Cookies Can Be Family History, Too

By Audra Elkington

“Oh I just love chocolate chip cookies.”

Just a few short months ago, my oldest child and I took a roadtrip to visit my Grandma several states away. Her health has been failing for awhile now and at the start of this year, things took a quick pivot downhill. I wasn’t sure if I would get another opportunity to be with her again, in this life, so I dropped everything and hit the road.

One thing I really wanted from that trip was to capture stories from Grandma about her life. She grew up in Germany during WWII and I knew that she had a traumatic childhood, but she never would share stories as I was growing up. At this point in time, however, her mind is so far gone that I think reliving those days isn’t as painful. I was able to get her talking one afternoon and I made sure my phone was recording every word.

In the middle of one story, she stopped mid-sentence and exclaimed “Oh I just love chocolate chip cookies.” She then proceeded to tell me that my Grandpa also loved chocolate chip cookies, as did his mom and Grandma’s mom.

And in that simple conversation, I was overwhelmed by the connection to my ancestors. Because, you see, I have spent the past year testing out every chocolate chip cookie recipe I could find. My house has rarely seen a day where there were not fresh cookies sitting on my countertop. My kids have been very happy about their daily snacks. I LOVE chocolate chip cookies. They have always been my favorite treat. And now I know that wasn’t by chance. I come from a long line of people who would choose a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie over any other treat.

I used to think family history was only about pedigree charts, indexing and temple work. And while those things are all important, my vision has expanded. I now understand that family history is anything that helps us feel connected to those that have come before us and those that will come after us. 

As Elijah said,”And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.” (D&C 2:2)

After Grandma and I were done talking that day, I made my way to the grocery store to purchase all the ingredients for my favorite recipe. And as I stood in Grandma’s kitchen, using her bakeware, I knew that I would never look at a chocolate chip cookie the same way. 

Now, several months later, each time I bake chocolate chip cookies I think about that conversation with Grandma. And I use the old green ceramic bowl that came from my husband’s grandma. And my mind replays road trips as a child with my Papa. I’m not sure how, but each time I can feel them all in my kitchen with me. I will never be able to give up cookies, not because they’re so delicious (they are) but because of the bond I feel to those who mean so much to me when I’m mixing the ingredients.

Family History looks like many things. But each of those things are meant to connect us to those we look forward to spending eternity with. Cookies can be family history, too.

(And in case you’re wondering, Grandma loved my cookies!)

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