Sunday, May 2, 2010

Comfort foods

My house smells like Thanksgiving.

Ok, not exactly, but there are some serious olfactory memories wafting around my head.

It all started with an amazing grocery store trip (saved more than I spent just shopping the butcher department). Armed with a sense of culinary adventure, I gathered my ingredients. After slaving for hours (cough), I had concocted a meal to please the most facile of palates.

I cooked a chicken.

This was a first for me. I'd never actually cooked a whole chicken. And it was really complicated too. I shoved the whole thing in my slow cooker and mashed some potatoes. But there was something about that aroma permeating every corner of my house today that made me reflect on comfort foods.

Just that phrase "comfort foods" brings a wealth of memories to me.
Thanksgiving feasts.
Toast with hot chocolate.
Raspberry jam.
Homemade bread.
And ginger cookies.

My mom made the best ginger cookies on the planet. Now, don't get confused. I'm talking about ginger COOKIES, not ginger SNAPS. The former are deletable, soft, delicate, with just the right ratio of spice to sweet. The later are rock hard, reek of cheap spices, and are as delicious as cardboard.

I can see her now as she patiently lets my sisters and I roll the dough in sugar, smearing it everywhere. She was always such a great sport. That homey smell bringing back so many memories. I could picture her doing the same thing as a young child with her own mother, generations of moms passing down this perfect recipe.

(That is, until I mentioned one time about Grandma's ginger cookies. Mom looked at me kind of funny and informed me that not only was this recipe from a friend, she hadn't even been making them that long. Fine. Ruin my picturesque daydreams. They are still one of the best cookies ever.)

Ginger Cookies
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar

1/4 cup molasses (dark)

1 egg

2 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp ginger

Cream shortening and sugar. Add molasses and egg. Stir in remaining ingredients. Roll into balls, and then in sugar. Bake @ 350 for 10 minutes

One of my favorite parts about these is they make the perfect circles without any effort. It doesn't matter how malformed my son's blob is, it still turns out beautiful. Ok, when he makes snakes they don't turn round, but if it's remotely spherical, it works.


  1. This made me smile!! I like those cookies too, but I remember when mom got the recipe. I was in my teens and I don't remember ever making them together. (sugar cookies, chocolate chipe peanut butter, yes, but never ginger cookies).

    Your children will have so many baking memories with you! You're one good Momma!

  2. That picture got my sliva glands going. I did get that recipe when one of the Johnson boys, probably Tim (tickle monster to you) went on his mission. They became an instant favorite, thus good memories for you. Loved hearing about it.

  3. These cookies are heavenly and I agree, perfect for Fall. But every once in a while, even seasonal things just have to be made and enjoyed! Thanks for sharing!


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