What baking cookies taught me about impulse control

stacked cookies

Who knew that the simple act of making chocolate cookies would teach me a lesson? If it was the eating of cookies though…

The baking impulse

Now I wasn’t planning on baking cookies at all. Quite the opposite, I was re-reading one of my favourite series. A series in which Mercy (the main character) happens to bake regularly. By the third book I started to crave some cookies or brownies. Unfortunately, a visit to the supermarket wasn’t planned for a couple more days.

So I ate an apple and continued reading. By the sixth book my sweet tooth was aching. I wanted those chocolate cookies! The supermarket trip wouldn’t be for another two days, which is when I got the bright idea to bake them myself. Surly there would be a recipe online that matched the contents of my kitchen cupboards.

Baking with a dash of reality

By then, I had read a lot about the act of baking, about how easy and relaxing it is and of course the delicious end results. Which is why I was feeling confident that I, without too much effort, would be holding a plate of cookies shortly.

I had about an hour after which I had to go. As the recipe only required thirty-five minutes, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. I quickly read the recipe and got my mixing bowl out. One by one I took the ingredients and measured them out into the bowl. The rest I put on the counter-top. Before long my small workspace was filled with all the packages and bags.

Eventually it was time to shape the cookies and put them onto the baking tray. The only place left for the baking tray, was balancing on the edge between the sink and mid-air.  As long as I made sure that the whole thing would be balanced, that shouldn’t be a problem. Focussed on the end result, the cookies, I started to fill the baking tray.

A quick glance at the clock told me I had to hurry up if I wanted to catch the bus. That moment of realization, was (naturally) the moment in which gravity got the upper hand. Slowly the almost-filled baking tray began to tilt, I quickly put the mixing bowl down but was too late. The baking tray had already fallen on the ground. A silver lining was that the side with the cookies was on top, but the batter was everywhere. On the counter-top, the outside of the kitchen cupboards and the floor.

 Flashback to the cooking lessons

With disbelief I started at the damage. Of course, I also suddenly remembered all the wisdom I learned from watching ‘Masterchef’ (the Australian edition, which I can watch for days or some reason), supplemented with a few lessons from rehabilitation. Namely:

  1. Lay out all your ingredients and utensils beforehand and put them, if possible, in the order of use;
  2. Make sure you have the recipe in a convenient place, so you can easily see if you’re still on the right track;
  3. Keep your workspace as clean and empty as possible. When you no longer need something put it away or clean it up.

If I’d followed these steps, chances are that my cookies would already be baking in the oven. Luckily I did remember the lesson of dealing with frustration. 🙂

After a short break in the bedroom to regain my sense of calm, it was time to get this done. Thankfully I could salvage most of the batter and could finally put the baking tray in the oven.

This all took about forty-five minutes and I quickly wanted to clean everything up. It’s something with the sense of ‘quickly’, as I hadn’t even started when I dropped the box with coca powder. The not-properly-closed-box to be exact. Once again my counter-top was covered in something. * Sigh* After withstanding the temptation to scream loudly (in a pillow, you have to think about the neighbours) I had to clean again. The silver lining is that whenever I vacuum now it smells like chocolate. 🙂

By then it was time to catch the bus. By the time I got home again I discovered that I’d taken the cookies out too early. The end result was a plate with half baked cookies, luckily there was a ton of chocolate in them, which made them still fine in my book.

Impulse control

This whole experiences has taught me that I need to ask myself two questions and give myself a rule,  whenever I plan to execute a sudden impulse.

  • Question: Do I have the time and energy to do this, even when something goes wrong?
  • Question: Can I divide this activity into separate steps and complete these steps throughout the day?
  • Rule: Whenever I get a sense of doing something ‘quickly’ it’s time to take a break and do something else in order to avoid mistakes.

In the meantime I’ve been to the supermarket and bought some chocolate cookies, which turned out to be a lot less labour intensive in the end.

Cookies and impulse control

I should really start reading a book in which the main character eats a lot of fruit or other healthy non-cooking/baking snacks. If you know of such a book, let me know!

Do you have a baking adventure in which everything went wrong? Did you take a lesson away from it?

5 Replies to “What baking cookies taught me about impulse control”

  1. If it makes you feel any better: this could have happened to anybody because it is a totally normal and common thing. Not everybody goes about things with astronaut level preparation and precision. You have a good point about planning and preparing, that is always good advice for anybody. And it is still OK for survivors to be spontaneous. I know sometimes it makes us feel pretty bad sometimes when we are spontaneous, and spontaneity is part of a normal life. So I would say that it is a hallmark of a good recovery to do something like this because it is truly getting back to normal.

    And you got a chocolate vacuum out of the whole ordeal which is very neat.

    1. Haha, true and it did make vacuuming slightly more enjoyable 😀

      Being more spontaneous is something I’d really like and I happily learn a lesson or two along the way. (And get future blog topics ;))

      Thank you for your kind words!

  2. So eloquent Evie. Described my behaviour to a ‘T’, I laughed & remembered the frustration as I read along!

    When I got out of hospital I felt guilty because there was nothing wrong with me (!!!) so I cooked a meal I’d done before for my fiancé. Disaster, couldn’t follow the recipe at all. Fiancé came home to me in tears & cooking mess all over the place.

    You’ve also given me a hint; I’ve begun to avoid doing things like cooking new meals as it’s complicated. Lazy bones!

    I tend to cook straightforward meals now, but it’s probably rather lazy. So I’m going to use your info points to attempt something more adventurous.
    One good thing I do is to have a nutribullet shake for lunch to include tons of goodness that I’m not keen on separately – celery, spinach etc.

    And try & keep away from the chocolate! (Not easy in Switzerland 🇨🇭!)

    1. Thanks 🙂
      Wauw, that must have been really overwhelming, cooking just after the hospital, especially if you were told that you’re okay.
      The adventures and challenges we put ourselves trough, as we think (or have been convinced that) we can do so much more… Sometimes it feel like a never-ending lesson that has to be learned. 😀

      My cooking has also simplified, but spreading things out has helped. I hope it works for you as well!
      Smart idea, that nutribullet, that must help with eating enough veggies!

      Trying to keep away from chocolate in Switzerland, must be quite a challenge! I’ll be rooting for you, keep up the good work!

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