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Sweet Mess

(by Kate Klein)

The three of us stand in our narrow kitchen with blue and white wallpaper. The girls are tip-toe on chairs, holding wooden spoons and attempting restraint about taking turns stirring and sneaking too many finger licks of dark brown sugar. I am trying to coordinate grabbing the proper ingredients, checking the order of the recipe, and making sure everyone feels included. I have to admit, I don’t always enjoy baking with my daughters. It is often a harried compromise and mess-making endeavor. It is certainly not the quiet, sensory process that I want to linger over, making sure the details are perfect.

“Do you think she’ll share some with Opal?” “Mama, when I have a baby, you’ll bake cookies for me, right?” “Can we save one for Papa?”

We are making my favorite oatmeal raisin lactation cookies for our neighbor who will be having a baby any day. These cookies contain lactogenic ingredients to boost milk supply and aid healing for a nursing mother. They accompany a nutritious meal of soup and salad that we drop off at door steps. And the note always reads: “These cookies can be shared BUT taste especially good to nursing mothers.” I basically ate my weight in them after my second daughter was born. I appreciate the fact that they are a delicious treat but contain enough good ingredients to ease any guilt.