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Day 14 - Cookies

Level 9

I was taught to bake, not cook. As a child, my mother and grandmother showed me how to measure flour, crack eggs, and transform simple ingredients into one magical, delicious, comforting whole. I made cookies, muffins, biscuits, and white cakes with pink frosting. If I relied on memory to tell the story, it would sound like I spent my entire childhood baking, reading, and riding bikes. That’s it. Cookies, books, and bikes.

By the time cookies took on a whole new and different meaning, I had yet to surf the web. The internet was just emerging when I was studying English and philosophy in college. Back then, I was delving into difficult texts because it was fun, and obsessively listening to music made by people who loved language as much as I did. If tech was a thing back then, I wasn’t aware. Blooming into a full-bore word nerd took great focus.

I don’t remember the first time I saw the word “cookie” used as a name for a small data file, but I do remember thinking it was a travesty. Why cookie? Why couldn’t the geeks in charge of such things name their little computer whatsit after something less transcendent? Less soulful. It was an affront to my love of cookies AND words! More than that, it signaled the decline of the English language. Cookie! How dare they!

There are several origin stories to explain how the cookie (not the buttery kind) got its name.

Some say it came from the fairy tale where Hansel and Gretel leave a trail of cookie crumbs behind them to find their way out of a dark forest. Another is the Cookie Monster Easter Egg theory that you can probably figure out on your own. Suffice to say the word “cookie” plays a major role in the story. The third explanation is known as The Magic Ticket cookie, so called after programmers named a token, or short piece of data, a magic cookie, which they passed between programs. You could only access the contents of the cookie file after the program passed the file back to the sender at a later time. The file was used like a ticket to identify a particular event or transaction. Finally, there’s the Chinese Fortune Cookie answer, which comes from UNIX systems’ Fortune Program. When starting up, the system would present a joke, or a quote, to the user who was logging in. The information it received was stored in what administrators called a cookie file.

I get it, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

The English language continues its decline, thanks to shorthand naming conventions, texting, screens replacing books, rampant capitalism, etc. Being a word nerd in the 21st century isn’t easy, but I’ve found ways to get by. Working as a professional writer and editor for almost 20 years helps. Baking with my children is another soothing balm. Teaching them to read and follow recipes, and love the process as much as the result will, hopefully, help them in countless ways down the road. Speaking of which: I wonder what they’ll think about internet cookies when that day comes.

Are you a word nerd? Which cookie origin story do you buy? Do you have nostalgic feelings about cookies? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

67 Comments
MVP
MVP

I'm amused at how Google code name their Android platforms after food. I'm hoping P is Pancake.

Also, Tim Tams are the best "cookies"!

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Source: Android version history - Wikipedia

MVP
MVP

I like the evolution of language and all the nuances it presents me with on a daily basis. Acronyms become words and we then adopt them. Where do you think words came from? If you find you are a grammar / spelling obsessive, remember someone invented these words and letters and its all made up. Using words, language correctly is subjective and is constantly changing.

My favourite cookie is a soft warm double chocolate chip cookie with a glass of chilled milk.

I don't have particularly fond feelings about cookies and their origin to me is not a mystery since I learned about web servers and went to a baking class.

Level 14

They're not cookies, they're biscuits.  

Level 10

As someone who foolishly bought a house with no oven and so has to live with a halogen oven, cookies are all I can bake... well, all I can bake and eat afterwards!

Nod to your comment on the corruption of the English language, in a time where people slur and slop their words around until they're almost unrecognisable, while some of the more beautiful and lesser-used words fall out of use entirely, it's easy to feel that way. I know I regularly do, or have done in the past. But then, much in the same way that we have both a birth rate and a death rate, it's merely representative of entropy; like every conceptual form of growth there is inevitably some decay, some removal, some breaking down in order to move forward. Yes, we're losing some of those words; however, we gain more every day... even if they're stupid words.

MVP
MVP

those halogen ovens are so versatile.

