I Never Met a Cookie I Didn’t Like

My book club meets at my house this week.

For those who have missed or forgotten my previous tales from the dark-side, allow me to share my “book club novella.”

Prologue:  My book club is made up of a very small group of women who, once upon a time, had children in the same preschool class.  Today those same kids are freshmen in college!  And,  many books later, the moms are still meeting about six times a year to chat and vent and laugh and eat and, as our husbands have long suspected, rarely talk about the book.

Characters and Setting:  The other ladies in my group are trim and fit; outwardly “normal.”  Some have been on diets in the past, but I never remember them being very large to begin with.  One gal is a runner and a vegetarian.  One has done Weight Watchers.  A third went on a healthy eating kick several years back while training for her first 5K.  Another is an ice skater who teaches the sport to young kids and stays active that way.  The sixth belongs to the same gym as me, takes lots of cycling classes, and walks her dog every day.  When we get together, the gals eat.  Sometimes a little; sometimes a lot.  Sometimes they go for the junkiest of the junk; sometimes they only reach for the healthy options.  I have given up  trying to predict what food will sit uneaten and which will get scarfed down.

Chapter One:  Book club for my group is never about the book.  It is “gal pal” time.   And, as with most social events, there is always food.  Food that sits within hand’s reach for the hours we sit talking.  Food that typically tempts and taunts me, front and center on my brain.  Social eating is my dieting nemesis.  In the past, I have attended book club when I have been eating well and I have attended when I was not eating so well.  Rather what one might expect from a yo-yo dieter.  I have gone and eaten little or nothing; I have gone and eaten only the healthiest of options if the hostess was kind enough to serve any; I have gone and overeaten or eaten things I later regretted; I have even gone and eaten with moderation and enjoyment.

The Plot Thickens:  I over-think almost everything.  Why should hosting book club be any different?!  I like to have something for everyone – the person who might want to eat healthy, the chocoholic looking for a fix, the one who missed dinner and needs something more filling.  And as someone who is culinarily challenged, I always stress out a bit about what I’m serving.  I want it to taste good.  I don’t want anyone to go away hungry or unsatisfied.  And I don’t want anyone to think “Karen’s serving us diet food.”  So last week I started planning the menu in my head:  hummus, veggies, dip, nuts… so far all healthy.  And all “on plan” for the hostess:)  But I know someone will want something sweet.  So, what to serve?  Something yummy but something that I myself won’t find so tempting that I potentially both overeat it that night and then can’t find the willpower to toss the leftovers!  Something easy to make, like cookies.  Is there a cookie I can bake that I don’t myself like?   Me thinks not.  Is there any “easy for the unskilled baker” dessert that will taste great to others but not to me?  What to make, what to make?

The Last Page:   My house, my control.  I do love to be in control:)  My house, my food choices.  Mine, mine, mine.  Maybe I’ll put aside my need to impress with homemade goodness and go with a store-bought treat.  So… I won’t live up to the Martha Stewart-like standards of my book club cohorts… but I also won’t have batter to tempt me or a delectable aroma wafting from my oven.  And I’ll do my best to pick something that appeals to me least.  No molasses crinkles, no chocolate chips, no coconut, no, no, no.  I know!  Nuts!  As in “I’m not a big fan of cookies or brownies or cakes or pies with nuts.”  Not as in “I’m going nuts just thinking about this.”  Although that’s true too:(

Epilogue:  And, because I know some of you will ask, the book we read was Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.  I didn’t much care for it.  But I have read several other good ones lately that I can recommend:  Heart of a Killer by David Rosenfelt, Catch Me by Lisa Gardner, and Oath of Office by Michael Palmer.

Any good reads you’d recommend?  Are you part of a book club?  Have you ever met a cookie you didn’t like?

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71 responses to “I Never Met a Cookie I Didn’t Like

  1. I’m sure bookclub will go well. I love reading and read two books on the weekend alone! I don’t belong to any bookclubs though. I’m not sure I’d want to as reading is a private thing to me – an outlet, not something I’d want to rehash (I think!!!).

    As for the food, it sounds like you’ve got it under control. I hate cooking for other people and am far from a foodie so I ALWAYS buy stuff if I have to contribute snacky things.

    Enjoy!

