A friend asked me the other day how I suddenly got into cooking. I thought to myself, suddenly? I've always loved to cook. I guess if you didn't know me as a kid, it would seem sudden. I have sort of been on sabbatical from cooking for about 15 years now. I loved to bake as a kid and was famous at home for my chocolate chip cookies. I had my parents and my brother convinced for years that I had a secret ingredient that made the cookies so good, when really, I was just following the recipe on the Nestle Tollhouse bag. My brother asked if he could watch the next time I made them and I told him he could, as long as he left the room while I added the 'secret' ingredient. He left the room and, just to trick him, I sprinkled a couple of oats on the batter. When he came back in, his eyes lit up, and he started shouting, "It's oats, her secret ingredient is oats!" My parents ran into the kitchen to see what all the commotion was about, and they too thought they had discovered my secret. While they all danced around laughing and celebrating, I smiled slyly and rolling my eyes thought, gullible, so gullible. I don't know if I ever admitted to my little fib, but if you guys are reading this now, well, I guess the jig is up. I had NO secret ingredient. The only thing I did differently from the directions was that I mixed all the ingredients in one bowl instead of separating out the wet and dry and mixing them slowly, but you already knew that didn't you? How this makes a difference, I will never know. What does this have to do with split pea soup? Nothing, except that as I was disregarding some of the steps in the recipe, it made me think back to the chocolate chip cookies and the 'secret' to their success.