For The Love Of Cookies: A Semi-Obsessive Love Story.

I’m nothing, if not loyal. And I’m eating a cookie as I write this.

When I was pregnant with Scarlet, I had this pretty terrible software job at a company in Northampton. I could walk to work, and often I did so, even at nine-months-pregnant and with two of my co-workers nearly ready to call local hospitals or ambulances because they were afraid I had given birth on the bike trail between my apartment and work. Speaking of those co-workers, they were the only two bright points of this job. One, who made me laugh often and made me feel confident in my music knowledge because one day after he snickered through a phone call with a client named “Dr. Wu” I asked, “Like the Steely Dan song?” I’ll never forget the impressed look that flashed across his face. “Dr. Wu” even made it onto a birth mix.

The other bright point was my co-worker, Holly. We became fast friends from the start.

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Right before I went on my “maternity leave” (read: never coming because six weeks unpaid sounds terrible), she brought me a happy face cookie from a local bakery. It had frosting and sprinkles. I was astounded. “Where did you get this?? I’m from NJ and this is like the old school bakeries there! Everything around here is gluten-free, vegan, nutty, crap, cardboard! I want some freakin’ sprinkles and frosting – that’s what I want!” It was just like that but I didn’t shout at her. I just had to know.

Enter Greggory’s Pastry Shop into my life.

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(I didn’t take this photo but it makes me happy.)

The first time I drove through Hadley (a neighboring town), I made Cassidy slow down so we could find Greggory’s. We ran in to find the happy face cookies, as well as cupcakes, cakes, cannolis, and a whole case of various bakery cookies. I remember that I got chocolate chip cookies that day, one of their signature cookies, and it was the best chocolate chip cookie I had ever had. The love story was being written. It’s a cash/check only place, and I’m terrible about cash (and checks), so it became more of a special occasion thing. It wasn’t just about the money – I just didn’t want to EVER get sick of it. Every time there was something to celebrate, or I miraculously came into money, that’s where I wanted to go. Every time Cassidy went to Hadley, I hoped he’d come home with a telltale white paper bag or bakery box. It often happened.. Especially when I looked like this:

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There was this one time that I was short of money and I was counting out change and getting flustered, and it was one of my rare times away from Baby Scarlet and the store was very busy and Greggory was very cranky. He got very mad at me for being unsure of what I wanted right away and then not knowing if I had the money. He made me cry in my car and I left without cookies. I didn’t have the guts to go back for weeks and I made Cassidy go in one day for me and he told Greggory that he had hurt my feelings. I got lots of cookies that day and I eventually went back on my own. Scarlet learned to love “The Cookie Store”

She’d try to kiss the glass cases, and I had to stop her.

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I couldn’t wait to get Des on board when the time came, but there was a big fire six months ago in October, and Greggory’s burned down to the ground along with several other businesses late one night. I was at my parent’s house when I found out through Facebook and I was crying. I had been meaning to go there only a week earlier, because it had been awhile, and now I didn’t know if I ever would again. The first time I drove by there, I was sickened. The first time I drove by there with Scarlet and had to explain how an ENTIRE BUILDING PLAZA was now just ashes was also sickening, but she handled it well. We stayed tuned for updates and found out in January that they planned to rebuild at a new, close location. I waited (im)patiently for details.

About six weeks ago, a temporary sign went up at the new location that it was coming soon! Since it’s on the way to our nearest Target/Trader Joe’s, I would always glance over and check. About a week or two ago, I drove past on the way to Target and it was the same as it had been for weeks, but on the way back, the temporary sign was gone and workers were putting up a new one. Progress! Would I get my beloved cookies again soon?

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Yes. Yes, I would. Last Wednesday, the Facebook page was finally updated to say that they were re-opening the following day – Thursday, April 10th! That was my seven year anniversary of leaving New Jersey! I was so happy I screamed, and Scarlet was mad because she thought I saw a bug. Nope. Only the best news ever! I told her we were going when they opened the following morning. She said, “That’s great..but we don’t HAVE to go so early, do we?” Well..no..but..COOKIES! Who was this kid?

