I was digging in hardpan dirt yesterday–an inch at a time was the best I could do. Typical Virginia clay laced with sand leftover from various construction projects and mortar mixing that had pretty much morphed into concrete and then more red clay gone over a hundred times by heavy equipment.  No azaleas growing there any time soon. Yeah, like that’s a problem.

 This morning, after I decided to put off the next round of dirt-smashing until some other hour, I remembered an article that I had saved about women in Haiti who make dirt cookies and sell them to feed their families.


There is some miniscule nutritional value in the cookies since shortening and salt are mixed in,  and the dirt has some calcium in it. It was mind-boggling. Baking cookies is about warmth, and love, and home. Even, perhaps especially, when mothers bake them out of mud to feed their families. How skewed is that?  I make cookies if the sun goes behind a cloud for more than a minute. It is a surefire way to make me immediately happy and occasionally other people happy, too, (as if the latter was my goal).

I thought about coming up with some sort of fundraising concept revolving around cookies whereby the money raised by selling  homemade cookies would go to an organization working to end hunger in Haiti, but I wanted the money to go to these cookie-bakers. Of course I didn’t do anything. Let’s face it–baking delicious cookies for overweight Americans to enjoy seems a crass and inefficient way to raise money for Haitians. When I think of the cost of store-bought cookies and the tastelessness of them,  it makes more sense to forego buying the chalky Famous Amos or the sawdusty Keebler chocolate chip cookies that my kids somehow like and send the equivalent $8 a week to Food for the Poor www.foodforthepoor.org

It is hard to sit here in this lovely, tree-filled setting and feel solidarity with people who eat mud cookies, yet I know we are connected, and not just by the wish that a cookie in our stomachs will make us feel better.