Baking Granny’s Cookies

For some reason, my Mom and I were going through her mother’s recipes. She was telling me stories of how her mother would make this or try that. We found recipes from my grandmother’s friends, some still alive, some have long since crossed over into the other world. There were many recipes with ingredients whose quantities astounded me. “How much mayo?” I found myself asking more than once. For my mother, it must have been a fun trip down memory road, but for me it was an insight into the past. I had the bright idea to try to make one recipe of my grandmother’s per week, but the more I looked at what she used to make, it dawned on me that, not only would I not eat most of what she cooked because it wasn’t kosher, but it was also fattening beyond belief. It was a different time. Some of her recipes are classics: potato salad and apple pie. My mother has mastered those, and I will have to one day as well. I found one recipe that looked easy enough and since we had all the ingredients, I decided to make it. My mother insisted that Granny had never made a recipe for carrot cookies, but I like carrots and I like walnuts and I like cookies and the recipe was in her handwriting, so I insisted.

We got out the ingredients and set to work.

The process was easy enough, although I’d never used shortening in a recipe and my Mom had a few clever tricks to show me how to manipulate the ingredients to work in my favor and not against me. She also insisted on shredding the carrots in her food processor. I don’t have one and I didn’t even know how to use it. I still don’t really know because my Mom is more of a doer than a teacher. I pounded the walnuts, mixed the ingredients together and then got out a tablespoon to use in putting the cookies on the sheet.

My Mom said, “Stop!” She pulled out parchment paper and lined the cookie sheet. Then she handed me a melon baller. “Use this.” She said she’d seen all the chefs on television use a melon baller to scoop cookies. It was ingenious. My hands stayed relatively clean and there were perfectly formed cookie scoops unevenly placed around the tray.

I burned them.

But we caught the problem in time and I learned that you cannot place cookies directly above the burner. For all the cooking I do, I rarely bake so even at 30, I’m learning some essentials. Most of the cookies came out fine.

My Mom didn’t like them; but I hadn’t expected her to. She’s not one to enjoy new things the first time around. However, my nephew, my Dad and my sister all praised the cookies. My mother insisted that Granny never made them and my older sister contradicted her. I suppose we’ll never really know, but I did enjoy making them. I didn’t get to enjoy eating them much because my Dad took them to the office as breakfast biscuits. I suppose he saved me from extra cellulite.

I can’t wait to make some of my mom’s recipes with my own daughter. But, I’ll have the good sense to do it when my Mom is still around. I guess I ought to get moving on the daughter business…

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