Des would never say that! Hence..the chocolate-smeared mouth.

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We did it, though. We got there before they opened. I was expecting a crowd, but..we were first. Whatever, people. COOKIES!

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We walked in and it was wonderful and I got to give a speech to them about how sorry I was about the fire and how much I missed them. I wanted my face to be one of the first they saw on their re-opening after tragedy and six months of rebuilding. I can’t explain it any other way. I wanted my friendly face to be one of the first they saw, if not the first. I’m friendly.

I like cookies. I like things to mean a lot. I like joy. I like spreading joy and things that mean a lot.

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About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer at http://tamaracamera.com/, a mama of two, a writer/blogger at http://tamaracamerablog.com and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns. http://themotherofallmeltdowns.com, as well as Stigma Fighters Anthology (volume 1), and The HerStories Project: So Glad They Told Me. She is also a proud Community Lead/QA Reader with Sway, and a regular contributor to the SoFab Food blog, and the Target Made Me Do It blog. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son, dog, cat, and 11 chickens in glorious western Massachusetts.


Comments

For The Love Of Cookies: A Semi-Obsessive Love Story. — 163 Comments

  1. Oh JOY!!! Can I have one? Now? Common!!! SHARE!!! And look at those precious kiddos!! Look at those EYES!!!! On BOTH OF THEM!!! Oh my heart…

    Sigh.

  2. O.K. Now, I want cookies for breakfast! That is a sweet story (no pun intended) and I completely understand about the tradition. I was VERY disappointed when an old timey ice cream shops I went to as a kid closed. Glad you got to go back and get some cookies once again!

    • Oh, that’s sad! You just want them all to last forever. My favorite childhood ice cream shop is going strong. It’s probably going even more strong than ever! Very long lines.

  3. As a cookie-lover. And someone who knows the power of a good bakery. I love every bit of this. And I’m so glad you get to have your cookies again.

    • Thank you! It was like coming home again. I can’t wait to go back. I’ll probably go at least weekly for awhile, just because I was down to monthly or even less when the fire happened. That always made me so sad.

    • Thanks! I’ll take it! And I should have posted a photo of me with a chocolate face. Usually I’m a neat eater. Actually, usually Des is too – for a one-year-old boy, anyway. He devours food with passion.
      It’s totally a love story.

  4. I have been waiting for you to say they reopened and looked like all enjoyed the first trip back. And now you made me hungry for bakery cookies at 7:30 in the morning! I couldn’t love you more my friend πŸ™‚

    • It happened so fast, Janine! And I KNEW I’d write about it when it happened. I was out all day last Wednesday and didn’t check Facebook until late in the day. So I only knew about it for about 18 hours or less before opening!
      Couldn’t love you more back.

  5. Good bakeries are hard to find! In the year that I lived in Greenfield, and all the years that I’ve been visiting, I have never once been to Greggory’s. Why? I don’t know but I’ll fix that the next time I’m in town!

    • Please do! Let’s go together if possible!
      A lot of people had never been there. It was a bit of a hole in the wall and cash only and not open on Sundays and Mondays, and also, Northampton is riddled with good bakeries.

    • That is tough!
      I had been on a search for a replacement for the meantime, but now it’s too late, and my search is over. My bakery is back!
      I would love to go back to one of the old school Italian ones in New Jersey. I LOVED them.

  6. I love finding a good bakery. I stuff my face with their food. We have a bakery nearby that I like to go to. I load up on cookies, cakes, and eclairs. And brownies.

    • Oh, yes!
      I found a new bakery yesterday because it was Cassidy’s birthday and my favorite one is closed on Sundays and we needed something good. I think you’d like it. Cupcakes, Reese’s Pieces brownies, caramel brownies, cakes galore, cookies, eclairs, everything! Come visit?

  7. Love this! And the chocolate chip cookies look delicious! Having been raised in New England, I actually do not like our NJ bakery cookies (sorry!) but my older daughter love, love, loves them!! And both girls like black and white cookies. Do you have those at your bakery? They are something I did not know about before I moved here…

    • You are cracking me up. We had the reverse thing! And the bakeries here are wonderful, but I missed my roots, I guess. Maybe one day we should do a mail trade – you send me NJ goodies and I send you New England goodies!
      I do love black and white cookies but they’re not at my bakery here! In New Jersey, they were everywhere.

