Monday, February 14, 2011
NOT CUT OUT FOR LOVE
~Sir Walter Scott~
Way back in the olden days, when there were still wolves in England, to quote Dylan Thomas, I had the misfortune to be the object of affection of a little "farm boy". I'm ashamed to say, my fourth grade sophistication manifested itself in an incredible snobbery against farm boys. And this boy wasn't just any old farm boy, he was an orphan that lived with his grandmother. Which was apparent by his apparel; dungarees (am I showing my age by knowing that term?) and brown work boots, which often held the remnants of things found in the barn. Pity to those that had to sit by him! His name was Robert, by the way, not Bobby or Rob, but Robert.
Each recess, we would play "boys catch the girls", except when we were playing "girls catch the boys". How I wanted that cute little boy, Kenny, to catch me, but no, Robert always staked his claim on me and made it clear that any challenges to his claim would be dealt with after school.
To farther add to my misery, Valentine's Day was approaching, and I was selected to bring cookies. Now, many of you have fond memories of the wonderful delicacies that came from your mothers' kitchens, but while my mother had many wonderful talents, cooking and baking were not one of them. The only cookie recipe she ever used was a recipe called Rocks from the old Searchlight cookbook. And the certainly lived up to their names! Were they named that because the wear as heavy as one, or because the had an ugly gray tint to them? To top it all off, they were chock full of nuts and raisins and had the texture of thick wallpaper paste. No wonder my sisters and I preferred snacks of ketchup sandwiches and raw potatoes!
Well, Valentine's Day dawned and I went downstairs to breakfast only to discover that my mother had completely forgotten about making cookies for the party. Hope springs eternal, and for a moment I held to the hope that she would go to Schafer's Bakery and buy some of those lovely little tea cookies. She assured me that she would have cookies for me by the time the party was to start, and sent me on my way.
Exactly one half hour before school dismissed, our Valentines party commenced. Still no sign of my mother. I was hopeful that she had forgotten. The girl that was selected to bring cookies for her side of the room, began to distribute her cookies. Fancy cut-out cookies, frosted in pink icing with candy hearts in the center. Then there was a knock at the door. My mother. I took the box from her, a box that was as heavy as, well, a box of rocks. My heart sank, I knew what was inside.
As I placed a cookie on the first desk, I heard a collective "EWW!" from my side of the room. I felt their pain, who would want a rock, when you could have a lovely pink confection? Oh the misfortune to have been on my side of the room! Most the kids just flat out refused the cookies, but the teacher lectured them about manners, so they were stuck with the gray, gluey blobs.
But then miracles of miracles! Robert spoke up. He said that they were his favorite cookies and he'd trade his wonderful cookie for one of my cookies. The dear sweet liar! There was a near riot as the boys and girls tried to be the first to his desk. Those that didn't make it there first, just dropped their cookies on his desk. He traded some of his Valentines for those. That at least, appeased the angry mob. Such chivalry from my little orphaned farm boy! The next time we played "boys catch the girls", I let him "catch" me. By the way, I got over my farm boy snobbery, when I met and fell in love with one at first sight. We've been married for thirty-two years.
Even if you are domestically challenged, you can make these easy drop sugar cookies. If you frost them with pink frosting, you might even impress a fourth grader. Here's the recipe:
Drop Sugar Cookies
2 1/2 C. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 C. butter
1/2 C. shortening
1 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. milk
Cream together butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool and frost with your favorite icing.
So what does all of this have to do with thrift? Even if you are as poor as a church mouse, you can still enjoy the little holidays that make life fun. It doesn't cost much to make these cookies. Why not bake up a batch and bring them to someone that is alone this holiday? You can serve a loved one breakfast in bed. Even if all you can afford is soup and bread for dinner, you can serve it by candlelight. Enjoy the little things in life. You never know when you are making a memory. Have a happy Valentine's Day!