I was originally going to classify a phenomenon that I recently identified as something of a Christmas miracle; however, like Christmas miracles, I found it to really be commonplace-–something that everyone experiences and ignores, and the moves on with their lives.
I mean, you see one blind person regaining their sight and the first thing they see is snow on Christmas morning, you’ve seen it all, am I right? Or maybe it’s something you have to see to believe.
Anyway, the phenomenon I’m talking about is witnessing forbidden fruits turning into unwanted vegetables.
The best, most recent 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 child, I would make chocolate chip cookies with my mother, but as I reached down with my finger to scrape the luscious mana of cookie dough from the bowl, things would turn gravely serious. My mom would look at me and say, “Don’t eat the raw cookie dough because it has raw eggs in it, and raw eggs will kill you.”
During my childhood and even into my adulthood, pretty much every warning from my mother was punctuated with the consequence of my demise. It included everything from eating raw cookie dough and reaching into a public fountain to steal pennies (she said the water would electrocute me dead) to taking a third mortgage out on my house and sticking paper clips in wall outlets.
Then those warnings were put into question when I saw Rocky Balboa drinking a glass of raw eggs. The raw eggs didn’t kill him. In fact, he went on to go the distance in his fight against Apollo Creed.
When I explained that to my mother, she told me I shouldn’t believe everything that movies say because they lie and watching movies about boxers drinking raw eggs could also kill me. (I pointed out that I was fine after watching “Rocky,” but she said that was because I watched it on TV and the film had been modified from its original version and edited to run in the time allotted.)
Couldn’t argue with that.
Fast forward 30 years, and I’m in the store with my family and I see on the shelf a bucket — yeah a bucket — of prepared cookie dough that my daughter wanted to make with me to set out for Santa Claus.
Like anything that comes from a bucket, I thought it would be a good investment, so, like any good investment, I blindly bought it.
When the time came to make the cookies, I read on the bucket that the dough was safe to eat because of the use of heat-treated flour, pasteurized eggs and ready-to-eat manufacturing, which apparently involves dragon’s blood because I never heard of such a magical thing.
“Good news, Emma,” I said. “This raw cookie dough is safe to eat!”
Of course, she was excited because I, too, have warned her of the dangers of eating raw cookie dough. But, give me credit, I had more of an educated explanation than the one given to me by my mother.
“Listen, Emma,” I’d said, “you shouldn’t eat cookie dough because it contains raw eggs, and raw eggs could contain Salmonella, which will give you symptoms like stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, fever and headache — basically a bad hangover without all the fun of drinking … and you’ll likely die.”
However, with time to spare as the oven was preheating and a bucket — yes, a bucket — of what was labeled edible cookie dough sat in front of us, we decided to take our “Thelma and Louise” moment. We rode off that particular cliff together and ate a generous amount of raw cookie dough.
That’s right, a generous amount.
Not the guilt-ridden lick of a spoon or the occasional smudge that gets on your hand when you’re scraping the bowl clean to gather enough dough to make that one pathetic last cookie that will likely not have one chocolate chip. Even consuming cookie dough on those occasions carries a little bit of risk as you think there’s probably not enough salmonella on the spoon to cause any concern, even though you don’t know how salmonella works.
I had about three spoonfuls of the stuff; however, I was too far into the ecstasy of anticipation to pay attention to how much cookie dough Emma consumed, but I think she was elbow-deep in the bucket.
And when that sparkle of freedom faded, I was left with two thoughts.
The first was the fact that raw cookie dough was suddenly struck from the list of forbidden fruits — it no longer was the unattainable object of desire and, therefore, became average and lame and lost the sweetness known as anticipation.
Basically, the forbidden fruit became an unwanted vegetable.
The second thought further expanded on that idea, which was my newly-formed opinion that cookie dough tastes pretty disgusting.
I was chewing a spoonful of the stuff and thought I’m wasting a perfectly good cookie. I also wondered if sitting around and eating cookie dough would be the thing that derails me from achieving any greatness in my life.
I should have opted for drinking raw eggs. Look what it did for Rocky.