Jeremy M Staiman

A tin of love and cookies

Nothing compares to my mom's recipe - given the chance, I even ate my brother's portion. But I bet my sons serving in Gaza will share
Graphic: Staiman Design
Graphic: Staiman Design

I don’t remember if my parents were big coffee drinkers. 

What I do remember is that my mother used many empty tin cans from her Folgers coffee to store cookies. Specifically, chocolate chip cookies. 

More specifically, her Amazingly Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies (henceforth, ADCCC). 

Lays Potato Chips claims, “You can’t eat just one,” but they’ve got nothing on my mother’s ADCCC. There was no greater gift than to receive a Folgers tin of those cookies. They were heaven on earth. 

I had the privilege of spending three years post-high school in yeshiva here in Israel. One of those years overlapped with my younger brother Maish’s gap year in Israel.

At some point during the year, my mother sent a package of love for the two of us — two tins of her ADCCC. It didn’t take long for me to down the contents of my tin.

What happened next was all too predictable. The thin plastic lid could not muffle the voices emanating from inside the can. 

“He won’t notice if you eat just one!’

”Maybe he doesn’t know that Mommy sent them, anyway.”

“Well now that you’ve eaten some of them, you can’t give him a half-empty can, right?” 

Maish never saw his cookies. 

He forgave me long ago, or so he says. But I never forgave myself. Or so I say. I’m not sure, if faced with the same test 42 years later, I would do any better. 

They were that good. And I guess I was — and perhaps still am — that bad. 

* * *

Like many parents, I dream that my kids’ accomplishments will outshine my own. I pray that they become the best versions of themselves, helping others, living their dreams. In many ways, they are already doing so, and I am filled with pride as I watch them grow and figure things out far better than I could have done.

This week saw a giant step in that department, as both of our boys are now serving down south in the war effort, stationed just a short distance from one another. They are now brothers and brothers-in-arms. That my boys have leaped at the opportunity to help defend our people in its time of need brings tears to my eyes. That their wives have picked up the ball of caring for their families on their own, and run with that ball confidently and fearlessly, is beyond words. 

My father was a World War II veteran, and he derived boundless nachat, pride, from seeing his grandchildren wearing the uniform of the IDF. My generation was fortunate not to have been called to war, but this next generation is privileged to serve. To show us what they are really made of. And we, along with our entire country, couldn’t be prouder of every single one of them.

We hope to visit our sons soon near the Gaza border. Maybe we will make them chocolate chip cookies, regardless of whether they rise to the level of my mother’s ADCCC. Coffee tins are a relic of the past, and used Nespresso pods are hardly capable of storing cookies. A sakit, a plastic bag, will have to suffice. 

If we only get to see one of the boys, we will entrust him with a second bag of cookies for the other. I have every confidence that, whichever son gets them, he will surpass his father yet again. Like a devoted soldier, he will faithfully fulfill his mission and hand them over to his brother in arms.

* * *

PS: I have reached out to my siblings, and it seems — rather abashedly — that my mother’s recipe was actually the recipe printed on the back of the Nestle bag for their Toll House cookies! I don’t know if it was the love she baked them with…or if she doctored the recipe at all… or maybe it was just a great recipe.
About the Author
Jeremy Staiman and his wife Chana made Aliya from Baltimore, MD in 2010 to Ramat Beit Shemesh. A graphic designer by trade, Jeremy is a music lover, and produces music on a regular basis -- one album every 40 years. He likes to spend time with his kids and grandkids slightly more often than that.
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