Level 12

Well with either definition of cookie I do prefer the ones that are warm out of the oven than the data cookies.

Level 10

They are, or rather than generalising, this one in particular is pretty good as long as all you wanted was to burn stuff lightly on top while still having a crunchy al dente not-quite-raw element on the underside. My experience of baking with it is to make a  maximum of 4 cookies at any one time, and everything takes twice as long as it says it should do.

Level 10

It does make a very nice warm light that comes on for a bit and goes off shortly after, so in that sense I guess it is. Even lights up half of my garden in the dark

MVP
MVP

I didn't want to get into another argument about how their biscuits are scones!

Level 9

All this talk of cookies has my mouth watering, my wife made chocolate cookies on the weekend, they were so good still warm with melted chocolate oozing out.

Level 20

best-cookies-in-auckland.jpg

Tell me these don't look pretty good!  Someone even mentioned bacon chocolate chunk cookies to me... those sound interesting too!

Level 9

Cookies are to be eaten not used to track our patterns.  I do like the origin story of leaving a trail of crumbs.  It makes sense.  Everytime someone mentions cookies in relation to computers my mouth waters.

MVP
MVP

Recently I met someone - after a bad divorce and a few years of singleness.

I've seen some silly fortune cookies, some that make no sense at all and some that are generically true. However a few days ago I was sitting across from my lady at a Chinese Buffer (not a very good one as it turns out) when I opened my fortune cookie I found this:

20171211_074117[1].jpg

Never a truer or more accurate fortune cookie existed.

MVP
MVP

Biscuits are Biscuits (cookies)

Scones are Scones (biscuits)

Cookies are specific types of biscuit (still cookies)

Speaking of being a word nerd, have you watched Weird Al's Word Crimes?

I also like the every changing meaning of words.  Just as cookies means one thing to my children and another to me, I had a funny situation with the word "Rose".

Someone posted on social media that they were looking for a Rose Expert.  However, rather than thinking of people I knew who were horticulturist but rather who I knew who were Doctor Who experts being that Rose is my second favorite Doctor Who Companion.

As a technologist, words like cookie or sprint take on new meanings as does IT.  For the life of me, every time I saw someone post about the movie IT (it), my mind always read it I.T.

Level 9

Just a thought that language can convey more that just the meaning of the text...the great biscuit/cookie controversy will usually convey something about the writer's nationality. "Hooking up" can have vastly different meanings between generations. Coke/soda/pop can expose regional differences. I was recently listening to a story telling podcast, and the narrator had a North American accent but used the word "torch" for "flashlight" and I immediately thought that it was wrong. I fall on the side of liking language as a living thing that can change and adapt to the times and environment.

Level 12

Hello IT guy,

Help me solve this cosmic loop on my PC.

The loop is not just on your PC but on the network which feeds your PC..

:

:

Hurray, no more network loops.

Level 10

Don't you just love the computer world with that wonderful ability of taking several words and using it to mean something totally different.

Methinks they are meant to confuse people and make IT professionals look geeky...

cookies, bootstrap, apple, feed, pin, bug, finger, oracle, samba, worm, cloud, handle, tablet, boot, .................

Level 13

Image result for cookies computer world photo

Level 10

Calvin: I want 8 cookies to go please. Mom: This is not a drive-thru! Put that back in the garage!

MVP
MVP

I'm an Oreo person myself.  Sit me down with some Oreos and milk, and I'm good to go until the package is empty.  I did hear on the radio this morning suggesting dunking in peanut butter or cool whip.  Maybe I'll try one of those next.

With relation to the theories, I thought Hansel and Gretel left breadcrumbs, not cookies.

One must look at cookies (not the yummy kind) from their own point of view.  As a "normal" internet user, cookies are scary and dangerous.  From the perspective of the organization issuing the cookie, they are useful in tracking internet usage and trends.  When used for the right reason, cookies are useful (and delicious).

Level 12

Chocolate chip with cream cheese in the recipe!!!!

