Saturday, May 17, 2008

Irish good luck cookies

Since I signed up with Netflix a few years back, I have been renting TV shows that were popular during the time I was growing up, which would've been the late fifties and early sixties. So far I’ve managed to view the entire series of “The Rifleman,” “Combat,” and “Route 66.”

For my next series, I rented “The Best of Bonanza, Vol. 1.” Of the episodes watched so far, “The Saga of Annie O’Toole” had a scene with Adam and Annie opening a restaurant, and the scent of her cooking wafting through the air brought in all the miners looking for a good home cooked meal. As I watched that particular scene, it brought me back to a time when my mother would take me over to my aunt’s house to visit with her and my cousins.

Just off the back kitchen door of my aunt’s house was a long, narrow, enclosed porch that served as the playroom for my cousins Sally, Susie and Sandy. Facing southeast with several large windows, the porch, except for cloudy days, was always warm and brightly lit from the sun.

Whenever I came to visit, my cousins never had much for a boy like me to play with. But that never bothered me because my cousins always had something for me to do. Whether it was a walk up the street to get a bag of Fireballs at Carchedi's Store, or a walk to the Commons to play hide and seek, I never felt bored or out of place.

My cousin, Sandy, was especially creative, and her imagination was without boundaries. She had a play stove that was her favorite toy. Made from wood, its top had four mock burners painted black on a white surface. It also came complete with an oven that had a temperature control dial painted red just above the door.

Most times when I came to visit, I knew just what Sandy wanted to do. She was the Betty Crocker of mud pies. And I was the one who she always picked first to taste test her inventive goodies. Sometimes she even let me help her make the batter. One particular Saturday morning she had something really different in mind. “Ever have Irish Good Luck Cookies?” she asked as she swept back her long, brown hair with her mud caked hand.

“Nope,” I replied.

“Well, good,” she said. “You can help me gather up some of the ingredients I’ll need.”

Her recipe called for 2 cups of dirt, 1 cup of sand, a half-cup of small pebbles, three cups of water, and a half-cup of clover. In picking the clover, she asked if I would look especially hard for a four-leaf clover. “Mixing one of those in will make our batch more powerful and will bring the best of luck to us,” she said.

After gathering the ingredients, she mixed them together in a large stainless steel bowl that was used as a water dish by their neighbor's dog, Troubles. She had me help her shape the batter into the size cookie she wanted. We made a dozen and then placed them on her cookie sheet. After putting them into the oven to bake, she set the temperature at 350 degrees. She then set her pretend timer for twenty minutes, but I don’t think we ever left them in there for more than five.

When they were done, she removed them from the cookie sheet and placed them on a large, chipped blue plate, ready to be served. Of course we never really ate them but it was a lot of fun pretending.

After we finished, I helped her clean up the mixing bowl, cookie sheet and serving plate. It wasn’t too long after that before you began to get a whiff of real chocolate wafting from the kitchen window. I knew it wouldn’t be too long before my aunt called us all in for lunch. We washed up and then sat down to the table for grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, and for dessert, the best homemade chocolate chip cookies you could ever eat.

By S. L. Cunningham


Lorna said...

That post was so evocative of the wonderful, creative, innocent, days of childhood, when you could experience anything you could think of, just by thinking of it.

Unknown said...

Your post brought back good memories for me, Scot. :) Every once in a great while, I've thought about renting Little House on the Prairie and The Cosby Show Netflix. But I live in a house full of men who find these shows unbearably corny.

S L Cunningham said...

Lorna, Deborah:

Thanks for stopping by. In many ways, old movies and TV shows have a way of helping me rediscover the lens I looked at the world with when I was young. In an odd way, I suppose, it helps me regain perspective with the world I'm in now.


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