  8. If you bring me a cookie to Blog U, I will bring you whatever you want. And I will love you forever and ever. So happy your cookie store is back in your life!

  9. He made you cry? I will kill him! Has he watched too much Seinfeld? Is he the cookie Nazi? RUDE!

    Those chocolate chip cookies look as good as mine, and mine are the best ever.

    I love baby Scarlet’s puckered old lady face. I always love those eyes as big as saucers of Des. You pregnant? Adorable, to be sure.

    • My friend lived in Germany until recently and she was telling me about the cookies of her childhood. I need to try them someday! I am German, after all.

  10. I’m with you and Des – there is no such thing as “too early” for cookies. Especially cookies with chocolate. Or caramel. Or salted caramel. I need to stop.

  11. Oh my goodness, those cookie pictures! I know what you mean about a good bakery though. When I was working on Martha’s Vineyard one summer, I always wanted to get to this one before they ran out of apple fritters. They were soooo amazing!

  12. You are a blessing for anyone to know! I love how much you love those cookies and you really are the most loyal girl on the block. Though this did make me a little hyper competitive, when you said best chocolate chip cookies you ever tasted, I rolled my eyes and practically ran into the kitchen to bake you some of my own. Sorry! LOL Not trying to steal you from Greggory’s and quite frankly, with all your memories there I don’t think I ever could! Scarlet was soooo cute and small :[ how could you ever have let her grow up so fast? That pout! KFDJKHFJH!

    • Wait. Get hyper competitive, please! I’ll give you my address! Or you can bring them to my house. Or a blog conference. Or something.
      I’m totally open-minded to being stolen!
      And I’m pretty pissed at myself for letting her grow up. What was I thinking?!

  13. Those chocolate chip cookies look so yummy. I’m trying to get serious about eating less sugar, but seeing those cookies is making me want something sweet. I guess I’ll eat a pear.

    • Well hey, pears are good! I just think that packaged and processed cookies are such crap. Some bakery or homemade cookies every now and then make me very happy.

  14. That is all so great! I love a good cookie – warm from the oven with a big glass of milk. I recently had the best cookie ever in Boston. One of those HUGE ones with peanut butter and chocolate chips. I think this calls for another meet-up Tamara! Cookies and the playground?

  15. DO you know I swear I can smell those cookies through the computer! I love bakeries (probably a little too much), I love a good cookie and just made some last night, but not every day. Life is too short to be without cookies!

    • I wish I had smell-o-vision on my blog!
      Are there good bakeries in southern Cali? I always imagine there are, but maybe not so obvious. You have to really dig to find them.

  16. I probably would never go back there – if they guy actually made me cry? that’s kinda weird. maybe it’s just me

    but those ccc do look good πŸ™‚

    Love both kiddo’s pics

    • Well it was a bad day for us both. And he apologized with words and cookies. So there’s no better way to get a second chance than that, in my opinion!
      (and the cookies and the fact that he has awesome employees)

    • ha! I won’t tell anyone. I promise. I spent the last year of my long office job reading blogs. And this was before blogging was a thing. I was just reading livejournals, basically.

    • I hope so! They might think I’m insane, but I hope they like it.
      I told my daughter I’m going once a week now for awhile, until I get over the trauma of having them out of my life for six months.

  17. I feel like cookies always have a story, and this is no exception. So glad they’re back up and running after the fire!

  18. I’m going to have to find this place next time I’m in this area. Sounds so good! Happy that you were finally able to go back and get your cookies. It’s so sad when a place like that is forced to re-bulild.

    • Come soon! I was thinking of you today because we got our Six Flags season passes. We may even upgrade to get free parking. Fun times. Come join anytime!