I like Chocolate chip, oatmeal and no bake cookies.   Internet cookies i do not like.   I usually set all browsers to remove cookies on exit.   I never save them.   This causes issues with certain sites but over all I'd rather not have the trail leading anyone back to where I have been.  And as bad as that sounds, its not in a bad way, more so for security and company privacy.  I log all traffic, mine included in the web filter and it is audited regularly.  

Level 9

Every year, I see a plethora of Christmas Cookie recipe lists.  While many look delicious, they are also very "seasonal".  Ever since I was a little boy, my mother has made her staple of Christmas cookies every year.  Some have come and some have gone, but the one that I love is the cookie that can be enjoyed all year-round.  It's the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie with chopped walnuts.  The little hint of saltiness, the crunch from the nuts, and the sweetness of the chocolate make for a great tasting cookie!  Now my mouth is watering and I have no cookies to eat

Level 11

Image result for cookie monster

Man do I love me some good cookies

Level 21

When you talk about the decline of the English language things like OMG, WTF, ROFL and the fact that people don't just use these abbreviations in their texting but they actually use them when speaking.  I remember when my daughter first came home from school and used one of these, my head about exploded.

Level 11

The aroma of the cookies distracted me so much that I forgot to clear the cookies in my browser.

Level 9

Chocolate chip cookies. Nuff said.

Level 17

There is no joking around in my house when it comes to cookies. We consider this a very serious, delicious and tasty matter of batter.

Level 17

20171031_007-1.jpgThis is a story about cookies as a data retention element. But it's also a story about focus, determination, and agency. It's also (at least nominally) about baking. And cookies.

From the age of 5, my daughter Isabelle expressed an interest in baking, and has stated she was going to be a baker when she grew up. Not one for idle daydreams, she immediately began pursuing her interest. Like many children, she eagerly helped when we were making cookies and the like. But unlike many children, she manufactured events to ensure that baking occurred regularly: She would announce (about once a month) that it was her baby doll's birthday, which required us to make cookies.

She was small and impatient, and so the cookies were the simple sugar variety that could be artistically by little hands and baked quickly.

As she grew, so did both her enthusiasm and her sophistication. At 10 she began to insist on homemade challah for the weekly Shabbat meals. Around the same time, simple sugar cookies were no longer sufficient. Now, each holiday required specific baked goods - at 11 she began frying donuts for Chanukah; at 12 she attempted her first cheesecake for Shavuot; at 13, she added flour-less tortes to our Passover menu.

It wasn't just her culinary repertoire that was growing. Her ambition and drive were as well, as if each success in the kitchen fed her need to excel elsewhere. At 13 I bought her a t-shirt that read "I've given it careful thought, and decided that I need to release myself to my own recognizance.". This was apropos because that was the year she insisted she could learn better on her own, that she was hampered by the slow pace of school. At 13 she home-schooled herself (maybe with a little input from my wife and I). At 14 she found an online program that would allow her to move through classes as fast as she was able.

She had found a way to be home all day, which meant more opportunities to bake - but now I often found her with a schoolbook propped open next to the recipe, as likely to be festooned with a smear of chocolate as a highlighter. The cookies were perhaps simpler, but had more meaning: They marked completion of courses; or as rewards to keep her spirits up as she learned an especially challenging topic. As she turned 15 the recipes were as likely as not to be of her own devising.

By 16 she had completed all but 2 of her high school requirements, and so began attending a local college to get a jump start on the next stage of education. She was also able to get a job outside the house, so (of course) she approached a local baker. She humble about it. She didn't have any illusions that her work in our kitchen was in any way analogous to a commercial operation. She started sweeping floors and cleaning pans. But the owner of the bakery was happy to show her how to braid the challah, how to run the giant mixer, how to bloom yeast and proof dough. He found in Isabelle an eager student and a dedicated employee.

