Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sweet Memories

The flavor of a treat is enhanced when it not only brings back memories but also pleases the recipient (and the cook, of course). 

I have been visiting my Mother and will be here a few more days.  She isn’t as mobile as she used to be and doesn’t hear well so our entertainment options together are limited.  I don’t watch TV and she has a hard time understanding it so even movies are out of the question (I rented movies from the library and I messed up her cable so I gave up on that after spending 45 minutes on the phone with the cable company). 

I love to cook so I have been enjoying fixing healthy lunches and dinners each day.  We both prefer to eat less at night, so my dinner efforts have consisted of washing berries and scooping plain yogurt out of a container or making salads.  Lunches have been a bit more involved, but very simple and with fresh ingredients. 

Maybe it is because I am from the South, but cooking has always been a special way to show love and caring.  And it is a great way to make memories - because it feeds so many senses.  

Today was hot and humid and when thunderstorms began in the early afternoon, it was the perfect environment for a nap – or feeding the senses.  I chose to keep us awake with iced coffee and bake  SNICKERDOODLES.  It was a way to show my Mother I love her and we could be fed by the aroma and deliciousness of these morsels of wonderfulness. 

Mother made plenty of batches of sweet treats when I was a little girl.  I remember so well those great smells welcoming me as I came in the door after school.  Today I wanted to return the favor and feed her senses.

Snickerdoodles are my special cookie, introduced by one of my Kentucky aunts when I was visiting her during my childhood.  I made them for my boys and they always meet the good cookie requirements:  simple preparation; available ingredients; great taste right out of the oven; and wonderful smell while baking.

Mother had all of the ingredients except for shortening (I used butter instead) and I had a good time making the dough.  Mother of course needed to taste it to make sure it was good.  Then I made the little dough balls and rolled them in sugar and cinnamon. As soon as the first batch went in the oven, the house started to smell wonderful.  Mother even commented on how aromatic they were.

I loved taking her a small plate of the first batch of my creations.  She polished them all off and wandered in the kitchen for more.  We didn’t do a lot of talking during those few hours of baking, but we communicated plenty. 

Probably the best part of all was after the last batch was cooling on the racks, the kitchen clean, and I was sitting down to enjoy a cookie with the remainder of my iced coffee.  Mother zipped into the kitchen, put some snickerdoodles in a bag and called to me as the front door was closing, “I’m taking some of your cookies to my neighbor.” That told me that she not only liked what I made but she was proud enough to share them with someone who also needed to feel special and taste something savory on a hot, stormy Sunday afternoon.


1 1/2
Cups sugar
Cup butter or margarine, softened
Cup shortening
2 3/4
Cups flour
teaspoons cream of tartar
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon salt
Cup sugar
teaspoons ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 400ºF.
  • ·      Mix 1 1/2 Cups sugar, the butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl.
  • ·      Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
  • ·      Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls.
  • ·      Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon.
  • ·      Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  • ·      Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Makes about 36 cookies