  19. okay – this is just the most cruelest post ever, I don’t mind saying!
    Scarlett – you go ahead an lick the glass windows because I may have just slobbered all over my laptop screen. I won’t deny.
    and I most disappointed that there were no free cookies at the end of this post.
    very cruel my friend; very cruel.
    Please describe the taste of the cookies in great detail next time.
    your photography is beautiful, but a close up is just not good enough. LOL
    And I am pretty sure chocolate face would agree with me. Right Des? πŸ˜‰

    • ha! I wish I could give out smells and tastes on this here blog. Well the taste.. it’s like butter mixed with rainbows and unicorn kisses, complemented by chocolate and cookie dough goodness. Then sprinkle in some pixie dust, magic spells and the the wonder of everything. Always.

  20. So excited for you to have your cookies back!!! I wish I could look like Des when I eat cookies – that look on me just isn’t very cute!!!
    I’m glad that your smiling friendly gorgeous face was the first one they saw (along with Scarlet and Des) on opening day – I’m sure it set the tone for a great day!!

  21. Who doesn’t love cookies!!??? I am going to make some right now because…well…I need cookies. πŸ™‚ I am so happy your bakery re-opened and how awesome that you were the first person there to greet them for their re-opening. We have a bakery here that I don’t get to often, but when I do….LOOK OUT. They are amazing.

  22. I am not surprised that you are loyal. I think I knew that. Those cookies look AMAZING and I love the fact that even though the shop burned to the ground, there was rebuilding and new growth. That’s a really inspiring message, AND it’s complete with cookies? Count me in!

    • Actually the staff was joking about that. When I mentioned the fire they said, “Well, we did need new glass cases!” So in some ways it’s a whole new thing and they may change things that needed to be changed.

  23. This really wasn’t a post I needed to read while I am low-carbing it but I AM so glad your beloved bakery re-opened. Des and I could totally share some cookies. Chocolate chip are my very favorite!!

    • I’m sorry! If it helps, sharing cookies with Des is actually great for a low carb thing because he’ll eat everything in seconds, and leave you with only crumbs!

    • They do! I once told my daughter that cookies make everything better so if she skins a knee or falls or something, she’ll ask for a cookie. Oops!

  24. What a great story…about cookies, love and loyalty. I love cookies too! I am so happy you were a friendly face on the day of re-opening. And yay Des, for chocolate-smeared cookie faces. πŸ™‚

  25. Oh yum! But i cant believe the cookie man made you cry. That wouldve left a very bad taste in my mouth. [pun intended! haha].. ps. I’m eating a macaroon right now and they are oh, so good!

  26. Oh cookies…yummo! LOL! Those look wonderful! We used to have a bakery in our town 20 years ago that I still have dreams about…they had cookies, desserts, and pastries that were the best I have ever had. Now we have a couple of places but they are no where near the quality and border on cardboard…so sad! I have to say that the pic at the top made my mouth water and now I may need to make some chocolate chip! LOL! Have a great week!

    • I’m so sad they’re not around anymore! That’s always been my fear here and my fear nearly came true.
      Nothing else even comes in close second for me.
      Have a great week!

  27. Aww, reading that brought back so many memories. I actually remember the day I brought back that cookie for you. And yes, it also brings back memories of those days we worried about you and getting together on FT and wanting to play bingo. Sheesh, where did all that come from? Thank you for the kind words and thanks for being the only other person I know who can appreciate a good bakery like I do. You were my support through the last six months and it only seems fitting that you were the one who told me they were re-opening last weekend. I just ate my Elmo cookie (haha) and might have to go back for more sooner rather than later. We have to get some cookies and catch up. I promise to make a plan with you in the next couple of weeks.

    • You have changed me! I’m so happy I met you, and that I found Greggory’s through you.
      I went this morning and told him I’d be coming at least weekly for awhile. I got my normal dozen as well as an Elmo and Cookie Monster cookie. I’m so happy right now!
      I want to see you soon!!

      • Just saw this reply πŸ™

        I am so happy that I met you as well. At least one good thing came out of our miserable times at Olab haha.

