If your game of choice is a team sport like basketball or soccer, or something else hand to handLike tennis, chess, or even video games, some men have an instinct to compete. Yes, the winner belongs to the spoils, but perhaps just as important, the winner has the right to brag.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the competitive spirit has also extended to the culinary world. While they may not be up to the task in real life, there are plenty of home chefs who dream of beating Bobby Flay, getting top honors in Cake Wars, or being crowned Champions of Chopped.
Last April, when 58-year-old Scott McKenzie of Huntington, Pennsylvania, and his 42-year-old friend Jeremy Uhrich were caught up in what might be called “the cookie war,” neither of them were realized what started out as a friendly competition. Seeing who was the best baker would be transformed into something that would have a huge positive impact on their broader community.
After being fired from his associate coaching job at a local liberal arts college due to the coronavirus pandemic, McKenzie set himself the goal of learning a new skill each week. First: bake cookies.
Although the results of your first try with the chocolate chip cookies weren’t perfect, they were quite tasty.
When McKenzie proudly posted his success on Facebook, the Uhrich high school English teacher praised his friend’s efforts, but said he was confident he could do better. Therefore, the cookie glove was thrown and baking started.
The competition was soon joined by one of Uhrich’s alumni, Rachel Kyle, 18, who had found out via social media. The dads decided to let Huntingdon County Mayor David Wessels choose which cookie reigned supreme. Ironically, it was newcomer Kyle who took the top cookie honors.
With the winner crowned, Uhrich and McKenzie made the rounds, leaving the remaining batches of cookies to essential workers in the Huntington area. The recipients could not have been more pleased.
“We come out of that saying, ‘A little sugar and a little flour can go a long way. We should do it again, ‘”Uhrich said in an interview with The Washington Post.
Inspired to do more, the couple tweaked their two-man baking concept, transforming it into an initiative called Cookies for Caregivers.
“Cookies for Caregivers was born as a reflection of the COVID-19 experience in 2020,” says the group Facebook page. “Many people continued to go to work and serve their community while others were told to stay home or could work from home. We decided to show our gratitude to those who work to serve us by serving them freshly baked cookies as a modest sign of our appreciation and respect. “
McKenzie and Uhrich hoped that others would volunteer their time and baking expertise, but they never waited for the enthusiastic response their idea received. In just a few days, the group’s membership surpassed 100 would-be cookie bakers.
With so many willing to participate, McKenzie and Uhrich organized a round robin of four bakers per week. Uhrich coordinates the bakers; McKenzie is tasked with setting up COVID-proof deliveries on the distribution side. One day a week, they load a car and make deliveries.
In the first eight months after Cookies for Caregivers made their debut, McKenzie and Uhrich estimate that more than 1,300 dozen – that’s 15,600 individual cookies – made it into the mouths of essential workers in hospitals, schools, police and fire stations. , and even in the newsroom. from the local newspaper.
Even though he’s back at work, McKenzie and his baking partner continue to lead the cookie initiative, yet they both feel blessed that others took on his game plan and not only kept the ball in play, but who ran with her. “This is a direct reflection of our community as a whole and a credit to them,” Uhrich said. “This community is small in size, but big-hearted.”
It is said that money cannot buy happiness, but it seems that dough – that is, when it is cookie dough – can do a lot to put smiles on hundreds of deserving faces. And when it comes to bringing comfort and joy to essential workers, there’s nothing half-baked in that recipe.
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