Melting moment memories

We called them cookies, but they were in fact melting moments; I wrote about the memories family recipes conjure as you read them and make them again, and the memories of people who are no longer with us who gave you the recipe, or made it for you…

My mum always made the cakes, biscuits, cookies and buns which we ate as children – well she made just about everything els too! The bun tins were always full of something nice, and I have a real and very strange but totally understandable love of stale things… When mum had made something new, sometimes there was a lingering chocolate bun, piece of coffee and walnut cake, mince-pie, or cookie in the tin she was going to put the new batch in… and it would be an unexpected treat… maybe it was my undoing in terms of putting on weight!!

Looking at the recipe again, I’m transported back to our small kitchen, completely square as I remember it, with the back door leading into the garden flanked by two windows. there were tall cupboards either side of the windows, a table and chairs in the middle, a metal cabinet with drawer for food and implements, a sink along the outside wall with some sort of gas boiler to heat the water… and then there is a gap in my memory which matches the gap between the sink and the corner cupboard…

My mum was a speedy, efficient and brilliant cook, everything she made was perfectly cooked, pastry as light as a feather and crisp, cakes risen as if by magic, everything full of flavour… and yet we weren’t well off, she used the cheapest ingredients, including lard in the melting moment recipe… but you could substitute vegetable whitening, e.g. TREX or Flora:

My mum’s cookies

  • 2 1/2 oz lard
  • 1 1/2 oz margarine
  • 3 oz caster sugar
  • 5 oz self-raising flour
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • quartered glacé cherries
  1. cream fats and sugar, add beaten egg
  2. work in the flour and the essence
  3. roll into balls with wet hands and coat with oats
  4. slightly flatten, place on greased tray, decorate with a piece of cherry
  5. bake for 15-20 mins reg 5, 375F, 190C

Try to resist eating them when they are still warm, or eating all of them at once when they are cool… remember they are also good when slightly stale, so my five year-old self says!!

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