This proved fortuitous, because shortly afterward the owner was diagnosed a football-sized malignant tumor. Removal would be difficult and the recovery time would be significant. The bakery was more or less a one-man operation with a few part-timers, so he was facing a shutdown if he was out for that much time. Isabelle realized she was in a unique position to help. She spent the next 3 weeks learning all of the recipes. And then, on the day the owner went into surgery, Isabelle took over coming in at 4am to light the ovens and start the recipes for the day. At 8am she would hand off to the morning staff and head to her college classes. At noon she'd return to the bakery to check inventory and plan for the next day. At 2 she'd come home to take her one high school class. And then she'd collapse and start over again the next morning.

As one could imagine, during this time our home was cookie-less. But what our family might have felt we lacked in pastry was more than made up for in pride.

Six months later the owner returned to work full time and Isabelle, out of crisis mode, was able to pay closer attention to the operation of the business. She realized several things: First, that she had truly become a competent baker - not just in the home cook sense, but as a commercial provider as well. Second, that once you learned the fundamentals of baking, the success of a business had little to do with your bread and everything to do with your business plan.

As Isabelle turned 17 her college course selections took on a distinctly business-based orientation. At the same time, counter-intuitively, she began to back away from the local bakery where she worked, so she could focus on her studies. Our kitchen was once again filled with the aroma of cookies, breads, and cakes, but far more of the items were experimental in nature.

High school ended without much pomp (it was online, after all, so no walking down the aisle) and transitioned without fanfare into an online college curriculum. My baby was now a business major.

Fast forward to September. Business degree in hand, a catalog of custom recipes under her arm, Isabelle officially launched "Love Plus Flour" bakery. While she is definitely in startup mode at the moment, it is clear (to me, at least) that this is temporary and that her chosen avocation - like the cookies she bakes - can only rise (sorry, I couldn't resist).

If you've made it this far, you may be wondering what this all has to do with THWACK, the life of an IT professional, and/or SolarWinds. If you look closely, you will see in my daughter's journey several hallmarks of IT life. Leveraging our curiosity, skills, and passion into a viable career; Dedicating time outside of work to further our skills; Committing to lifelong learning; Realizing that business skills are necessary even when they don't seem core to our day to day activities.

And the ability to use cookie history to look back at where we've been, and how far we've come.

MVP
MVP

Cookie - small amount of data or sweet food or a slang or something that defines the attributes of one's character ? Now that you have reminded me of a cookie (sweet food obv) , ill go get a bite ta... see you soon...

Level 9

I like the Hansel and Gretel leaving a trail of cookie crumbs behind them to find their way out of a dark forest theory best, although I'm not sure which is actually true.  Maybe a combination of theories played into the origin of the cookie.  One of my favorite t.v. shows is, The Great British Baking Show | Shows | PBS Food , talk about biscuits!  I really want a cookie now......

I don't buy the Hansel & Gretl theory because they used bread crumbs, not cookie. All the others sound plausible.

My theory is... that with most of HTML development cookies was done with the best of intentions. It was only after it was too late, when it was realized that HTML dad numerous security flaws, did we learn the poison that laid inside said cookies.

I agree that the English language is in decline, whether it is in prose or spoken word. Proper English is being replaced with abbreviation, slang, and people speaking loudly and quickly. Personally I find inspiration in the eloquence of command of the English language.

Lastly, in my middle age I find real cookies to be more dangerous than internet cookies. They are too tempting. Super yummy! They go right to my waist. And I can't stop at just one. I have much more self control with the latter.

Level 12

You can bake your cookies.

You can eat your cookies.

You can loose your cookies.

You can clear your cookies.

The circle of cookies.

Level 17

I never lose cookies, clearing them though takes a long walk or jog.

Level 14

Cookies and our preferences about them say a lot about us as people.

Some like the old favorites... (sugar, chocolate chip)

Some prefer fancy and yet others prefer plain .... This is evidenced by the simple volume of cookie recipies.

You could bake a different cookie every day for a REALLY long time.