    • I’m an okay baker and put pressure on myself to make at least part of the menu homemade:( Bookclubs are as different as the people who join them. I know many people who are in groups that actually do it to discuss the book and for the intellectual stimulation. Not us:) Ours was a way to get to know some other women and to stay connected. Although I admit that I have as a result read some great books I’d otherwise not have even opened.

  2. I would love to be part of a book club, I just have to graduate first. I have more than enough reading my curriculum. I think I’d like my book club to be mostly about the social side, rather than the books.. 😉

    I’ve read The Help recently and enjoyed it.

  3. Miz

    I LONG for a book club too.
    somehow I got away from mine (theres a story :)) and never refound one.

    I read so so so much Id adore having discussion and snacking partners again 🙂

    • Well, if your daughter’s school is like ours, you can now have what we called “lunch and learn” – the kids version of a book club, supervised by volunteer parents:)

  4. I have the same issue when I play hostess. I Make so much food that it ends up being leftovers. Good for you for making an executive decision what not to serve.

    Love the idea of a book club!

  5. Have you all read The Pact by Jodi Picoult? LOVED it!
    I have been a part of a social eating club and go through the same thoughts that you have posted above. Sometimes, when I host, I feel like I can be a role model and serve what I consider to be healthy and that is ok. Sometimes I feel like I should have something for everyone. Either way- it is not about the food. It is about getting together with friends and spending quality time together. Throw some dark chocolate almonds in a bowl in case someone has a sweet tooth!!!
    Do your friends in the club know how you feel about this?

    • We did read that! It was our first of her books and we read another for the group since and I’ve read them all on my own. Coincidentally, I am reading her new one now! I have to say it is not my favorite:( We had the chance to hear her speak in a very small setting many years ago before she “hit the big time.” It was fascinating.

      No – they have no idea. I don’t talk to anyone in my non-blog world about dieting or eating or issues that surround them.

  6. I figured you’d pick something with raisins in it. Like oatmeal cookies.

  7. I’m in a book club but it is co-ed. I don’t like it as much as an all women’s group but I do like to discuss books. The men are contentious sometimes. 😦

    Enjoy the meeting. It’s only a few times a year! Moderation right?

  8. I am not part of a book club and am so envious of yours! I just got Kristin Hannah’s newest book, “Homefront” from the library (after being on the waiting list for a while), but haven’t started it yet. Also waiting for Sue Grafton’s latest in her alphabet mystery series.

    Funny how our thought patterns are so different sometimes. For a book club at my house, my approach would be that it’s my house, I want it to be a reflection of ME and everything I served would revolve around the healthy eating theme. And yes, the cookies would come from somewhere else. They’d have raisins in them since I don’t like raisins.

    • That prompted me to check – I am number 4 in the queue for the Grafton book from my library. Mostly I read what my mom passes on, typically best-selling and current fiction. But a few authors, like Grafton, my mom prefers to listen to on tape. Or doesn’t read at all.

      I had forgotten that I’m not a raisin fan – particularly backed in muffins. But I do like them just enough in cookies:( I’m off to bake shortly – I settled on a recipe that has a lot of walnuts in it!

  9. I think banana or zucchini bread can satisfy a sweet tooth while still being reasonable healthy. Lower the sugar, use whole wheat, and throw in a few chocolate chips 😀

  10. I might not like an old, stale cookie. Otherwise, they’re all good. 🙂

  11. I’d probably buy a variety of mini-cupcakes, but only enough for everyone to have ONE. Or if I was just in the mood to bake, I’d make a couple of pound cakes and serve with fruit. Leftovers could go straight into the freezer, sliced and individually wrapped, of course!

    • I thought about cupcakes, actually. Buying them. But then I imagined myself in the store, unable to decide which flavors and wanting them alllllll.

  12. I’d probably do the mini-cupcakes too if I didn’t want to bake and not buy any chocolate-chocolate which is the only kind I eat. AND I’d buy all of one kind I really didn’t like so that I didn’t decide to just “try it”. Obviously I over-think these things too. 🙂

    • I almost got some frozen cheesecake bites at the store yesterday. I only sort of like cheesecake and you could actually eat 4 for only 300 calories! It’s my back-up plan if what I bake this morning doesn’t work. I didn’t just go with the cheesecake first because I thought I had too much of the same “soft” texture already:( See – overthinking!

