Anyone who’s been in the CambridgeSide Galleria over the past few months, years even, has seen the giant shift in the design and shopping experience offered. I wouldn’t call this a tourist destination, but I spent 4 years of my 20s working at this mall, which is where I met OG Fussy Eater (Karen Zgoda). I am therefore intimately connected to that food court. Which is almost indistinguishable from my residency.
Still in construction, the food court, or food fiesta as experts know it, has flipped over half its vendors to new cuisines and audiences. The latest of which I was exceptionally curious to try. Dough Life. Yes, edible cookie dough.
You’re probably rolling your eyes, noting that cookie dough is inherently edible without needing its own bar. However, my personal narrative with cookie dough is likely different than yours.
When I was a toddler I was hospitalized with e coli. This was the same year that over 700 people were infected by Jack-in-the-Box and later sued. Some children who were infected died. My infection was from a different fast food restaurant, and I was not part of any lawsuit. However, as you can imagine, my parents were forever shaped by this nearly life-threatening food-borne illness, which strongly shaped the way I was fed. This meant I was never allowed to eat cookie dough, like the spoon when making a cake, or have a cut of meat that wasn’t very well done. So while this cookie dough bar is built on an empire of nostalgia, my allure was based in a thrill-seeking rebellion. Even though the risk of food poisoning is crushed by pasteurized eggs and heat-treated flour, my stomach did a little flip of excitement, as this still felt like rule breaking on some level.
In my visit to Dough Life, I fawned over the flavor options, wanting something small and sweet to fill that post-lunch pre-dinner void. I settled on King Caramel, Caramel, Sea Salt, and Chocolate flavored dough. Basically, classic chocolate chip with a salted caramel upgrade. This turned out to be an excellent choice. The flavor reminded me of my mother’s chocolate chip cookies that I never got to taste as dough. Mom always bought salted butter and made what I assume was the Tollhouse recipe with the same salt measurement. Which typically means I think most people’s cookies need salt. This didn’t. It was perfect. Nostalgic yet completely new and ultimately satisfying. I got a small, and it was quite filling. It may look like ice cream, but it’s got a lot more heft to it.
I will say that I do think cookie dough bars are a trend. Much like Fro-Yo, I expect it to grow and peak, but not disappear. If it makes someone who didn’t have a nostalgic connection to eating dough still hop in, I think it will have a cult-like following that keeps it afloat. And that may be you if you take a taste.