December 13, 2007

The Cookbook

Seven years ago, a short time after our grandmother Eleanor had passed away, Aunt Eleanor published "The Cookbook"
"The Cookbook" is a group of wonderful recipes that were collected over the years by my mother. My mother, Eleanor, was a fussy, discriminating baker. She would pour over the Boston Globe's food pages, check the labels or boxes of products, or ask a person for a recipe. There were many tests that she would apply to a completed recipe to decide if it was worth keeping. One factor in the decision as to whether to keep a recipe or not was how long the product stayed around after it was cooked.

During the years that my sister Mary, brother Joe, and I were in elementary school,we never failed to volunteer to "bring in some cookies for the party". My mother would patiently make whatever cookies we had requested. The favorites were always the Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies and the Gingersnaps. My father's favorites were the Cream Puffs and the Date Bars. As each of us married, our spouses quickly became aware of the location of the cookies jar and helped to empty it. The cookies that had been our favorites growing up quickly became the favorites of all the grandchildren.

December 17, 2000

Even without my aunt's description, one may easily see which recipes are most special from how tattered and stained the pages are in The Cookbook. Gingersnaps are definitely a favorite of Eleanor's great grandchildren.

1 comment:

Tara said...

Uncle Joe sent us an email to opine on The Cookbook

You may be interested in knowing that as I sit here writing, I am munching on the gingersnap cookies. Erika would spend many quiet Sunday afternoons with your grandmother baking. Recipes can be read and followed by almost anyone, but it is also the style that these treats are prepared that is important. Erika learned this.

(Excuse me while I take another bite out of my cookie)

Here are some things that were not included in the introduction by Joanne. Not only did our spouses learn where the cookie jar was but the grandchildren found them almost by instinct. When your grandmother baked cookies in the warm weather with the kitchen windows open, neighborhood kids would smell them and pay her a visit just to say hello and always leaving with a cookie in hand.

Kids were not the only ones that liked cookies. Dogs loved them too. Remember Maggie our English Setter? (Matt used to curl up in the box with her) Laura was standing in front of the TV in grandma’s den mesmerized by Sesame St and holding a cookie in her hand. Maggie gently nuzzled the cookie out of her hand and devoured it. The puzzled look on Laura’s face was priceless.

Every Monday at work, we have an operations meeting. Erika will bake a couple of dozen cookies for me to bring into work. Recently, it was my turn to present my unsolved problems and I announced I had a cookie issue from Waltham drawing boring looks from our sophisticated engineers until I placed two tins of Eleanor’s cookies on the conference table. Their attitude changed quickly and the cookies were gone in no time.