Chocolate Chip Comfort Cookies

There’s a sense of helplessness that pours over you when someone you love is hurting. You know there’s absolutely nothing you can do, nothing you can say, to make them okay.

My best friend’s father was diagnosed with cancer this week, for the second time. I knew something was wrong when I got the e-mail. The subject line read “No Subject.”

I never really know what to say in these situations. I want to tell her it will be okay, that he survived it once, so he’ll survive it again. But that all sounds so superficial, like I’m cheapening her pain.

I always thought my inability to respond to other people’s suffering was because I couldn’t relate. But after losing two grandparents and a beloved dog, I’m no better off than I was before.

But I did learn that when people you love are in a crisis, you cook. For days after my grandmother’s death, the doorbell to her small city home would ring. My family would compose ourselves, wiping away the teary eyes and discarding tissues before opening the door to an empty hallway.

At the foot of the doorway sat handfuls of casseroles, pies and stacked plastic containers of cookies. Sometimes the visitors would stay and offer their condolences, but for the most part they left before we could open the door.

Perhaps they understood that saying sorry wasn’t enough. Or maybe everything they could possibly say was wrapped up in that red checkered tea towel sitting at the bottom of an open door.

My friend lives five hours away, so I won’t be able to give her my cookies. But I know from experience that it’s not just food that nourishes the broken soul: it’s the thought behind it.

These are for her.


large mixing bowl
medium mixing bowl
wooden spoon
hand mixer
measuring cups
measuring spoons
cookie sheet
wire rack


1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 package milk chocolate chips (about 1 1/2 cups)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In large mixing bowl, beat shortening, brown sugar and white sugar. Add vanilla and eggs and beat well.

In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop mixture by the teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake five to eight minutes, or until bottoms turn golden. Cool for several minutes on cookie sheet before transferring cookies to wire rack.


3 thoughts on “Chocolate Chip Comfort Cookies

  1. Gilean, I just read this entry and burst into tears. You know how much that takes. Despite any physical distance or articulative block between any of us, you have a beautiful gift of offering yourself in perhaps unconventional ways, but that which in no way mean less, and I know that I am not the only one who appreciates this in you. Thank you for this blog. Thank you for you.

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