        BTW – I’m a little ashamed to admit this but….I bought a cake from there this weekend. Said it a friends birthday. Of course, I didn’t eat it all myself, I shared…but I would have liked to…

  28. Mmmmm….cookies! So happy you have your sweet place back. If I ever found some place that good, it would be dangerous for my waistline and my wallet! (and now I’m craving chocolate chip cookies!)

  29. OK I need those chocolate chip cookies. Do you know if they ship them? Oh and I love the pictures of Des and his chocolate smeared mouth. Classic!!!

  30. Okay now I am hungry. Next time you post about cookies, please forewarn me. I guess I will have have a dish of ice cream. BTW I will be hosting a giveaway for that maple syrup & raw honey soon πŸ™‚ YEAH!

    • Oooh! I’m all over that. Those are the two things we seem to be running out of all of the time. I need raw honey for my allergies and maple syrup is one of nature’s perfect foods.

  31. Not to be insensitive, but I bet when it was burning, if there was some cookie dough around, it probably smelled heavenly.

    Cookies make the world go round, kind of. Real cookies. health-food cookies are an abomination. first the designated hitter rule, then they tried to take the Pledge of Allegiance away, but I have to put my foot down when people try to put healthy crap in a wholesome cookie.

    • haha! I bet there was a brief period, before the ashes and smoke really took over, in which it smelled fantastic. I agree.
      My town is full of healthy cookies. I try to raise my kids to be open-minded and make their own decisions. At a recent Waldorf party, the hostess gave some lovely cookies made of sunflower seeds and raisins and millet and peanut butter and…fruit..and figs.. and Des excitedly took one.
      Then he spit it on the floor and gave me a look that clearly said, “Is she for real?”

  32. is there a way to ship these to california?!?! those chocolate chip cookies look so gooey-licious. i need to run out of the office right now and pickup a cookie somewhere…as i am just as obsessed as you are. COOKIES! this post reminds me of my hometown ice-creamery. i think the whole town would feel the same way if it burned down….everyone counting down the days until it was rebuilt just like you.

    • They don’t even have a website, so I don’t know if they do ship. I know I do, though! Maybe a baby gift? I remember after having Scarlet and someone sent me a giant box of cookies and it was like heaven. Nursing made me more hungry/thirsty than pregnancy. By a million.
      My hometown ice creamery is still going strong!

    • Thank you! I’d love to hear what you find. There are so many out there and many are hole-in-the-wall places without websites! And they have weird hours!

  33. omg now I want cookies Tamara!! Seriously? NO fair!!! My favorite are snickerdoodles mmmmmmmm *drooling*. My friend is a baker but she bakes cake and such and they are still pretty PHENOM! My son’s birthday is coming up next month and she’ll be baking his cake, yumMy! Share means care Tamara I want some πŸ˜› Have a great one and enjoy having your bakery back!! -Iva

  34. What a great story! I can’t believe Greggory was so cranky with you and you still kept going back. πŸ™‚ I kind of love that, that he was probably having an off day but his cookies and the store and the staff were all enough to trump one bad experience.

  35. And spread joy you do, Tamara. Joy and sprinkles. I love that you wanted your smiling happy self to be one of the first faces they saw after re-opening. Except now I want a cookie.

  36. THOSE COOKIES!!! Luckily I live in the fat & happy Midwest and we have some great cookies around here. My “cookie place” is Julie’s Chewies and I swear, they much sell half-pound cookies there, those things are just monsters. Mmm… I haven’t had one for a while! I might need to fix that problem soon.

  37. I cannot even read this, let alone look at the pictures of cookies – ha ha ha ha! BECAUSE IT MAKES ME WANT THEM and I haven’t had a cookie in 13 years, well unless you count my coconut flour stevia baked concoction, which really doesn’t count in my mind, LOL!!!! But man, if I were on my death bed, or knew I was going to perish tomorrow, HAND OVER THOSE TAGALONGS – NOWWWWW!!!

  38. I have no idea why but your cookie story made me cry. Seriously. I’m crying for your cookie place. In a good way. And it makes me miss Lazy Larry’s which never sold cookies ever. But it’s a similar type of love story. Not the burned down part but to just love a place. I think you know what I mean.

