Originally, I wanted to classify a phenomenon that I recently identified as something of a Christmas miracle; but like Christmas Miracles, I found it really commonplace – something everyone experiences and ignores, and life goes on.
I mean, you see a blind person regaining their eyesight and the first thing they see is snow on Christmas morning, you saw it all, am I right? Or maybe it is something you have to see to believe.
Anyway, the phenomenon I’m talking about is how forbidden fruits turn into unwanted vegetables.
The best, newest, and most festive example is eating raw cookie dough.
Ingesting raw cookie dough has been a forbidden fruit for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I made chocolate chip cookies with my mom, but things got serious when I reached down with my finger to scrape the delicious mana of the cookie dough out of the bowl. My mom looked at me and said, “Don’t eat the raw cookie dough because it contains raw eggs and raw eggs will kill you.”
Throughout my childhood and even into adulthood, pretty much every warning my mother gave of the consequence of my death was underlined. It involved everything from eating raw cookie dough and reaching into a public fountain to steal pennies (she said the water would kill me) to taking out a third mortgage on my house and putting paper clips in sockets.
Then those warnings were challenged when I saw Rocky Balboa drink a glass of raw eggs. The raw eggs didn’t kill him. In fact, he went the distance in his fight against Apollo Creed.
When I explained this to my mom, she told me not to believe everything movies say because they lie and see movies about boxers who drink raw eggs could kill me too. (I pointed out that I was fine after watching “Rocky,” but she said it was because I saw it on TV and the film had been modified from its original version and edited to be in the scheduled time is running.)
Couldn’t argue with that.
30 years later, and I’m in the store with my family and I see a bucket – yes a bucket – on the shelf with prepared cookie dough that my daughter wanted to make with me to go to see Santa Claus.
Like anything that comes out of a bucket, I thought it would be a good investment, so like any good investment, I bought it blindly.
When it was time to bake the cookies, I read on the bucket that the dough was safe because of the use of heat-treated flour, pasteurized eggs, and making ready-made meals that appear to be dragon blood because I did never heard of such a magical thing.
“Good news, Emma,” I said. “This raw cookie dough is safe to eat!”
She was excited, of course, because I, too, warned her about the dangers of eating raw cookie dough. But, be honest, I had a more solid explanation than the one my mother gave me.
âListen, Emma,â I said, âyou shouldn’t eat cookie dough because it contains raw eggs, and raw eggs could contain salmonella, which can give you symptoms like stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, fever and headache – basically … one bad hangover without all the fun of drinking … and you will likely die. “
However, with the oven preheating and a bucket – yes, a bucket – with the label of edible cookie dough in front of us, we decided to indulge our “Thelma and Louise” moment. We rode off this particular cliff together and ate a generous amount of raw cookie dough.
That’s right, a generous amount.
Not the guilty licking of a spoon or the occasional stain that gets on your hand when you scrape the bowl clean to collect enough batter to make that one pathetic final biscuit that probably doesn’t have a chocolate chip in it. Even eating cookie dough on these occasions carries some risk, as you think there’s probably not enough salmonella on your spoon to cause concern despite not knowing how salmonella works.
I had about three spoons full of the stuff; I was too far in the ecstasy of anticipation to notice how much cookie dough Emma was eating, but I think she was up to the elbow in the bucket.
And when that sparkle of freedom faded, I had two thoughts.
The first was the fact that raw cookie dough was suddenly struck off the forbidden fruit list – it was no longer the unreachable object of desire, and thus became ordinary and lame, losing the sweetness known as anticipation.
Basically, the forbidden fruit became an undesirable vegetable.
The second thought expanded that idea even further, which was my newly formed opinion that cookie dough tastes pretty gross.
I chewed a spoonful of the stuff thinking I was wasting a pretty good cookie. I also wondered if sitting around and eating cookie dough was what was stopping me from achieving something big in my life.
I should have chosen to drink raw eggs. Look what it did for Rocky.