A story is woven from the threads of a writer’s life.
The recipe for Children’s Delight cookies has been in my recipe binder forever. Just looking at the old card, written in my mother’s scrawl, brings back a rush of memories. The recipe card is stained and had comments written in after the fact (more butter!). And up in the corner, in brackets it says “Raylene Ewing”
Raylene was my good friend in Toronto when I was in grades seven and eight. Just seeing her name is an emotional blast from the past.
I didn’t plan to put the recipe in Summer of Fortune, but suddenly, there it was.
On the top shelf rested a wooden box. Stretching to her full height Maddie carefully brought it down, wiping the dust from the top. She held it in one hand, studying the scenes of the lake carved into the lid. Inside, yellowing recipe cards were written in a spidery hand: Sunday Blackberry Cake, October Relish, Children’s Delight Cookies.
An old fashioned drop cookie, they make the kitchen smell like cinnamon and cloves, an aroma that, in the story, comes to introduce the presence of Aunt Augusta the previous owner of the cabin who is, ahem, no longer with us.
The recipe also provides an introduction to Maddie’s backstory.
Maddie didn’t have any hand-me-down recipes. Most of hers came from magazines. These recipe names conjured up visions of a woman in an apron with streaks of flour on her face, like a character in an old movie. Her own mother had never cooked and Maddie was sure she didn’t own an apron. She had spent most of her time on the couch, watching her soaps with a beer in her hand.
Maddie inhaled deeply the unfamiliar scent of cinnamon and cloves that lingered in the box, and then, closing the lid, she placed the box on the windowsill over the sink where she could admire the carving.
Maddie ended up making the cookies, again and again, a sensory lure her handsome landlord couldn’t resist and a symbol of her move to another kind of life.
Here’s the recipe. Enjoy! (Are you out there Raylene?)