How “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” Inspired My Mission for the Perfect Cookie

After scrolling for hours through Netflix on a rainy September Saturday in 2018, I finally landed on To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before to watch; it had been trending for the past month, and I wanted to know what everyone else was freaking out about. The made-for-streaming rom-com wasn’t necessarily groundbreaking in any aspects — the girl ended up with the boy, despite any tragedy that came along during the hour and a half movie — but I absolutely loved it. Over the course of the following week, I must have watched the movie at least four times, slowly forcing all of my friends and family to join me in my obsession.

I quickly decided I needed to read the books that inspired the movie, and bought a set of the three Jenny Han novels (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before; P.S. I Still Love You; and Always and Forever, Lara Jean) from my local Barnes and Noble. Within a week, I had finished the whole series with a reading speed I hadn’t had since elementary school. Bettina Strauss/Netflix

Despite how cheesy it was, I fell in love with the series. While other people tweeted about how much they loved Noah Centineo’s character Peter Kavinsky, I immediately latched onto main character Lara Jean Song-Covey, played by Lana Condor. She was going through the college search at the same time as me, and we both volunteered at a senior living center. I loved how she embraced her half-Korean identity, how she followed her heart (even when I totally would’ve chosen John Ambrose over Peter), and how she wasn’t pressured to change herself for a boy. 

The movies briefly mentioned her baking, but throughout the books, making cookies was one of Lara Jean’s favorite pastimes. She described how the cookies were something she could always control, even as the world around her fell apart, and author Jenny Han even included her favorite recipes at the end of each novel. Throughout the third book, Always and Forever, Lara Jean, she strives to make the perfect chocolate chip cookies.

After reading the books, I wanted to be just like Lara Jean. I bought a flowered scrunchie that looked like hers from the movie, I worked on my letter writing in a colorful journal, and, most importantly, I set out on a mirror mission of my own to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Chocolate Chip cookie Unsplash

Copying Lara Jean, I tested every recipe I could find online. I experimented with storing the dough overnight versus cooking immediately, parchment paper versus a greased pan, and salted versus unsalted butter (every cooking book will tell you to use unsalted butter in recipes, but I maintain that it doesn’t taste as good). 

The third novel ended with Lara Jean heading off to college, unsure of what the future would hold, and still not sure if she had found the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe yet.

Bettina Strauss/Netflix

Since first reading the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before book series two years ago as an unsure high school senior, a lot has changed for me, but my love for Lara Jean remains the same. Like Lara Jean, I still haven’t found the perfect chocolate chip cookie, but I’m learning that the journey of experimenting and trying new recipes is half the fun.

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