Cornmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies and “The Parent Trap”

What I love about weekends is listening to a new episode of This American Life. Laugh all you want, I find the radio more entertaining that reality TV and I find Ira Glass more attractive than Johnny Depp.

Told ya I’m weird.

Anyhow, today’s post is inspired by the latest episode. The episode was called “The Parent Trap”. Stories about parents setting accidental traps for their children, and sometimes for themselves. It talked a little about the things parents make us do which we hate and loathe, but learn to appreciate it twenty or more years later.

I thought I would share with you some of the things my parents did that I’m now grateful for:

1) The spoke to me in any language but English: Unless of course, there were guests around. My parents figure  I since I was born and living in the US, I was bound to learn English at school and from the TV. So they spoke to me in other languages so I’d learn them. Its always easier to learn a language when you are a child. So thanks to that, I know Hebrew fluently (and without an accent!) and I understand and can read French. This actually used to bother me. I wanted to be like everyone else, I wanted to be spoken to in English dammit! But when I tried, they didn’t respond to me. Nowadays, my father relaxed this “no English” rule, and we often find ourselves speaking in English, but I’m older now and I wont forget the languages they instilled in me.

The made me listen to classical music and National Public Radio: Although I did mange a way to be a Spice Girls and Ace of Base fan as a kid, radio in the car was always either classical music or NPR. Maybe this is why I love NPR so much now! But I think it actually groomed me intellectually. I know, that sounds really pretentious, but it kept me informed about current events and made me appreciate classical music. I knew about Bosnia and the OJ trial when all the other kids at school were talking about their  “puppy surprise” or their new shiny pogs. Not that round cardboard isn’t intellectually stimulating…..

They gave me cars to play with: Being a “girl” (yes, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m indeed female), one would expect me to play with dolls and pink things. While I did have a few dolls, I had a massive toy car collection. No, I don’t know how to fix a transmission or even change a flat tire these days, but what this taught me was just because I’m a girl, shouldn’t mean I need to play with certain things. They also encourage me to have friends that are boys and I think even as an adult, its important to have friendships with the opposite gender (without a romantic relationship!).

What did your parents do that you didn’t quite understand as a kid but appreciate now that you are an adult?

I like a good chocolate chip cookie, but its fun to switch it up and try a new spin on it! These are worth trying for a change!

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose or rice flour
1 cup corn meal (aka polenta)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, about one minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, beating until incorporated.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, polenta, baking powder, and salt.

4. Mix the dry ingredients into the beaten butter mixture until incorporated, than stir in the chocolate chips.

5. pinch of pieces of dough about the size of a small golf, and roll into balls. Place them evenly spaced on the prepared baking sheet and press them down gently with your hands to flatten them a little.

6.  bake the cookies, in a 325 degree F oven. Bake the cookies for about 12-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets midway during baking, until the cookies are very light brown on top. Remove the oven and let cool completely.

Chips Ahoy has got nothing on these!


25 thoughts on “Cornmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies and “The Parent Trap”

  1. Those sound delicious. I have tons of cornmeal that I just don’t know what to do with, and since my kid wants to make cookies tomorrow, I might test these out! The only thing I can think of off the top of my head is the limited sugar rule my mom had. Cookies & treats weren’t forbidden in our house, but they were severely restricted, and being a parent now, I understand why. I notice an almost immediate difference in my son’s wildness if he has some cookies or chocolate milk. I try to keep them to after-dinner desserts, or treats when he’s at his grandparents’.

  2. My parents wouldn’t let us have cable TV for our entire childhood. And I hated it at the time…all my friends were watching Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel and I had NO idea what they were talking about! But it was probably for the best because we watched less tv in general and so I read more and found things to do other than sit in front of the tv. And now I don’t even OWN a tv!

    I love cornmeal wherever I can get it. Putting it in chocolate chip cookies is just fabulous.

  3. Well, as silly as it may sound, I never could understand why my mom was so fixed on purchasing store brand items, for products such as pasta, vegetables, etc. She would also clip coupons all the time, which I never could comprehend either. However, now as a working 22-year-old, I am all for purchasing store brands AND actively clip coupons and even HUNT for them online! It’s funny how my mom’s practices have rubbed off on me and now I probably engage in them even more so than she!

