Friday, December 07, 2007

Friday Flashback

Middlebury Inn, with Porter House to the left

In December 1997, Scott was working remotely for Middlebury College. They wanted him in Vermont for a meeting, so the day after Christmas, we packed the kids in the car and drove the 12 hours it took to get here. We stayed, as we had always done, at the Middlebury Inn, a beautiful 1827 inn. Unlike previous visits, we were put up in a room in the adjacent Porter Mansion. The kids and I settled in, Scott went to his meetings.

A few weeks earlier I had made some Christmas cookies, but was little down. The cookies I *wanted* had gone un-made. I couldn't find my recipe, and was still in the throes of baby/toddler/preschooler brain fog so there was no way I could just remember it. Mom had it, I know she did because that's where I got it, but no over-the-phone description of these cookies rung her "a-ha!" bell and she not only didn't know where to look, she honestly had no idea what I was talking about. These days were very early-internet for me, and the web was still pretty young. Google didn't exist, and I had no idea how to even begin sorting through the tangle to find a recipe. No cookies. Short of an excavation through mom's recipe drawer, there might never again be cookies! *sob*

So we found ourselves in a quaint, but small, New England town knowing no one, and with little to do. Tori was 4, Simon was 2, a shopping adventure was out of the question. The Inn had some sleds, we played in the snow for a while, but it was cold, and the kids got tired of that soon. We came in, had some hot chocolate with real whipped cream (this place knows how to treat guests), and went back over to the Mansion to see what exactly this place was. The front of the building has a circular staircase, with a small landing on all three floors - a couple of chairs, some board games, stacks of old books. We went up to the top floor - the kids played in the patch of sunlight on the floor, and I picked up a book. I couldn't tell you what it was called, but it was old, with an index card dated 1931 used as a bookmark. I opened to the marked page, and the hair on the back of my neck stood on end. Goosebumps, clammy skin, trembles. Written on that index card bookmark? My cookie recipe.

Chocolate No-bake Cookie recipes are easy to find on the web now, hundreds of them, and many include nuts of some sort. Around here, EVERYone makes them with peanut butter. Mine, just like the ones on the bookmark, have coconut. And I make them every year, but only at Christmas.

Chocolate No-bake Cookies

Measure into heavy saucepan:
2 cups white sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup butter or margarine (must be 100% fat stick margarine, NOT spread)
1/2 cup milk

Bring to boil, and cook, stirring at rolling boil for one full minute. Remove from heat and stir in:
3 cups quick (not instant) rolled oats
1 cup coconut

Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper and allow to cool and set.

Serves 2 ;o)


Tanya Brown said...

I'm so glad you found the recipe! Somehow there are few things crueler than having a much-loved recipe disappear.

dee said...

That's so touching. I've written several times about recipes that my Oma made and now I can't duplicate. Very sweet.

Rose said...

I had never thought of using coconut--sounds delicious. It is just what I need--more calories.

Jeri said...

wow, that was a freaky turn of events...

Quiltnbee said...

Wow, that gave me goosebumps...I have my Mom's recipe for the same cookies; my daughter made them for Mom's wake in her honor...I'm going to try the coconut next time, sounds great...I think I'll make them for Christmas...Thanks for the idea!

julieQ said...

Oh yeah!! Why was I thinking of these cookies this am when I was walking? and there is the recipe on your blog. Thank you!


Molly said...

Wow! That made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! I've been sent to check you out by Becky[of quilters' forum fame and my good friend.] She recognised the recipe. At my house we called them Reindeer Droppings.....and I can't keep the tin full, have to keep popping out another batch, because someone needs some for a friend, or someone just ate the last one. Somewhere back in my Dec. '06 archive there's a post about them.
Becky also noticed you had Polish pottery, like mine. Anyone who loves that stuff can't be all bad.....She also said your blog reminded her of my blog....And when I got here, who was at the top of the comment heap, but good ole tanya Brown. I guess I'll be coming back......