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Copyrighted Cookies

by Dahl Clark


This essay was written as a silent protest of a harrowing truth--that just when I was about to arrive on campus for my junior year (1998), this school decided to do away with what was probably one of the most interesting and captivating classes that was ever taught on these grounds. Science and Math knows what Iím talking about--please let it be brought back. If not for me, then please do it for others who may want to learn of this amazing harmony between science and art.


Dear Owner of this Restaurant,

I have an interesting story to relate to you; perhaps you may have heard this one before. After years of study under a master cookie maker, I go home and bake cookies from scratch for my family. I use two eggs, flour, sugar, a mixing bowl, and a spatula--all ingredients and supplies that I purchased with my own money from the grocery store. A friend bites into a cookie and tells me itís the best cookie heís ever tasted. It is so good, he runs out of the house to tell all his friends about my new recipe. I then join the ranks of the master cookie makers--I am one of a few who possess the know-how to apply this incredible, new, high-speed cookie-making technology. For twenty years or so I make the same cookies. All of my family and friends know the general recipe, but they donít know exactly how to make the cookies. They donít have access to the ingredients and supplies that I have had to use and replace over yearsí worth of time. Then, I decide to get a job in a restaurant because I hear itís the best place in town to exchange ideas about different recipes, and I know there are lots of kids who would like to learn about my delicious cookie recipe. I bake cookies there for a while, but then the restaurant gets smart and tells me that my cookies are its property because I am baking them under its roof. However, I have patented my recipe and am using my own ingredients and supplies to produce these cookies. The restaurant still wonít listen, and we get into an argument. If I am to continue baking cookies in this restaurant, I have to hand over my patented cookie recipe. I decide not to hand over the recipe--they canít fire me for refusing to bake cookies since I have other skills to offer. Instead, I move all my cookie-making equipment back home where it belongs.

Since the restaurant is so far away from home, the kids who used to stop by every weekday for cookies canít stop by anymore. Two years pass, and younger kids have heard from older kids about how I once made cookies at the restaurant, but now I make no more. They feel left out of the fun that characterized those times. They have become curious. They want me to make more cookies at the restaurant, but I canít because the restaurant and I still havenít settled our cookie ownership issue.

Is it wrong that I have chosen to protect what I have worked so long to make? I have been alive for many more years than the restaurant has been in existence, and I have had to study for years to learn how to precisely bake my cookies. I have had to use my own money to buy the equipment I need to bake my cookies, and even more importantly, I have had to use my own time and knowledge. These cookies are a product of me. I canít see why the restaurant wants to have an ownership dispute with me. I got paid nothing more then for baking cookies than I do now by the restaurant. I used my own money, time, and effort to help instill a higher sense of taste in the kids who eat my cookies with nothing in return, while the restaurant benefits from having me ease its cooking workload. Then, the restaurant tells me that because I am using my equipment to produce my cookies under their roof, my cookies belong to them.

I ask for nothing in return from the restaurant except to allow me to best serve my customers. All I really want to do is to help those kids by enriching their palate just a bit more. After all, isnít that what a restaurant is for? To allow people to taste and compare different recipes? I would like to be able to share my cookie-making knowledge with those kids, the restaurant, and everyone else I know, but I also feel I need to be acknowledged for what I have done. Making cookies may seem to be a trivial hobby or something anyone can do, but it is a time-consuming, highly expensive, precision task that only a few actually know how to do. However, the restaurant just cannot seem to respect this fact. I have had to engrave the bottom of every cookie I bake at home with my name so that the restaurant wonít attempt to take ownership of those cookies too--it has finally come down to this.

I will not quarrel with anyone. Although I feel bad that I cannot serve those kids who live by the restaurant, there is nothing I can do about it unless if I give in to the restaurantís requirement. I still derive a personal satisfaction from the work that I do, however, so this inability to serve the majority of my customers with cookies does not present much of a loss. Perhaps some day, the restaurant will grant me permission to start baking cookies there again. Until then, I guess there wonít be any more cookies for the kids who live by the restaurant for a while.

With best regards,

The Cookie Maker


"No! This canít be! Iíve got to have cookies! Iíve been dying to learn how to bake those delicious cookies and this is the best opportunity Iím going to get in a long time to learn! Please, Science and Math, let the Cookie Maker bring back all his cookie-making equipment into your kitchen so he can teach us the recipe! You know, youíre denying us the service you said you would give us--what kind of restaurant is this without dessert to top off the average English dinner? Physics is okay for lunch, but please, please bring back the cookies! Youíve got written down on Form C of your SPW Menu (take a look--Iím trying to earn extra Brownie points for doing my reading), entitled "What are the specific responsibilities of a Cookie Maker," under Entree Number 2, that "Cookie makers should attempt to instill in kids ownership of and responsibility for their recipes." If the restaurant wants kids to take ownership and responsibility over their recipes, then what is the Cookie Maker supposed to do? Please, please think about your decision to pursue this ownership dispute with the Cookie Maker.


A Poor, Cookie-Impoverished, Extremely Hungry Kid Who Really, Really, Really Wants to Learn How to Make Cookies Faster than One Can Blink the Eye