Serving the High Plains

Baking an entire cookbook in honor of Dad

Grief is a sneaky beast.

There I was, scrolling through social media mostly minding my own business, when it hit. It started out innocently enough. I was knee-deep in fancy chocolate blends and extracts. Google seems to think I have a baking problem, and regularly throws things of interest my way. This time it was a cookbook. A triple layer chocolate something or other flashed on the screen, topped with the title, “50 Things to Bake Before You Die.”

Challenge accepted, I thought. And then I immediately thought of my dad, who lived by the “two hands, two cookies” rule. In one of my favorite photos of him, he is smiling ear to ear with a muffin in each hand.

It was a moment of joy tempered with sadness because he isn’t here.

It’s those gut-punch moments that take me by surprise. Dad has been gone nearly five years, and I still catch myself thinking that I need to call and tell him about something that happened, or something I saw, or something I heard. And then my head catches up with my heart, and I put the phone down.

In those bittersweet moments, I’m grateful to have a lifetime of memories and stories to replay over and over. Each time a photo pops up, I take it as a dad hug.

I think he would have liked this book. Well, he wouldn’t like the book so much as he’d like what I’d bake FROM the book.

My 9-year-old nephew Gavin, dad’s mini-me, likes to bake. This past weekend Gavin gifted us with chocolate chip cookies and pineapple bread that he made in his Nana’s kitchen. He handed us foil-wrapped bread, and two cookies for each of us in a baggie: Two hands, two cookies.

The plan is to bake everything – all 50 recipes – in the book, to honor dad and celebrate his joy of life. If I’m lucky, maybe his mini-me will join me in the kitchen. Two hands, two cookies.

Patti Dobson writes about faith for The Eastern New Mexico News and Quay County Sun. Contact her at:

[email protected]

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