I’m not sure how proud of this I am, but I should tell this story for history alone. What I remember of it right now was hanging out, and overnights with friends in my basement. There was the work room as it was called was where all the tools were. (These were not my dads tools. The project manager in the house is my mother, but that is for another post. Or several other posts.) The main room had a pool table. Around a corner was a sectional couch that covered two walls and faced the TV. I spent a lot of time hanging out with friends in the basement because we could pretty much make as much noise as we wanted, and my room was too small to hang out in. My parents spent most of their time at night in the TV room on the ground level. The majority of refreshments and snacks were, however, on the ground level. After 10:30 or 11:00pm, I would be hesitant to leave the basement for fear of awakening or disturbing my parents. This left me wandering around in the basement looking for snack ideas. One of those magical evenings, I made a tremendous discovery: my mother had several rolls of frozen chocolate chip cookie dough buried within Downstairs Freezer.

Downstairs Freezer, it should be pointed out, was not an over-glorified cooler, and was not even a chest freezer, but rather a full-sized upright freezer that was in the back corner of the work room. Newman’s buy in bulk (this could explain many things). It’s more efficient that way and you always have what you need. What this also means is that we, out of necessity . . .

…and by necessity I mean, of course, to hearken back to forefathers on the Oregon trail who, if they had freezers instead of salt, would have done the very same thing…

…we, out of necessity maintained a dual-freezer operation. The two-pronged freezing installment allows for deeper inventory and more food options at the ready. Convenient. The multi-faceted freezer strategy also allows for inventory to become foggy. Upstairs Freezer contained everyday items. It was very noticeable if we went from, say, six ice cream bars in an evening to three. As a fat kid I would burn a lot of calories hiding the tracks of shame that led from all of the various snacking venues in my wake, so only one ice cream bar in a night. But if there are six boxes of thin mints downstairs, one (or five) cookies going missing at a time couldn’t be tracked as easily. Again – not necessarily proud of this story.

Towards the back of Downstairs Freezer on the right of the middle shelf there were several logs of frozen cookie dough. As it turns out, your standard metal teaspoon can carve through frozen cookie dough pretty easily, and I know this because many evenings from that night forward were spent passing around the frozen cookie dough log and then returning it to Downstairs Freezer. Growing up with this very special treat taught me that a frozen chocolate chip is better than a defrosted one. ergo a frozen chocolate chip cookie is better than a defrosted one. Not kidding. I’ll fight you over this. This is fact. The creamy and somewhat sugar-gritty dough holds the sharply contrasting burst that comes from striking through frozen chocolate. Simply Majestic.

I told you that, so I could tell you this. I will parlay this into a recipe of sorts, but first a side story about the first night I played Craps. When we Newman’s vacationed, it was often to destinations that featured incredible food, and often featured casino access. Mom taught us blackjack using shells or monopoly money or saltwater taffy as casino chips. That was her game. Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa played Craps. There were dice, some funny shaped stick, lots of money being thrown around, people yelling, people screaming. Very frenetic! A lot going on. Much more interesting to watch. And watch I always would. One night, when it was my grandmother’s turn to role, she asked the pit boss if her grandson could roll for her. If you’ve never rolled at a Craps table, it is quite the experience.

Imagine being the best surgeon at a teaching hospital. Step into the OR. Everyone is looking at you as you step to the table. Someone’s only job is to hand you the things you need. There is someone else calling out everything you do, because everyone wants to know. And everyone is watching you as you work. Reacting to everything you do.

This is being the roller at a Craps table. Step up to the table. Everyone is looking at you as you do so. Someone’s only job is to hand you the dice you need. There is someone calling out everything you do, because everyone wants to know. And everyone is watching you as you work. Reacting to everything you do.

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I don’t run from the spotlight. So this was quite the experience for me. I stepped up to the table. Grandma to my right, Grandpa to her right, and my Dad to my left. A huge intimidating expanse of green felt laid out in front of me. It’s Electric! Boogie-woogie Woogie! To start, everyone is shouting “Whirl!,” “Yo!,” “Hi-low!,” “Horn!,” “C and E!,” “Any Crap and a two-way Yo!” Chips of various colors are being literally thrown everywhere, and a team of three “dealers” are making them into little piles presumably anywhere.

With fervent efficiency the betting wraps up. “Dice out!”

Everyone draws silent as a man with a long stick with a short L-shaped end, like the profile of a very tall stick figure with tiny feet, or the world’s most ridiculous hockey stick, slides me the dice. The series of throws which follow I had no understanding of at the time, so I can’t remember most details, save two:

My grandmother would keep shouting “Whirl!!!”, and then put more money in front of me.


At one point a very wealthy looking man with a huge cowboy hat walked down from the other side of the table and handed me a green chip and thanked me for making him such a tremendous amount of money. I remember the hat because it seems so cliché.

The “Whirl” that my grandmother was so overjoyed by is a single-roll bet that is placed before the “come-out,” or first role. It pays if a 2,3,11, or 12 is thrown, and pushes for any seven. It’s an ironically-termed “risk-management bet,” and it was winning her so much money that she started betting it for me, $5 every couple of rolls. “Whirl for Jeff!”, “Whirl for Jeff!” The profits from which left me with in excess of $75 plus the green chip ($25) the man in the impressive hat gave me. So it was some few dollars over $100. Which adjusted for how old I was (13?) and how much things have changed, that would be like finding $1.24 million in the change cup of a vending machine. Later that same night I had a chocolate chip cookie. That’s what made me think of that story.

What you need to know on the subject of cookies is this: most of you have been eating your longer-than-ten-minutes-old chocolate chip cookies wrong your whole lives. I specify longer than 10 minutes because I am many things, but I am not so bold as to deny the wonder that is a warm chocolate chip cookie. Enjoy them. They are great. But here’s what you do:

Cookie dough in oven. Undercooked. Cool. Frozen. Done. Eat from freezer. You’re welcome.


The fat-kid-can’t-wait hot alternative is frozen cookie dough in a bowl. Microwave. 45 seconds.

You’re also welcome.

Both of these attack, from very different angles, the undeniable truth that cold chocolate chips in association with gooey or chewy cookie dough is your mouthparts in communication with, if only for a moment, wherever or whatever you think Nirvana (noun) is. None of my timely “Nirvana” (band; also noun), jokes seem to fit here because Kurt died when I was in fifth grade and it’s still too soon for me to talk about. Seriously.

The frozen chocolate chip cookie thing, though. It’s everything you ever needed to know. It’s magic. Give it a Whirl!