I would venture to guess that most Americans have some sort of emotional baggage attached to cookies: they make you fat, they make you sick, they test your self control, they make you cry…
Yes. At least, during the holidays, they do.
Both of my grandmothers were the kind of cooks you expect housewives to be: masters (or mistresses, I should say) of comfort food and solid bakers. Neither would have won national acclaim for their craft, but both could sooth a homesick Lola, or ease my teen angst with a cup of soup or an expertly-concocted casserole.
I think about my grandmothers often. NeNe (pronounced “knee-knee”) has been gone for almost six years, Grandma for over two. My relationship with each of them was different, but I loved… love… them both deeply. And they each had a recipe for a cookie that, when they made them, it felt like they were making the cookies just for me: our little baked secret.
Grandma’s Sugar Cookies
Nobody made sugar cookies like my Grandma. Well, except for Pillsbury. Fortunately, Grandma clearly marked the 3″x5″ card on which she wrote the recipe, so there won’t be any issues like this Friends episode…
But even though the recipe had a Pillsbury origin, nothing can replace my memories of making cookies for “Santa” with Grandma every year. And, I swear, hers tasted just a bit different than anyone else’s. I guess love just tastes better.
NeNe’s Kiss Cookies
At the time, I had no idea how ubiquitous these cookies were. Truly, I thought NeNe was a baking wizard, and that this was her own recipe, one that she developed just for me. But I don’t blame her for not reinventing the wheel. Heck, why would you? These are awesome! She made hers without peanut butter, though; her cookie was a sugar cookie.
Before today, I’m pretty sure I haven’t had a Kiss cookie since her death. And as I sat at my desk looking at it, and it looked back at me, a nostalgic shitstorm erupted in my head.
All from a cookie.