I am not much of a cook, but about this time every year, I pull out a favorite family recipe for cookies. My grandmother made these cookies for me when I was a child, and when I got older she wrote their recipe down for me.
There is one aspect of the recipe that I have never understood: it has me mix 2 tsp of baking soda into 2 tsp of milk.
All the other dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, etc.) get mixed together separate from the wet stuff. But the baking soda? No: it has to be added to the milk to form a tiny little bit of wet paste, and then somehow I'm supposed to alternate between adding the flour mixture and this tiny little bit of soda+milk paste into the wet mixture. I cannot understand how such a tiny little bit of wet paste could possibly get evenly distributed throughout the batter mixture, using this method.
My usual approach is to ignore that part of the recipe, and just mix the baking soda with the dry components, and the milk with the wet components. [EDIT: or sometimes, I make the paste as described, then add that to the wet.] There doesn't seem to be any negative results from violating this instruction, and yet I am haunted every year by this non-understood detail of the recipe.
Can I buy a clue? My grandmother is no longer around to ask. :(
[EDIT] After reading the answers so far, I'm reasonably convinced that the purpose of pre-mixing the baking soda (base) into milk (very slightly acid) is to increase the amount of leavening that occurs. These cookies are nearly cake-like in texture, intentionally. But the reasoning behind the alternating is still a bit of a mystery.