborators who keep coming around to our isolated little lab looking for results when it's too early for anything to have grown. I am a technician, and yes, I am powerful, but I am not a Master of Timespace. I cannot force bacteria to grow faster, and nor can I make a predict the outcome of the experiment from the first sampling time point. I have done this experiment now what...5 times? And today, today at the first time point of the newest iteration of this same experiment, you tell me that you're not sure the antibiotic concentration is optimized!? You tell me this after I have poured ~300 media plates? For real? You know, when you perhaps should have probably at some point realized that you should test all new strains with antibiotic resistance for their optimal antibiotic concentration. Just sayin'.

I don't like repeating things like this just because the data aren't what was wanted. I don't like wasting mice (germ-free, no less; although that's pretty much all we have) and time and money. And I'm sick of doing quantitative culture. Sure, I can do it accurately without thinking, but still: it gets kind of old.

But today I got a cookie. One of the animal techs had brought some chocolate chunk cookies to an earlier meeting, and she let me have one of the leftovers. It was one of those store-bought cookies full of delicious chemicals to keep it soft and chewy and non-crumbly (guar gum, I think...). So I am going to distract myself by writing about cookies.

First, in praise of cookies:

Cookies are delicious. Of all the delicious sweet foods out there, I believe that cookies are the best. Even with doughnuts, baklava, pulla, bagels, cake, pie, ice cream, pastries, scones (WTF is up with scones, anyway?), zalaybees, cupcakes, etc. out there, cookies reign supreme. There are few things in life better than a warm, soft cookie. Chewy and just a little bit crumbly. Throw in some chocolate or dried fruit and it is wonderful. That moment when you first bite into a fresh cookie and it has that crumbling crust that you bite through into the sweet softness inside is bliss.
Figure B: Toaster as a young child.

You see, when I was young I was a chubby child. I was the kind of kid who maxed out their library card and got tired of the children's section at 8 and the young adult section at 10. I was pudgy, and looking back I realize that at the time I didn't really realize it. I wasn't chubby because I ate cookies all the time (I was chubby because I was, and am, too clumsy to play outside much and I lived in the South with all the wonderfully terrible-for-your-health food), but they were certainly present , and the memories of them are indeed fond. I am no longer chubby, but that chubby kid is still with me, screaming for cookies (and M&M blizzards)...

Now, to throw down on faux-cookies:

There is an important difference between cookies and crackers. Cookies are sweet and chewy and wonderful. Crackers are hard and stale and are still crackers whether they're sweet (Animal Crackers) or dusted with salt and garlic (Triscuts). So stop calling those puny motherfuckers parading as cookies cookies! If you need a "cookie press" to make it and it's crunchy, it is NOT A COOKIE (and yeah, I'm looking at you, Nilla Wafers)!
Figure C: This is not a cookie, and if you insist on calling it as such even after reading this, I will personally find you and come kick you in the face.

We call graham crackers "graham crackers" because they are crackers. We call animal crackers "animal crackers" because they are goat fucked crackers. The only time that it is appropriate to call a crunchy, stamped, baked crackers a cookie is if it has soft filling (a la Oreos, although this may be recidivist hypocrisy on my part, because I do really enjoy Oreos). Call the scabby little bastards anything else, but not a cookie! Call them crackers, wafers, thins, butt crack peelings, whateverthefuck; I don't care! But not cookies.

You see, dear wider society, you've already squeezed all the goodness out of Saturday morning cartoons. You stopped playing good cartoons as soon as I was old enough to want or be able to buy my own cable. And the few good ones that even played after that are now canceled! So you listen to me here, you dusty, boogery bastard, you are NOT going to take cookies away from me either! I mean, shit, Cookie Monster himself now eats vegetables and fruit! What else are you going to corrupt? Are My Little Ponies going to get fashion accessories and Bratz BFFs? Is Dora the Explorer going to get a makeup kit? You've already turned Oscar the Grouch into a wuss, so stop already. Today's kids are going to grow up to be as bland as belly lint, only they'll be able to string together a text message.

Today it is cookies, tomorrow it is our very souls!

An existential question:
Do you think that the traditional cookies of any given culture are reflective of the values of that culture? Furthermore, do you believe that one's favorite cookie could yield insight into their personality? For reference, the best cookies I've had so far have invariably been oatmeal chocolate chip, even better with chopped walnuts and dried dates or something.

2 comments:

Eppendork said...

C is for cookies - that's good enough for me - C is for cookies that's good enough for me - C is for cookie etc :-p i love biscuits i love gingernuts that i dunk in my tea. I dont love taking od's or counting the bacteria which im working = boring!!! There is only so much of that you can do before you go just a little stir crazy.

E.

Eppendork said...

C is for cookies - that's good enough for me - C is for cookies that's good enough for me - C is for cookie etc :-p i love biscuits i love gingernuts that i dunk in my tea. I dont love taking od's or counting the bacteria which im working = boring!!! There is only so much of that you can do before you go just a little stir crazy.

E.