Women in the Family, My Story – part two

The Cookie Bakers

My Grandmother Mildred and her sisters, Clara, Edith, Jessie, and Alice were all wonderful cooks.  Baking though, was where they excelled.  Born and raised on a farm in Nebraska, the girls worked in the house with my Great Grandmother Gertie; and my Uncles Brub and Babe worked the farm with my Great Grandfather Simon.

When I was a little girl, I remember hearing the Aunts praise one another’s cooking and baking skills and they all seemed to have specialties.  I suspect there was sisterly competition between them; but they kept it friendly and sweet.

All of the family except my Aunt Sis (Clara) moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and I’m sure the kids pined for her when they left her in Nebraska.  I like to imagine that they continued to trade cooking and baking secrets across the miles as a way to keep up with one another.  Some of the cards that I’ve found cite “Mom’s Oatmeal Ice Box Cookies,” or “Mil’s Cheese Ball,” or “Jessie’s Sour Cream Fudge.” The recipes are tangible evidence of their existence and expertise.  I don’t know how many generations of Michaelson women have added to the collection but some of the recipes seem as though they might be quite old.

***

By the time I came along, Aunt Dee Dee was baking most of the cookies herself for Christmas with the family.  It was quite a coup to be gifted one of those boxes; and everyone wanted their own! My family was lucky to receive cookie boxes for several years before she became too elderly to bake.  Cream Cheese Cookies, Haystacks, Dreambars, Divinity Fudge.  Sigh.

This last January, my Aunt Dee Dee celebrated her 98th birthday in the care facility where she lives. She is the last living child of Simon and Gertie and we thought she was the last of the Michaelson Cookie Bakers.  It has been years since Aunt Dee Dee was able to bake or even talk about her cookies. At her birthday party, I was given her card file stuffed with all the dishes and desserts the sisters had prepared for the family  since they were old enough to cook.

As soon as I saw the recipes, I knew they needed to be preserved and shared with family and friends.  I’m not much of a baker myself but my daughter bakes and other family members do too!   I’m excited to see who the new Cookie Bakers will be and what they will add to our family tradition.

***

My sister Linda and I made a date with our cousin Sue (Aunt Jessie’s daughter) and her kids. We got together for lunch and a visit with plans to swap photos and recipes.  Sue surprised us by making Angel Ball cookies.  Drowning in powdered sugar,  they were delicious and full of something much more than  just sweet taste.

I had never before associated emotions with cookies.  But one bite and Linda and I both  got a little teary eyed. Neither of us expected to have these cookies again.  The experience was astonishing to us both and how strangely important it suddenly seemed. We understood it wasn’t really about the cookies.  It was about reconnecting with family and revisiting memories of  our wonderful Aunts and Uncles and Grandparents.

***

This couldn’t be complete without my acknowledging the love and gratitude I feel for these women.  And it wouldn’t be complete without a recipe.

***

Rich Butter Cookies – Preheat Oven to 350.

2 cups Butter, 3/4 cup Sugar, 1 Egg, 1/4 teaspoon Almond Extract, 3 cups of Flour, 1/4 teaspoon Salt.

Cream Butter, Sugar, and add Egg and Almond Extract.

 Add Flour and Salt.

Mix until Soft Dough is formed.

Chill.

Roll Dough quite thin and cut with cookie cutters.

Bake on Ungreased Cookies Sheets for 8 minutes.

 

AmyLee 02 18 2016

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About amosgirl

Now that I'm a grownup, I'm learning to use my words. The stories of my life and my family began as an expression of my love. Please enjoy - I hope they make you smile.
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13 Responses to Women in the Family, My Story – part two

  1. LT says:

    A very nice post, nostalgic i could picture every word you wrote. I’m just craving for a cookie now 🙂 … keep up the good work … All the best

    Liked by 1 person

  2. amosgirl says:

    thank you kindly!

    Like

  3. nadishaf says:

    Beautifully written!! Simply enjoyed your post and I was also picturising each and every word 😊….
    I love to cook and bake…..more than that to enjoy having those I make!! I am craving for cookiess now and gonna preheated my oven right now 😉
    Why don’t you add some pictures of cookies in the post???

    Liked by 1 person

    • amosgirl says:

      Thank you Nadishaf! As I bake the cookies, I will add photos. That’s a fabulous idea. My daughter is a stupendous baker and I’ve asked her to help me test these recipes. I say test because my grandmother and the aunts had some of them written down oddly. Some of the steps were missing and some of the abbreviations were unreadable. They were all sisters so they knew what they were doing but the recipes now have to be translated. Instead of being upset by this, I feel it’s part of the love and family mystery.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very well explained for better understanding. I have a question can this recipe be made without eggs?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. amosgirl says:

    thank you Megha. I am not sure about skipping the eggs. You could try it I guess? Thank you for visiting my site!

    Like

  6. Chris Lindstrom says:

    What a heartfelt treat, Amy, to read this story of my aunts cooking skills and how they emotionally connected our Michaelson family! Those family get togethers are at the top of the list of my best memories as a child. I know my father, Babe, was in heaven being with his beloved sisters and brother along with all his dear nieces and nephews. He lived for their delicious food, especially since my mother wasn’t the most innovative cook on the block! Nowadays, we women tend to not be at home as much with that amount of time or inclination to bake goodies for our families as they were back in the 50s’, 60s, and 70s, so keeping these family recipes alive and cooking in our kitchens today is a worthwhile ambition, dear cousin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • amosgirl says:

      I’m so happy to see you here on my blog Christine! I’m been transcribing the recipes and will happily share them with you once complete. A little slower than I had imagined but I will get it done.

      Like

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