  13. KarenJ

    Just recently were introduced to these gluten-free Italian almond cookies that are to die for (but I digress). When I have people over, I serve what I eat. I believe “my house, my rules.” Everyone knows I eat healthy, but I make sure that everything tastes good and go out of my way to make food people will like. So far no one’s complaining!

  14. I actually have met a cookie I didn’t like: I detest the taste of dark chocolate! All I have to do to not be tempted is make goodies using that substance. I know not everyone has krytonite like I do.

    So far as books are concerned, I recently finished “The Sense of an Ending” by Julian Barnes. It won the 2011 Man Booker Prize. It’s short (less than 200 pages), and it has excellent pacing.

  15. As to cookies, I like all kinds, except peanut butter cookies. Although I have been known to buy those and eat them. I am so like you in wanting to make things to show off my culinary skills rather than buy them!

    As to books, I love books (you know I’m a librarian!). My favorite of all time is Sharon K Penman’s Here Be Dragons (historical fiction, not fantasy, no actual dragons in the book!). Also loved Gabaldon’s Outlander. Just finished the latest Elizabeth George (Believing the Lie) a Detective Lynley mystery. I’ll have a tough time waiting two years until the next book comes out to find out what happened to Hadyia!

    I’ve never belonged to a bookclub (except the YA book club “Starbooks” that I hosted in one of my libraries). Like Deborah, above, I don’t really like to discuss my favorite reads too much. I do belong to an online book forum where I record and write about each of the books I’ve read. Just finishing up #23 for the year. Did I mention I love books and reading??

    • I read a lot less than I used to now that I spend so much time reading blogs! My husband logs books, I think with a facebook app, so that he can remember what he’s read:) I tend to like things that move fast with likable characters.

  16. Karen, I know your background on this & how hard it was – maybe still is for you. I think you ought to make tings that are right for you plus add in some things the gals want BUT you don’t really a have huge addiction to…. or maybe the meet is already over since you write ahead of time! 😉

    I read Cammy’s comment & maybe angel food cake with fresh fruit is a good choice since angel food cake is lighter…

    I say go with the stuff that is not tempting to you but again, that those women will enjoy.

    BTW, you had me at the title – of course! And as much as I LOVE my cookies, there are plenty of flavors I would not waste my calories on – they have to be worth it for me to eat them. 🙂

    • Really, the title was a thought in my head during this process. And then it because the title. And then I decided to write the post. Funny how that evolves. I think you and Cammy have a great idea. I wonder if the berries are any good right now.

  17. Amy

    My Bunco group in insane with food. The have food and munchies at every table and on display. I never played with food on the table. SO HARD.

    Book Club we have food too but at least it’s not on the table right next to me.

    Social eating is a biggie for me.

    • Oh I used to play bunco and it was horrible! Yes, nibbles on each table. Then we broke mid-way for “dessert.” Talk about excess. That said, I did win money fairly often:)

  18. I love cookies. Cookies and ice cream seem. Yum….

    I always prefer to have control over the food choices. I’m now trying to serve fewer options and lighter/healthier options. Some people may view it as “diet” food, but I don’t want to perpetuate the idea social outings need lots of unhealthy foods to be great!

    • Good for you! I actually know someone, several years older than me, so having been in a book club for much longer, that has a group who all agreed to change to healthy eating at meetings.

  19. My book club just read Colum McCann’s “Let The Great World Spin,” we all loved it! As for something sweet … good luck : Maybe a fruit tray with a sweet dip, or chocolate fondue? That way, people could choose to have chocolate or not!

  20. I love books. I love cookies…Me. Cookie. Monster. I am similar to you in that I like to do it up right when I have people over.

    I was in a book club for several years – eventually we disbanded because we had a hard time finding dates to meet where everyone could attend. We used to do foods themed by what we read (when possible). When we read Kite Runner, we did middle eastern food – with an Elizabeth Berg selection, comfort food, etc. It was ALL about the food, but we had a ball. I miss it.

    I’m confident in your ability to take care of yourself while providing ample sustenance for your fellow bookies!

    • Thank goodness we never tried theme food. I’ve read about that and it would be wayyyy beyond my limited skills. We only meet about every 6 weeks during the school year. Then in the summer we don’t meet but go out to dinner once. And in holiday season we have a party instead of a book meeting. That used to be families but is now just couples.

  21. You know I LOVE cookkieeees!!! Haven’t had any since Christmas. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to add them back into my life “in moderation”.

    I’ve never belonged to a book club but it seems like something that I would love!

