I must have been about 7 or 8 when Mom decided that we should make cookies. I told her I can do that by myself. Mom humored me and said, “Well, how about if I just help with the measuring?”
I thought that would be OK. We set about bringing all the ingredients onto the countertop. Sugar, flour, eggs, and of course peanut butter. Mom diligently “helped” me with the measuring. Which means she did the work and I poured it into the bowl. Mom mixed it because I seemed to get more flour on the floor than stayed in the bowl. When Dad came in from outside and said “let’s go over and talk to George Bailey. I need to ask about those tomato plants you want.”
Mom looked at the bowl of now well-mixed ingredients and decided that I could be left on my own to roll the balls and smoosh them with the fork. She told me to wait until she got back from the Bailey’s before we put them in the oven. I was rolling away to my little heart’s delight, and all on my own!! I was so grown up! I made sure each ball was about the same size, Mom said they would bake better that way. Then came the smooshing. I had seen Mom do it about a hundred times. You but the white stuff in a bowl, dip your fork into it and smoosh. If you have seen the movie “Coal Miners Daughter” you know what is coming next. But keep reading the action is not as important as the REACTION. Mom and Dad got back with fresh knowledge on tomato plants and I was proudly displaying my rolling and smooshing expertise. The looked beautiful and smelled like heaven. Mom poured a cup of coffee for her and Dad. The boys were lured into the kitchen by the smell. So there we were all five of us waiting for the first batch to come out of the oven. The looked perfect – due to my expert smooshing skills no doubt! The boys and Dad dug in right away. Mom and I were holding cookies and we took out just a moment to “toast” our efforts. By the time Dad and the boys tasted the cookies, we knew they were not as perfect as they looked. I think one of the boys even spit it out on the floor, Mom was livid! Then she tasted the cookies. A weak smile came across her face and everyone looked at Dad. He had chewed and swallowed his first bite without a shadow of any mishap. Mom had to tell him “Ronnie don’t eat that you will get sick!”
He just looked at her and said: “All it needs is a little dunk in the coffee.” he went on eating. I was so shocked. My brothers Harvey and Ronald wouldn’t even touch them. I didn’t know what was wrong. Until I tasted my cookie. I look at my Mom like she had done something wrong. She looked back and laughed. “Chrissy, what did you put on those cookies?”
I could feel my eyes starting to well up with tears. I said “I put the white stuff in the bowl – just like you do. And I smooshed them just like you do” by now the tears were rolling down my cheeks. Mom tried to make it OK. She said we should just toss them out for the birds.
My Dad just stated “No way, just put them in my lunch box. The guys at work will be glad to have them.” This came out of his mouth just as a freshly dunked cookie made it in. Mom was sure he would get sick eating that much SALT, yep like I told you. You all knew that was going to happen, didn’t you? So my Dad is dipping away and eating like they really tasted good. So now he has a salty cookie dunked in a cup of coffee which made the coffee salty. But he made it feel like it was a banquet for a king. Mom dutifully packed up a baggie full of salty cookies and put it in his lunch box. My Dad had a metal lunch box with a curved lid. I think those awful cookies filled the whole top of his box. He worked the night shift so he was on his way with the cookies from the salt mines, his thermos was huge I just hope he had enough coffee to wash down those cookies!
My brothers teased me with a mercilessness that was just short of Hitler. But I was just OK because my DADDY liked them. Like I said the act in its self was not as important as the reaction. My Dad was always my hero. I don’t even want to know if he went to work and dumped the cookies. He was so wonderful about anything I made.
Once we were in South Dakota visiting My grandparents. It seemed like it was always time to either cook or wash dishes. But that is the way it goes when you have that many people. One night I was in charge of the mashed potatoes. They should have been instant.
I put too much milk in the pan and when a cousin asked me why so much milk I said: “Well, if we run out of flakes, Dad can go to the store and get some more.”
My Mom said in a low voice “What store? Mitchell?” then it penetrated my 12 year old brain, they didn’t have a grocery or any store for that matter. In Letcher, SD. The town had a population of just a little bit over 100. It didn’t dawn on me that 7-11 wasn’t around the corner. When I put the flakes in the milk, I could tell that the flakes were far more suited to about 1/2 the milk. My Grandpa Moe just looked in and said: “Looks like potato soup tonight!” I found out where my Dad got his talent for being so understanding about kitchen mishaps. I am so thankful that no matter what happens my family will make the best of it! At some point, I need to say that NO, I never did learn to cook. But my peanut butter cookies are now made with a fork full of sugar, not salt. But I will forever remember my Dad eating those awful cookies. Thank-you Dad and Grandpa Moe!! Or maybe I should say Thanks to my Mom and Grandma. They were such good cooks that our men could put up with a little girl’s trying to learn how to cook.