Thursday, November 4, 2010
Past, Present and the Future on a 3 X 5 Card
Since I was a young child I have been making this recipe for Fudge Cookies (a.k.a. No Bakes). The 3 X 5 card on which it is written is old, discolored, dog-eared and stained--a sure sign of a well-loved recipe. The writing on it is feminine, somewhat jerky, but it does not belong to Harriet Susan Harding Folk, my Grandmother. The name written on it is Mary McCarty. I don't remember my Grandmother talking about her, but I can only assume she was a friend. My Grandmother did say she'd been making that recipe for many many years before I can along, in gasp! 1972.
So why is an old hand-written recipe that's probably from the 1950s important? And how is it even relevant given this fast-paced life we lead where we're perpetually attached to our iPhones, blackberry's and Facebook? Because for me, those recipes and my time baking with my Grandmother represented so many important things, including feeling connected and a sense of accomplishment. Old, well-loved recipes like these represent my past, my family's past as well as a connection to the present and the future. Hopefully I'll be able to pass down some of these recipes to my son and eventually his children.
Even beyond those, baking with my grandmother gave us time to talk about school, life, or just whatever. Nearly every day we had a good 30 minutes to talk while we were making dinner together, or baking something sweet and yummy. In addition, baking at her side improved my fractions, honed my reading skills and taught me basic kitchen safety. She got to tell me a bit about her childhood and what it was like to grow up in the 20s and 30s. It seemed quite insignificant at the time, but looking back, I truly do cherish those memories.
So since my son was little we have cooked and baked together. He has been standing on a stool and running my KitchenAid mixer at least since he was 3 and he's only covered my kitchen once in batter. We get to talk, joke, and connect. Sometimes we talk about school, sometimes we talk about family and sometimes he just makes up recipes in his head that he wants us to try, nearly all of them including chocolate. What he doesn't realize is that like me, he's learning fractions, improved his fine motor skills and improved his reading. He just thinks we're having fun!
Looking forward, I know I am making memories with him that I'll always cherish and hopefully he'll cherish them as well.
Fudge Cookies (a.k.a. No Bakes) courtesy of Mary McCarty
2 cups sugar
1/3 cocoa powder
1/4 cup shortening (i.e., Crisco)
1/2 cup milk
Put everyone listed above into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute and then remove from heat.
Add 1 cup peanut butter and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Stir so that the peanut butter melts. Then stir in 3 cups of oatmeal. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto waxed or parchment paper. Work quickly as the cookies will begin to set as they cool.
So whether you're a baker, a musician, a writer, a hunter, a teacher or whatever, take the time to connect with someone today.