    • Some bloggers share their amazing success with cookie moderation. Jody, for one, has one cookie a week and really enjoys every bit. I’m not sure I’m a great one with moderation myself.

  22. I’d say I’d buy a dessert I don’t care for- but then I’d be lying as I love dessert :p

    I always over buy food lol. Last time I went over to a friend’s house and brought a huge thing of grapes and it all got eaten while the hostess’s food remained mostly untouched… Though I suspect it was because it wasn’t GOOD… I tried one piece of something and quickly put it down… lol!

    I love my book club- I have a blast every time 🙂

  23. Yes, there are many cookies I do not like. For example: macaroons and any cookie with macadamia nuts. I am also more of a cookie snob since I bake so much. I do not like nor do I eat any cookies not made with good ingredients (like butter and deep dark chocolate). That make sit easy for me to pass by most anything that comes out of a package.

    My recent favorite book is the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Gripping and compelling true story.

    • Oh I wanted to do that one for my group but got vetoed! I have it upstairs from my mom and will eventually get around to it. I’m so lucky she passes on her books to me:)

  24. Sounds like a fun bookclub! One of my recent favorite, totally for fun reads was “The Cinderella Pact.” I, too, analyze every detail like you do. Should I make this or that? I’m lucky that I absolutely hate peanut butter so peanut butter cookies or peanut butter pie is always a safe bet for me. (However, you don’t even want to know how many times I could have/should have made peanut butter cookies and opted for chocolate chip instead, and those are lucky if they actually make it the whole time until the guests arrive.)

  25. I didn’t really care for that book, either. I mean, it was all right, but definitely not a page-turner.
    How nice to have a get-together like that. Socializing is something that I need to do more of. It seems like the less I do, the less I want to do. Meetings (even if they’re more social than meeting-ish would still hold me accountable). I hope your next book is a great one. I’m back to listening to David Sedaris, which is something that I tend to revert back to when I’m having a dry spell. Thanks for the book recommendations!

  26. I used to go through the same issues when I was in a bookclub. Most of the members bought a dessert, but I always prided myself on making it mayself and then put myself in danger by having it around. I pushed as much of it as I could on the members as they were leaving. And O tried to make things that were not special favorites of mine.

  27. I am not a huge cookie fan and I don’t enjoy baking them as it takes so much time! But I do love desserts – all kinds!

    Everyone who knows me well, knows that I “try” to eat healthy and they expect that when they eat at my house they will get the healthy version of everything but they also know it will be tasty!

    I know it’s too late for this book club but keep this in mind for the next time you have to host.

    One of the easiest simple desserts is to serve fresh strawberries with a dish of “light” sourcream and a dish of brown sugar,you simply put a little sourcream and a little brown sugar on your plate, dip the strawberry in the sourcream and then the brown sugar. I have served this many times and taken it to pot lucks and it always get rave reviews!

    Another option is dip strawberries in some melted dark, white or milk chocolate and they look as good as they taste.
    http://nutmegnotebook.com/2011/02/chocolate-dipped-strawberries/

    I have also served a variety of chocolate squares with nuts and dried fruits.

    A fruit salad bar set up much like an ice cream sundae bar is also fun.

    Make a large bowl of fresh fruit salad using your favorite fresh apples,grapes,pineapple,berries,kiwi, citrus fruits and toss with a few tablespoons of orange juice, then set up little dishes of toppings, honey or vanilla sweetened Greek yogurt, chopped nuts, dried cranberries, toasted shredded coconut,toasted wheat germ, cacoa nibs or (chocolate chips)and let everyone make their own fruit sundae! People love this!

    When our dinner group is trying to eat healthier we often have mixed fresh berries over a fruit sorbet – it is low calorie – dairy free and delightful.http://nutmegnotebook.com/2011/09/sorbet-berries-2/

    One of my very favorite fruit desserts is the raw berry crisp the recipe is on my blog. We have this for our dinner group a lot.
    http://nutmegnotebook.com/2010/09/raw-berry-crisp/

  28. I’m not a fan of dark chocolate, so I’d get those cookies. Oh and these totally insane ones that are soft and then covered in a full 1/4 inch of frosting. they’re at the market bakery and my husband loves them. I find them repulsive.
    I didn’t realize your book club was mom friends you’ve known so long. I love that.
    I think you’re wise not to bake. And whatever you get, jsut make sure to send it home with someone.
    And enjoy your night.

