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, while I was in grades seven and eight. Just seeing her name is always an emotional blast from the past.
I didn’t plan to put the recipe in Summer of Fortune, but there it was. (You writers out there know what I mean.)
On the top shelf rested a wooden box. Stretching to her full height she 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?)
What mundane everyday things have inspired you?
Until next time,
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup water
- 2/3 cup butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp each baking powder & baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1 scant tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Cook raisins in water for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside.
- Cream butter, add white and brown sugar.
- Add egg and vanilla.
- Mix together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, cloves and cinnamon.
- Add half the flour mixture to the egg mixture.
- Stir drained dry raisins into remaining flour mixture and then add to egg mixture, mixing only with spoon or hands.
- Bake on ungreased baking sheet for 15 minutes.