Dearest friends and fans,
Please welcome back my weblog with this special feature by rising star and son of esteemed late journalist (and someone I was proud to call a friend), Morty Goldstein. –CC
(Editor’s Note – On Sunday, Nov. 25th, 2012, Carolina (aka “Carolynn”) Carreño brought a batch of cookies to a home in Los Angeles where a small group of people were gathering to watch the newest episode of the Showtime program “Homeland”. The following is a authorized reprint of the review of those cookies by Morton Goldstein, Jr. as it appeared in the Times.)
COOKIES FOR HOMELAND
By Morton Goldstein, Jr.
Times Staff Intern
“Get these damn cookies out of my house! If you don’t take them, I’m going to eat them all.” – Michelle Rivera , owner of Chateau Marmutt, upon seeing a box of Carolina Carreño’s Chocolate Chip (“chunk”) cookies in her dining room after watching a recent episode of “Homeland” with five friends.
“I love Carolina’s cookies. That’s the only reason I invite her over to watch Homeland. Homeland without Carolina’s cookies just wouldn’t be the same.” —Suzanne Tracht, chef/owner of Los Angeles’ acclaimed Jar restaurant.
“People think I come Suzanne’s to watch “Homeland.” No way! That show is stupid. Besides, I have no idea what Carrie sees in Brody. The reason I come over is to have Carolina’s cookies. Her cookies and a good Brunello. Now that’s a match!” —Nancy Silverton, acclaimed baker, red wine lover, and chocolate chip cookie aficionado
Carolynn Carreño, have you eaten your own new batch of chocolate chip cookies in Los Angeles, California? Have you pulled open a box of them at either Nancy Silverton’s or Suzanne Tracht’s home kitchen and picked out an actual cookie? Did you eat the cookie? Did it live up to your expectations?
Did panic grip your soul as you stared into the box and had to choose between that mind-boggling, vast selection of cookie option? Nuts? Or No Nuts? Did you think “Wow, this is going to take some time to decide? Nuts? Or No Nuts? Nuts? Or No Nuts? Nuts? Or No Nuts?”
When you stated on Facebook on Monday Nov.26, 2012 that “I think I may have perfected the chocolate chunk cookie yesterday,” did you think that your 600 plus Facebook “friends” would seriously believe that the chocolate chunk cookie had, at long last, actually been perfected? Did you envision people in their backyards calling out to neighbors, “She did it! Carolynnn finally perfected the cookie of our dreams! The long wait is finally over!” Didn’t you think you had to back it up? Or did you think that, like Mitt Romney, you could make a bold statement without any back up? Without a taste test? Without some independent verification? What’s next, Miss Carreñño? Are you post that you are going to fix the economy, too? Are you going to state on Facebook that fighting has ceased in Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and East St. Louis, Ill.? And do you think we will all just believe you on that, too?
When you called the cookies “chocolate chunk” did you ever stop to realize that chunks of chocolate, when subjected to a heated oven, actually melt into small masses more resembling globs than “chunks”? Did you, Miss Careñõ, stop and think that a food product, be it a cookie or a stalk of Chino Farms celery, that was called a “chunk” would, when bite into, require a little extra teeth torque than a “non-chunk” related food?
When you took the extraordinary time and effort to cleverly call your cookies “Nuts” or “No Nuts,” did it ever cross your mind to identify the particular nuts involved? Or were you so busy “perfecting” the cookie that you felt that was unnecessary? Beneath you? Did you know that many people, while liking some nuts, can’t stand others? Or did you lump all the questionable nut people into one “let them eat nuts? group” Or was it that you wanted potential cookie eaters to ask you “What kind of nuts?” so you could blather on more about your “perfected” cookies.
Did you think that the cookie masters of the past would be offended by you, a half-Mexican, perfecting an all-American treat that has been around since there were chips? Did the thought of upsetting Gaston Lenotre, Betty Crocker, Jacques Torres, Sara Lee, Nancy Silverton or even my old neighbors Julia Millholland and Marie Fredrickson, even cross your mind? Or does “perfection” come at the cost of human decency?
And when you have a second Miss Carrreñño, what happened to the idea of milk or even coffee that cookies scream out for? Did you assume that whoever you deemed worthy of your treats would have a beverage on hand to accompany them? Or did you think your cookies so good that tap water, would be the ideal pairing?
And when you stated on Facebook about your perfection, did it cross your mind that these cookies were, at that very moment, being heralded as better than what is considered (by my dysfunctional family) to be the Alexander the Great of cookies, those chocolate chip cookies that were devoured one summer day in Panicale, Umbria? Did you realized that those particular cookies had reached such a storied level of endearment that saying something was better than those cookies was akin to questioning the Left Arm of Sandy Koufax?
Wait! Hold on! You made those cookies, too, didn’t you? Those cookies in Italy that Ms. Silverton may or may not have passed off as her own? Is it possible you are on to something? Did you know that this very morning, three days after you baked the latest batch, I ate two? And that they were, they were… well, they were delicious? Though those “perfected” cookies might not get to enjoy the status of the now legendary cookies enjoyed in far away Umbria, is it possible they are, in fact, the best cookies to be had in our own Homeland?