  29. I’ve read some so-so books lately. I don’t waste much time with them. If they don’t interest me in a chapter or two – they’re gone. And I had come across 3 or 4 of those. Then I found Rules of Civility. Fabulous! And no – I’ve never met a cookie I didn’t like – except some chocolate chip cookies my daughter made years ago with the wrong amount of salt – like way, way too much. have fun with the book club girls!

  30. I read all the time, some light and fluffy or even clean romance (Lisa Wingate), some with a bit more depth (love the continuity of the police procedurals by Archer Mayor; then again, I lived in VT so I know the area he uses). I love some hysterical older ones like the Mrs. Polifax series by Dorothy Gilman (a retiree wanted to do something besides garden club so went to join a government spy group and accidently gets recruited, then used again & again). The Cat Who… series by Lilian Jackson Braun. The Bubbles series by Sarah Strohmeyer (a Barbie doll look-alike who wants to be taken seriously as a newspaper reporter, so funny). Stop me now! I could go on.

  31. Lina

    social eating is… difficult.

    I’d get some pre-made cookie dough and pop those in the oven. It’s a great mix between fully made from scratch and store bought 😉

    While those are baking, I’d make a huge healthy smoothie (with greens in them, if that’s your thing). Drink it just before the book club gals arrive. You will be so full that you won’t need to reach for the cookies.

    Keep a glass of water close to you for the entire book club.

    Good luck!

  32. I have never been in a book club where “we read books.” Hah! Mostly…we sit around and talk about the books we want to read….or the book “so and so” has read…and will she “pass it on to me” next time she sees me. 🙂

    And I agree… “I never met a cookie I didn’t like.” Just tonight….I baked myself 3 quick chocolate chip cookies from the “packaged cookie dough container” loitering around in my fridge.

    Bliss…
    Happy blogging!

    • That’s still a lot of book talk! We used to have dough like that in the freezer that my husband bought from a neighbor kid’s fund raiser. I’d get into it with a knife and chip off pieces of the dough and eat it frozen:(

  33. Ooh, I’ll have to remember those books, but right now I’m diving in to The Hunger Games.

  34. Ah Jeez Karen… I sense a theme in your books.

    I always make macaron or angelfood cake when I do not want to eat something. Everyone loves the little macaron. Me? Meh.

    My MIL makes date cake. Could not make me eat those. Or Sandies. They taste like sawdust to me.

    I let you know this so you can serve them when I come over. : )

    Are these the same women who examine and discuss the contents of your fridge?

    • As in coconut? Yum. Someone commented about angelfood cake and I may go with that next time; I like it but it is pretty low cal and low fat and can be topped with lots of stuff. The bars I made had dates in them with lots of walnuts! You have a great memory! When we had our annual holiday party, it was at my house and they did indeed discuss my fridge contents. But only because they were admiring the french doors so opened them to see inside.

  35. Sure cakes and pies are fine, but cookies have always been my favorite sweet treat. Not trying to make you hungry, but my two favorites of the moment are bar cookies from Whole Foods (the German chocolate brownie and carmelita bar). But I only eat them rarely, maybe once or twice a month depending on PMS and other factors, and never keep them in the house. Whenever I go to a party at someone else’s home, I usually find myself bringing something healthy since most of their options are going to be stuff that triggers my overeating. As for books, I’ve been reading some great ones since my Kindle makes it easier to download on the spot. Recent favorites include Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto and book two of Lauren Oliver’s Delerium series, which is like Hunger Games. Have a great weekend!

    • You can appreciate this… at Canyon Ranch one of my highlights is the “cookie of the day.” I almost always get them “to go” from lunch and snack on the mid-afternoon. My least favorite are snickerdoodles with are a favorite of some of my travel companions.

  36. Wow…your book club sounds very much like mine 🙂 We’ve read all kinds of books (the way we work it is, whoever hosts chooses the book). I am a fan of most cookies, except gingerbread or molasses types. I find most store bought cookies (especially the ones they sell in the bakery section) to be pretty awful. That said, I love Pecan Sandies and other store bought shortbread-type cookies!!

    How about serving a fancy fruit/cheese/nut plate with some good dark chocolate??

  37. LOVE Chapter One above, and can totally identify! “Social eating is my dieting nemesis” – that sentence is pure genius.

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