First Cow

First Cow ★★★★½

At the heart of the world, there is food.

2.25 cups flour | 1 teaspoon baking soda | 1 teaspoon salt | 1 cup of butter | .75 cups sugar | .75 cups brown sugar | 1 teaspoon vanilla | 2 eggs | 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

In recent months I've taken to cooking. There are a million reasons as to why; I'm tired of eating out or eating frozen every night, tired of having no control over what goes into what I eat, and tired of spending all my time behind a screen, seeing everything and doing nothing. There's a million reasons to find yourself in the kitchen, but I've never done it with passion before.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat together butter, sugars, and vanilla until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat well after each one. Gradually beat in the flour. Then stir in the chocolate chips.

2 days after I buried my grandfather, my grandmother passed away. Where my grandfather was a wise sentinel, the kind authority that shaped my view of the world, my grandmother was the beacon of warmth. She was always there with a hug and a smile and always willing to hear what I had to say, no matter how trivial my words were.

There was perhaps not greater expression of her love than in the food she made. Salmon patties, mac and cheese, potato salad, chocolate chip cookies; simple meals, bad for the body, but good for the heart. She cooked with love, with consideration for others, to spread warmth the world over.

I still haven't had the chance to lay her to rest. I did have plenty of time to myself though, holed up in my apartment, alone in my sphere of the world. I was lost, lost in my grief, lost in my pain.

Then I made her cookies.

Drop on cookie sheets by rounded tablespoons. Bake 9 to 11 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Move to a wire rack to cool completely.

First Cow isn't a movie about dead grandparents, and one could argue its hardly about food. The magic of movies like this is that they are a canvas of emotion, the simplicity of their deliver allowing you to more intimately connect with the feeling they wish to impart than a more rigorous exploration of plot ever could. First Cow is a movie about settling the west, but it's really a movie about capitalism, but it's really a movie about the friendship between our two leading men (truthfully, this is the focus), but it's really a movie about the inevitability of time, but it's really a movie about cooking.

It's a movie about how food enables mobility, about the power of a simple meal, how beyond race and class and any other signifier of status, we all still have to eat. Cookie and King-Lu might be grifters, but the grift they're running is to give people a rare treat in the squalor of the unsettled world, even if it means breaking a few rules along the way. It enables them to thrive, truly thrive, and to do so in a way that makes the world a kinder place.

That's the world I want to create.

Be sure to eat some while they're warm!

First Cow might suffer from the underpinnings of melancholy, from the inevitability of failure as time eats us away to nothing, but I'm willing to work with that. Time might make retrograde all that is alive in this instant, but the decades I have left are full of countless meals, countless recipes, countless flavors. We all come from the same place and rest in the same earth when our time comes to an end, but we can live long beyond our days in the good we spread among each other.

I will always remember my grandma, if nothing else, by the food she made, the warmth from the kitchen that radiated through every fiber of her being. I will never let those memories fade away. Even if it is through the simple act of following her words, making her meals as she once did, that is enough to start with.

In making her cookies, I cooked with love for the first time in my life. IT might only be a fraction of the love she carried within her, but that's ok.

At the heart of the world, there is food.

In food, there is heart.

When I am a fossil, I only hope someone carries this heart to their world.

Love, Grandma

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