Opinion

Cooky memories: Why moms hate flour

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I get these wild hairs. I will suddenly decide that I must compel

my children to relive some fond memory from my past. I get these wild

hairs about twice a year. I spend the rest of the year convalescing.

My latest craze is to recreate cookies I made as a kid. Not just any

cookies but stained glass cookies. Don't ask me why I remember these cookies.

My sainted mother never baked a cookie in her life. She had her mother for that.

But I swear that at one time in my distant childhood I made these

cookies, and I am determined to make them with my little darlings.

To make stained glass cookies, first you must make gingerbread dough.

So off I go to make gingerbread dough. Only the first recipe I start has

you cooking the ingredients on the stove. Forget that, there has to be an

easier way. So I flip through another recipe book and start making a different

gingerbread recipe. In the meantime, the little darlings are discovering the

laws of centrifugal force … by turning on the electric beaters into a bowl

of molasses and eggs. My kitchen is now covered in a coating of gunk that

hardens to near cement. My, am I having fun.

I am going to make these cookies if it kills us all. Onward we forge

until the very end when as I beat the dough, I realize that it is way too thin

for cookie dough … oh yes, you guessed it. I now have ginger

bread dough. Well, when you have lemons,

you make lemonade; and when you have cake dough, you make cake … I

toss the dough in a pan and into the oven as my children laugh convulsively

on the counter. Nothing worse than a smart-alecky six-year-old asking

"are you sure you have the right recipe now, mom?"

I need to digress here. Whoever decided that cooking with kids was

a fun and enjoyable experience? Norman Rockwell? Well, let me

tell you something. He was a painter, not a mom. Cooking with kids is one

big disaster after another. Kind of like the Titanic only without

Leonardo DiCaprio.

But, I am nothing if not relentless in the face of failure. Once I

secured the correct recipe, the fun began. Again. First the kids have to fight

over who gets to pour ingredients into the bowl … nothing like two kids

fighting over a full cup of molasses to really get a mom's attention. I

respond in just the same way my mother did, "CUT IT OUT NOW OR I

WILL BREAK BOTH YOUR LEGS!" Just warms you all over, doesn't it?

We proceed on down the list until we get to the really cool part.

Flour. Kids love flour. It is soft and powdery. Just touch it and it floats. Flour is

cool. Moms hate flour. Flour is soft and powdery and it sticks to everything

it touches. The kitchen and both kids are so covered in flour it looks like a

National Geographic special on Antarctica with our black dog imitating

a polar bear.

The second phase of stained glass cookies is the glass part. You make

the glass out of hard candy you buy in bulk. The little darlings sort it by

color, peel the wrapper and pound it into submission with a hammer. I am

sure when I am old and gray (I know, I am gray now), I will look back at

where they smashed the tile in my kitchen with fond memories; but right

about now I am consumed with rage. But, I promised myself that me and my

kids were going to have a beautiful experience making these stupid cookies,

and doggoned if I am stopping now!

All that is left is to roll out the dough into "snakes," wrap them

into circles, fill the hole with candy, and bake. Only the little darlings

don't want to do that. They want to stick their grubby little fists into the

candy and lick it off their fingers. Then they take the dough and mash it into a

ball and stuff bits of candy all over it.

My last illusion of dainty little stained glass cookies is gone. I

wave the white flag, a flour choked dish cloth, and give in. I bake the little

darlings' creations. I pulled them out of the oven and they were, well I have

to admit it, pretty. The candy had melted into a glaze over the gingerbread.

An even bigger bonus is that they taste great. Kind of like a cookie with

candy icing. Hey, these are kind of cool … maybe we could make these again

next weekend? Hey, kids what do you think?

Kate Russell lives between Carnation and Duvall. You can reach

her at Katemo1@msn.com

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