It is a major triumph to make a plan AND successfully execute it.
by Kay Marner
Aaron has “Pioneer Day” today at school, and last night he needed to prepare period-specific food, wrapped in waxed paper (no baggies) in a metal lunch pail, made from a coffee can, covered with a red and white checkered dish towel. He had a list of acceptable foods — and chose beef jerky, two biscuits with butter and jam, and root beer in an old-fashioned glass bottle. Cookies were on the list, but they had to be homemade.
"Does that mean it's okay as long as we bake them, like from a mix, or do they have to be from scratch?” I asked Aaron, via cell phone, on my way home from work. It was a weeknight, I had to make supper, make sure both kids did homework... how would Aaron and I make cookies with Natalie around?
This called for some planning. I grabbed groceries on the way home from work, before picking Natalie up from daycare. Went home, set the butter out to soften. Made supper while Natalie played with a friend outside (I found out later that she was actually tearing open bags of garbage in the garage, and rescuing cardboard pizza boxes, among other treasures, but that’s another story). Ate supper, fed Nat and Aaron and Nat’s friend (She's ten years old! Wouldn't you think she'd say something when Nat started pillaging the damn garbage?) Took Nat and friends to the park. ("No, Natalie isn't allowed to go to the park without an adult. Is your mom going? Okay, I'll go with you.")
When we came back from the park around 7:15, Don was home from work. "Will you help Natalie plant her garden while I help Aaron make cookies?"
Aaron and I made sugar cookies from scratch, working together on every single step. I showed him how to roll the dough into balls, dip each one in water, then sugar, and press down with the tines of a fork, in two different directions, to make a pattern on the cookies’ surface. The cookies turned out beautifully — brown on the bottom, shiny and sugary on top, soft in the middle. “This recipe is from your Grandma Cindy's (my deceased, much-loved stepmother — Cindy Timm Goodhart Kaloupek's) family,” I told Aaron. I thought of Cindy, and my mother (Miriam Natalie Kaloupek, also deceased) and how much they would have loved Aaron and Natalie.
Don, in the meantime, recruited our neighbors, Bob and Chris, to help him and Natalie plant her garden. The three adults and one highly motivating activity kept Nat happily occupied — except for a brief invasion of the house to grab Smokey, our cat, and show him the garden. Afterwards, Nat ate some cookie dough, and never even complained that she didn’t get to crack open the eggs.
What a great night — quality time with Aaron. I wish I had more of it.
(Mmm... what a great cookie... I wish I had...)
St. John’s Lutheran Church Cookbook, Tama, Iowa, printed in 1985
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
3 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Chill before rolling and cutting with cookie cutters. Bake at 350 on ungreased cookie sheet.
(Aaron and I chilled dough, formed into 1 inch balls, dipped in water and sugar, flattened with tines of fork in two directions, and baked for 12 minutes. My rolling pin and cookie cutters are in the Play-Doh bin!)