  4. My mom never bought me Nintendo or any of those ancient gaming systems (except a Game Boy for the drives up north.) There were times I was jealous that my friends had them, but to be honest, I love that I didn’t. We played outside, I did artsy things, etc. and never missed it one bit.
    Except an older half-sister, I was an only child, but my parents never spoiled me. I had a ton of cousins and friends, and even if I wanted special attention at times (and I’m sure I got it in some way, shape or form–drama queen!) I was never “spoiled.”
    My mom is disabled and could have used that as an excuse at times, but never ever has. There were times I wanted special treatment or an easy way out and was ticked when she wouldn’t do it or let me slack, but I totally get it now. It all makes you stronger.
    However, I will never be a parent, as I’m sure I would screw things up. No, I know this 😉

  5. I like listening to a morning radio show! (if I’m up that early!) Its not news, but it’s more comedy and talking about current media.

    This is something I always remember never understanding as a kid. I’d ask my mom to buy me something and she’d say she didn’t have enough money to, and I’d always retort, “But you have all those checks!” Lol…..Yes, I thought checks equaled money.

  6. oh i’m SO glad you posted this recipe!! i’ve been dying to use my cornmeal hahaha and in the mood but not really for cornbread. it’s destiny that i read blogs this morning i tell you! 🙂

    i’m really glad my parents taught me to love myself first before loving someone else! being in a relationship or finding a boyfriend was never ever made a ‘thing to do’ which is prob why i’m so independent and totally fine with being single until i meet someone. thanks ma & dad!

  7. my parents made me be responsible by not taking care of things when i got myself in a bind: read car accident, writing checks for the first time, managing my bank account, how to apply for a loan, how to buy a house or sell one, remodel etc. i just had to google it haha. but i will say it’s made me a very functional person 🙂 all my friends come to me to ask ‘how do you…?’

  8. Interesting topic, and nice list! I really wish I’d been raised in a multi-lingual household.

    One thing that always used to irritate/stress me, but that I’m now very thankful for, is that my mom made me do stuff for my damn self. Not that she wasn’t around to help me or was neglectful, but she taught me early on how to be capable, assertive, etc etc. If I needed help finding something at the store, she had me ask the salesperson myself. If I wanted a snack, she would show me where everything was, stand there and help instruct me how to make it, ultimately costing herself a lot more time than if she’d just done it for me, but teaching me that I didn’t/shouldn’t depend on people for things I could do myself. Of course, if something was beyond my ability she’d do it. But I think way too many kids are thrown out into the world after 18 years of being waited on hand and foot, and it’s kind of an unkind shock when you hit the real world and have to make your own appointments, shop for yourself, do you own chores, etc. I was really glad she imbued self-sufficiency as a value in me without ever being unsupportive.

  9. Oh my goodness…my parents did the same things to me….

    Only spoke Russian even when I answered in English, played classical music non-stop we even had an ongoing car game of “Guess the Composer” which I still do to this day AND I knew I was getting “old” the day I caught myself listening to NPR instead of rock stations. I’m a car talk wait wait don’t tell me and alas….even Prairie Home Companion fan though. Then there’s The Splendid Table, Animal House, etc etc etc….weekends are the best!

    One other thing was never having cable tv so I pretty much became an outdoors girl. Lots of mud, trees, running around and just being active and having fun. That and a closet full o’ books Still snuck over to the neighbors for tv and video games (Atari at the time…I’m old).

    To this day I have no attention span for tv.

    Love your blog by the way (:

  10. I was always older for my age and really responsible. I guess having a parent die young does that to you esp when you are an only child (I was at the time until my mom remarried). I dono.

    I can’t think of anything she would make me/wouldn’t let me do. She did always harp on having good credit though. As if I wouldn’t be able to do ANYthing in life if it was bad. That scared the hell out of me enough about credit cards that I didn’t have any until just a few years ago. That and I’m VERY anal about paying my bills on time which I’m sure is contributed to that ‘credit fear’ she gave me.

    I’m not complaining though. I have a rediculously good credit score because of it. And it sure has helped me many times.

  11. My parents did the same thing with languages, they also made it very clear to my brother that taking the road less traveled was a-okay as long as we were happy along the way!

  12. 1) haha a mini-UN in your house!

    2) Seething jealous at your polyglot status.

    3) I LOVE npr! My favorite is the Dinner Party Download! Get it now and do a post on it!

    4)My mom told me to save pennies wherever I could, but never to skimp on a haircut, because, “you wear your hair everyday”

  13. i had no idea that you spoke hebrew fluently! scott used to skip hebrew school by getting off the El/train in chicago 2 stops early at wrigley field. he barely knew enough for his bar mitzvah the story goes. lol

    i am grateful my parents didnt just buy me what i wanted (they could have in many cases) but they are old school, ie. frugal, and dont believe in spoiling kids or one’s self, really. Nice things are wonderful, but must be earned.

    Great post Eden!

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