Me,,, I'll take the Girl Scout Shortbread cookies - and a large cold glass of milk. (my waistline might not like it but I do!)

As for internet cookies... delete regularly.    I'm on a diet! 

Level 10

The good ole days, when all you needed at the end of it to relax were some cookies and milk.  Wait, why wait, going to grab me some right now!

Image result for delete cookies meme

Web Browser Cookies are the bane of what I call "reasonable expectations of privacy."  I prefer to never share them, and I'd prefer it no browser even supported them.

I've no need to see the same advertisements from page to page, which happens due to browsers' cookies.

I've no desire to share my past browsing or searching history with any web site, which happens because of browser cookies.

Even as I don't want a Librarian to surround me with books similar to the last one I looked up in a physical card catalog, so, too, do I not appreciate  my past browsing & searching to be used to surround me with targeted advertisements.

Perhaps worse, at this time of year, while shopping online for a loved one, if they come by me while I'm using the home PC or laptop, they easily see the advertisements covering my browser window, based on the very thing I just bought for them.  So much for the surprise of opening something unexpected at Christmas.  OR at birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, etc.

Level 9

adatole, what a beautiful tribute to your daughter, and to her parents for encouraging her exploration and providing the space for her to grow. Your story brought to mind an essay from another parent learning to embrace this approach.

How An Episode Of ‘Chopped Junior’ Changed The Way I Parent

MVP
MVP

Todays word post got me thinking about how many more IT/tech words have been taken from the food world (also made me go to lunch a bit earlier too!)

Breadcrumbs should be around fish or meat and not to indicate a path menu

Server - should be someone who kindly brings your food in a restaurant/cafe

Apple - should be sweet and crunchy and not a maker of over commoditised phones

Chip - Fried potatoes that go so well with burgers and fish

Java - any good IT person NEEDS coffee! (am I pushing it with this one?)

Level 9

Level 7

We do love to eat our cookies at my house. I prefer the lemon cookies dipped in milk.  I like the home made peanut butter cookies as well.

My son is a different story. He is 7 years old and is on the spectrum. We used to buy fresh made chocolate chip cookies from the store. He became an evil little demon monster that would scare Lucifer out of hell if he could not have his chocolate chip cookies. We no longer keep them in the house.

So we had Love Plus Flour's Sesame Baklava last night - I thought it was great. My wife enjoyed it but is used to the kind she makes with nuts in it. So I get to have the whole tray to myself, so the wife says. As for the two loafs of Challah bread, my wife is almost finished off one of them. I hope I get home in time to have at least a piece of the other! Wonderful story @adatole thanks for sharing and I wish Isabelle all the success in the world. I wish we had a bakery in this little town.

20171213_201055.jpg20171213_172157.jpg

Level 17

man i need those... i see a trip to the bakery in my near future

Level 12

I suck at cooking, but I love cookies! The kind you eat, not the kind that every web page uses to track me those are bad cookies.

Level 14

Leon

The story you tell of your daughter hits close to home. You should be most proud!

My eldest daughter and her husband are seriously into barbeque competitions.... Their sons (my grandson's 8 and 9) have learned to by watch mom and dad. So much so that they now have their own smoker and they made meatloaf for a first dish; in addition they participate in the kids portion of the competitions that their parents attend. When the come to my house they ask my wife to teach them how to bake ("mom's not really good at that" - their quote not mine!)

It's important for kids to feel comfortable and try things like cooking, it teaches the importance of math, reading and following directions and improvising when things don't go well.

ps. am waiting for this next generation to come up with their own bacon recipies... ( will share them sqlrockstar​ and rschroeder​ )

Level 14

Definitely a word nerd.  Saddened by the rapidly changing lexicon of today.  Don't get me started on cursive!  Cookies have always been and always will mean the same thing to me.  Warm, fresh out of the oven goodness that warms the heart.

Cookies-WOTD.jpg

Level 15

you’re both wrong fyi.