    • Thank you.
      I think it’s totally tears-inducing and not just because I am somewhat close to it. It’s because decades worth of someone’s dreams went up in flames.
      Luckily we can rebuild.
      I know exactly what you mean.

  39. Wow, you’ll probably get freebies from them soon once they realize how loyal you are as a customer. I hope they do realize that! There are just certain places that make us happy.. and we have happy food too! I guess those cookies are your happy food.. πŸ˜‰

    • Every now and then, they do throw in some free cookies! Depends on who is working. Greggory himself is very generous.
      These are totally my happy food!

  40. I totally love that there is such a wonderful place for cookies and now wish that I lived close to such a place. I am so glad that it is back and for the joy you are feeling about it.
    Seeing the picture of Scarlet and reading about her kissing the display cases brought back memories for my guys doing the same thing. I had forgotten about that – so thank you, my friend. πŸ™‚

    • And before it burned down, the old place had a sign on the glass about not letting children touch it! And it was just funny because on opening day, Des wouldn’t stop touching it. I’m sure a new sign will be up soon, if not already!

  41. Never bought too many cookies, I am more inclined to make them. But glad you have your favorite place back, to fulfill your cookie cravings!

  42. OMG…this reminds me of my ice cream-capades. There is one place out in the county that my husband took me to when we were dating. When I had a hankering while pregnant, he’s drive us out there. Then when I was on bed rest, I was a pissed off ice-cream-less boob thigh face leg cankle exploding mess of what looked like a human. Anyways, when I was able to go, it was two weeks after the turd was born…on my birthday πŸ™‚
    The place is only open from May 2-4 weekend until mid September. Stupid winter.
    I love that you have a “place”. It is heavenly spirit lifting isn’t it?
    Makes me drool.
    And I don’t like chocolate.
    Shhhh….don’t tell anyone.

    • I won’t tell anyone, but you did just tell my mom, because she’s my most loyal blog reader.
      I love that you have a place too. TOTALLY spirit lifting. Heavenly. Affirming. Delicious. And your time is coming! Do you go opening weekend?

  43. I don’t think it’s possible, but I love you just a little bit more for wanting freakin’ sprinkles and frosting! I’m so glad the bakery opened again and you got your happy place back!

    • Aw, I love you for saying that! I am old-fashioned. I don’t like healthy cookies. I like healthy foods, sure! I love fruits and vegetables and lean proteins and strangely healthy grains.
      I do not want to fake my cookies!

  44. Tamara, you knows love of cookies! These look delicious! I’ve actually been on a cookie hiatus, due to lack of chocolate chips. I’m totally getting my cookie mojo back now. Sounds like I will be making some in the near future…or finding my way to a bakery that has delectable ones! πŸ™‚

    • Natalie, I just got another batch today! They’re way too busy on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays and Mondays so I’m usually jonesing by Tuesdays.

  45. Oh my gosh, would it be weird if I told you this post made me tear up?!?!?!!!! You’ve been talking about this place randomly in your posts and I didn’t know the backstory and now that I know, it’s just all so emotional and I’m happy you got your beloved cookie store back that was like family….phew, long sentence! I’m holding your hands and jumping up and down screaming with you about the cookies LOL. They look so good too, no wonder you are in love with that place.

    • Not weird, Jessica! It means you really know how this feels. It feels fantastic! And it’s deeper than cookies. It’s about familiarity and people rebuilding their dreams.
      And their dreams..just happen to coincide with my dreams to eat cookies.

  46. What a great story. I have been known to buy cupcakes that are ridiculously overpriced and way out of town, so I know exactly what you mean about things meaning a lot.

    • Well those cupcakes sound good! To me, a lot of cupcakes taste the same so when someone makes fantastic ones, I definitely go out of my way for them. Obviously, with cookies too! And this cookie store does have cupcakes. Yum.

  47. Pingback: A Mother’s Day Tell-All. | Tamara Like Camera

  48. LOL I could write a post about this about ice cream. Not the fire part but for the love of! I remember your facebook post about the fire not I fully understand πŸ˜‰ LOL at Scarlet thinking you saw a bug.

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