These past few months, I’ve struck up somewhat of a relationship with a man I’ve never met, whose life bears a somewhat uncanny resemblance to mine, in ways, at times.
It’s not often that reading a book inspires me to seek out the contact information of the author and send him an email, but after reading Rick Taylor’s book “House Inside the Waves,” I couldn’t help but reach out.
I first heard of Rick when I read an article in one of my favourite magazines about his adventures swimming the Waikiki Rough Water swim. Fellow long distance open water swimmers – the people who are, like me, crazy enough to jump in lakes just after the ice melts to paddle out kilometer after kilometer; the only people, perhaps, other than astronauts, who know what it feels like to adjust to gravity after having been without its’ influence for hours at a time – are rare. Then, I found out that Rick and his family had spent a year living (writing, swimming, and surfing – three of my favourite pasttimes) in a little town that I too called home for a while, when I was working there as a divemaster. Rick wrote about this experience in his book “House Inside the Waves,” which also shares a candid peek into the life of a stay-at-home dad, and what’s it’s like to parent small humans. It’s a beautiful, introspective, philosophical and adventuresome book that I couldn’t put down.
Throughout the book, Rick references these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and like any good writer, describes them in a way that make them sound irresistable, in that gotta-get-one-in-my-gob-right-now kind of way. I was highly motivated to reach out to him for the recipe to these when, in fact, I turned the page of the book where he had kindly shared with his readers how to create the friendship-building, child-assuaging, magical sweets.
So I made the cookies immediately – and yes, they are all that, and emailed Rick anyway, to say hey, loved your book, loved your cookies, and isn’t it cool we share a few hobbies and a deep love for a little Australian town that captivated us both.
To my surprise, Rick wrote back, sharing some articles that he had written or was featured in, chatting about his family, and his time living in Byron Bay. He emailed me when his grandson was born in August, and shared some musings on writing, swimming, and life. I wrote to him about the pause I’ve taken in my writing to attend to family and home, and about my dreams of one day publishing a book.
It’s an unlikely friendship, in ways made less “virtual” and more genuine with the help of warm, gooey cookies.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups oatmeal
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup sweetened grated coconut
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars. Add in the egg and vanilla, and mix until incorporated.
- Whisk together the flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a separate bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, hand-mixing until well incorporated. Stir in the coconut and chocolate chips.
- Drop cookies onto baking sheet, and bake 8-10 minutes or until they begin to brown on the bottom.