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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas Cooking/Baking (not recipes) (10/16/08)

TITLE: Grandma's Christmas Cookies
By Mildred Sheldon


I remember those wonderful cookies my Grandmother made each Christmas for the whole family to enjoy. They were huge and in the small hands of a child, they were gigantic. One cookie was four inches in diameter and about an inch high. She made three different cookies and each was delicious. One was filled with chopped up hickory nuts, brown sugar, raisins and honey. Another had big chunks of hickory nuts and the other was filled with chopped up walnuts. They were big, moist, and chewy and one cookie was all that was needed to fill your sweet tooth.

Grandma loved baking those wonderful cookies although she could not enjoy the fruit of her labor. She had diabetes but she remembered what a delight it was to eat those marvelous confections. Grandma also baked the most marvelous cakes, pies and bread for the holidays. She was a master baker and everything Grandma made was beyond description. She would start about a week before Christmas mixing, baking and putting those cookies into three large empty tins from lard.

She never used a measuring cup or measuring spoons. She just measured everything by using her hand. She started with her big tin dishpan and she would add flour and sugar. Next she took a scoop of lard from the lard tin added that and then whatever else she needed to make those tasty cookies. She never used a cookbook because all her wonderful recipes had been passed down from one generation to the next.

I don’t know if you have ever cracked hickory nuts or not but that was the grandkid’s job and we took it very seriously. Of course, when you took off the outer shell it stained your fingers and turned them brown. We thought that was so funny. You couldn’t wash the stain off. It had to wear off and in time, your fingers returned to their normal color.

Hickory nuts have very hard shells and cracking them is extremely difficult for a child. We sat and patiently picked the sweet nutmeat out of all those tiny hard nuts. Of course, we did eat our fair share. Grandma laughed at us as we worked so diligently on those nuts. We were doing a very important job or at least we thought we were. Grandma made it seem that we were playing a very important role in the making of those magnificent cookies.

On Christmas, the family would gather at our grandparent’s house for Christmas dinner. That was a very special occasion. Grandpapa would kill the biggest plumpest chicken, clean it and give it to grandma who baked that chicken with all the stuffing’s and what a treat. The meat fell off the bones and practically melted in your mouth. The fresh vegetables, mashed potatoes and yams were so delectable. We had to clean our plates in order to get those cookies.

After dinner, the men retired to the living room where Grandma’s worn bible laid on the living room table. We would go into the living room and see the beautiful tree before Grandma would call us to get one of those wonderful cookies and we would go outside with our treats. We would all sit on the big porch and smack our lips as we devoured those cookies. We licked our fingers to make sure we didn’t miss one crumb. After we ate our cookies, we would go back into the big kitchen and stand around grandma’s wood burning stove, the one she used to prepare that Christmas feast and those delicious cookies, to warm our little hands and feet and back outside we would go to play in the snow.

Of course, after dinner was finished the dishes washed and put away the family would visit for a while. When it was time to go home Grandma made sure each child had one of those wonderful cookies to take with them. Grandma’s cookies were one of the most enjoyable treats and each of the grandkids gave grandma a big hug and kiss as we got into the cars for a fun ride home. Grandma made such a fuss over us and you could feel pure sweet love in her hugs.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Marlene Austin10/24/08
Sweet memoir of a beautiful memory. BTW, to "aged" hands, having those hard nuts cracked made the baking MUCH easier, so the job the grandkids did was a BLESSING and VERY important. :)
Joshua Janoski10/27/08
What a special grandmother. I would have loved to get my hands on one of those gigantic cookies. They sound delicious.

Thank you for sharing these special memories with us. This was a joy to read. :)