The Case of the Disappearing Cookies

01.29.10 | Cecil Van Houten | Comments[9]

Sounds like a case for a juvenile Perry Mason...the case of the disappearing cookies.  But it's actually a mystery that has perplexed me for the last two days.  Here's the backstory:  over the weekend Connie started to make some cookies, dried cherry with almond and vanilla frosting, the kind that have to be frozen before they can be sliced and baked.  She'd made a batch of them at Christmas time and I was looking forward to enjoying them again. 

As often happens with busy families, we never had time to bake them.  So Wednesday night I decided to slice, bake and frost them myself.  No big deal.  I enjoy cooking and while I'd never claim to be a great baker, how hard could it be?  Slice the cookies, put them in for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, let them cool, make the frosting and frost them.  Fine.  No problem.  They actually came out very well (well, I had to sample one when they came out of the oven, just for quality control purposes).  I made them kind of small so there were 32 of them...well, 31 now.  Made the frosting.  Drizzled it over them.  Let them cool.  And they looked like something that Giada would have made or something from the cover of Bon Appetit.  I wasn't proud of them but I was pleased that they came out well and, of course, I rewarded myself with another one.  Fine.  30 cookies left.

Connie and her mom had been out visiting family and came back to the house about 8:30.  Her mom was staying over that night so once we settled in the living toom, I brought out a plate of cookies, all of which were happily consumed.  That left 25 on the rack, sitting on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet on the stove.  We talked until 10:45 or so and decided to turn in.  I took our two-year-old black lab/greyhound mix, Cricket, out for her nightly stroll before bedtime.  Connie and my mother-in-law both went upstairs to go to bed.  When I brought Cricket in I remembered I needed to put the cookies away so I went in the kitchen and...they were gone.  All 25 of them.  Just...gone.

I thought maybe Connie or her mom had put them away so I looked in the cupboards, the microwave, the oven, the pantry, every conceivable space where a container of 25 delicious, dried cherry with almond and vanilla frosting cookies could have gone.  Nothing.  Now you've probably been in a situation like this a time or two...something that was just there turns up missing.  Whether it's your car keys, that stack of letters you were going to mail, a bill that had to be paid...things disappear but they usually quickly reappear. "Oh yeah," you think to yourself as you reach into your other coat pocket and find your keys.  "Oh, that's right," you say, as you remember the phone ringing as you were carrying the stack of letters to the table in the entryway, and you set them down on top of the stereo rack.  Not in this case; the cookies were gone like they'd never existed.  The only thing left was some of the droppings of frosting on the parchment paper.

I went upstairs and asked Connie if she'd put them away.  No.  Her mom was already in her room but it didn't make sense that she'd put them away and even if she did, she wouldn't have hidden them.  So my suspicion turned to Cricket, a likely suspect in most cases.  She had motive - she likes sweets - she had opportunity - at least I thought she did.  But then I realized she'd been with us in the living room the entire time from when I brought in the cookies until I took her out.  Besides, if she'd somehow sneaked into the kitchen, surely we would have heard the baking sheet rattling or there would be crumbs on the stove or floor or...I was totally perplexed.

The next morning Connie and I talked about it and were still baffled.  The only possible culprit could be Cricket, yet she exhibited no signs of having ingested 25 cookies; her morning 'business walk' didn't reveal anything that smelled like springtime in our nation's capital, so I just shook my head.  I'm still shaking my head.  Talking with Connie's mom confirmed that she hadn't done anything with them either.  They had simply disappeared.  It's a mystery.

I don't know why this has dominated my thought process for the past couple of days but it has.  And yet it's of little consequence.  Contrast that mystery with this one:  we are loved with an everlasting love by the Creator of the universe; the very God who formed us with his hand, who knew us in the womb before we were born - He loves us.  Now that's a mystery worth thinking about.

Longtime pastor and author Ray Stedman writes, "The revelation of the mystery is essentially the revelation of the love of God—in ways that make the angels amazed and startled as they learn the tremendous secrets of God's love. This is why Peter says in his first letter that our salvation is so tremendous that the angels longed to look into these things."  Ponder that.

Sure, maybe the aliens came in and stole the cookies just like they did my John Deere "Keep On Truckin!" sweatshirt in 1987, but it doesn't really matter.  Because of all the mysteries I should be trying to unravel, there is a much greater one I must explore with my heart, my mind and my soul...the mystery of the love of God for people like me.


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 01.31.10 Bill K commented

I think that Santa must have been returning from his post-Christmas Florida vacation, flew over your house and the aroma of fresh baked cookies was more than he could resist. Makes sense? Does to me....

on 02.03.10 Ron commented

The aliens are very stealthy. One of them could have been in your kitchen disguised as your refrigerator and then taken the cookies when you weren't in the room.

Good stuff!

on 02.04.10 The Best Mother'in'law in the world commented

I believe you hid them so Connie would't know when or how many you ate. Love you

on 02.04.10 The Best Mother'in'law in the world commented

I believe you hid them so Connie would't know when or how many you ate. Love you

on 02.04.10 Judy Rose commented

HI Cecil..

That is quite a mystery, indeed!! Man I was thinking about Cricket, but you are right, you would have definitely heard a pan crashing to the ground or seen crumbs even if Cricket could get on up the counter....hope the mystery will be solved at some point......But yes, if people REALLY knew the amount of Love and Grace that God loves them with, that is the biggest mystery of all.......I know I have just tapped into His Grace a tad, compared to the exuberant amount what He has for us!!

on 02.05.10 Shelley C. commented

This is sooo funny. But you've got a good point, we get so wrapped up in little mysteries in life that we overlook the really big ones, like why God loves us as He does. I'm very grateful for His love and how He guides me every day. But I still wonder sometimes about the little things. So I guess you'll have to make more cookies in the meantime! LOL

on 02.26.10 A Mom commented

You obviously do not have kids in the house because then there would be no mystery!!

on 07.09.10 crystal s commented

What did happen to those cookies? As much as I love cookies, I would have looked high and low for them. However I have to agree with the others if we could only seek and find answers to all of out problems as we would seek those cookies and find them. I would find the cookies faster than finding the solution to the mountains that we all face.

on 03.02.11 Rachael J. commented

Hi, I was reading this post, and I'm a "mystery maniac". So I decided to try my hand at it.

You didn't giive me very many clues, but as they say in the detective mysteries: Eliminate the impossible, and whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. Hopefully, you can solve this case, Detective!