For someone who never saw himself writing books, let alone a cookbook, all I can say is, “Who knew and who’s hungry?” Honestly, cooking for me started in college when I discovered the 3-cheese diet, which consisted of grilled cheese sandwiches, scrambled eggs ‘n’ cheese, and macaroni ‘n’ cheese, just wasn’t cutting it for me. So, I called mom and asked, “Could you please send me the recipe for lasagna?” I’m serious. I remember it like it was yesterday. I even experimented with making pepperoni lasagna. OMG! It turned out amazing! That’s when I knew I was hooked on this cooking thing.
From there, I experimented by cooking Asian food in the wok, pasta dishes, and other meals my freshman year at college. THEN IT HIT ME! I was living far away from home and I could have anything I wanted for dinner! Mom wasn’t around to prepare meals so, I ventured, “SPOIL YOURSELF! I want cookies for dinner!” I hopped in the car, hit the store and bought the ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies hot out of the oven. Returning to my apartment, I whipped ‘em up and voila! I then plopped down on the couch with my (dinner)... a bowl of chocolate chip cookies. I couldn’t have been happier. I called mom soon after to tell her, “I ruined my appetite for dinner, mom. I made chocolate chip cookies and ate them all for dinner.” I laughed and she, well, you can imagine her response!
From that point (1988), my chocolate chip cookie baking career began. I started making them for my girlfriend, track teammates, friends, teachers, etc. When I left college, I would bake cookies for a variety of different potluck (lunch/dinner) events at the many different companies I worked for. People were reaching for my chocolate chip cookies before they’d reach for a chicken thigh out of the KFC bucket! I started noticing everyone was having the same reaction, “OMG these are good, Bart!” I’d reply, “Hey, I just bake them the way I want them to taste FOR ME! Welcome to my world!”
Aside from my love for baking the world’s best chocolate chip cookies, I just enjoy eating good food. Having been a successful athlete in track and football, I developed a pretty healthy appetite. Add to that, my mom was a magician in the kitchen. When dinner was ready, I broke records running to the kitchen to feast on whatever she had made. Those are fond memories for me. Thanks, Mom! You’re my foundational inspiration for cooking like I do, healthy and flavorful. Fast forward to today and I’ve accumulated a number of favorite meals I like to make, share and consume. Having authored 25 other books, I wrote this cookbook so you too might learn and enjoy what I’ve experienced for 20+ years!