Musing: Cookie Love and Frugal Traditions

Grandma Cheryl and WOW Grandchildren.

Oct 1: Homemade Cookies Frugal Fun
Food of the Day for Year Goal
Day: 87

Just the thought of homemade cookies invokes that visceral, comforting thought of home, sweet home, do they not? Whether you came home like ‘The Beaver’ to a warm plate of cookies after school,

or you pop refrigerated, ready-made dough into the oven late at night,

fresh cookies just make a person feel warm and cozy . . . with milk, don’t forget the milk!

Let’s muse . . .

When I was growing up, my mom was a cookie-making machine at Christmas time. She made chocolate chip, sugar, peanut butter (sometimes with Hershey kisses), and snow ball cookies — keeping it simple kept the gift budget manageable. My brother and I helped mom make cookies every weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Christmas music played, card tables created extra work space in the kitchen, bowls and spoons piled high, and ingredients flowed over. Mom probably only spent about $50 a year on cookie ingredients, but the time she spent with us making batch after batch of cookies was priceless. One of her biggest cookie-making triumphs was finding a store called Cheryl’s Cookies. She talked them into selling her empty cookie tins, so HER cookies could be sent out in tins bearing the correct spelling of HER name. I still have those tins twenty-five years later!

Everyone loved mom’s delicious holiday cookies. Her not-so-secret ingredients were, of course, time and love.

As I approach the first anniversary of my mom’s death, I find my fondest memories with Mom are the simple ones: baking cookies, spending the day playing board games in our pajamas, building forts in the living room, and having a house full of friends over for potlucks. These kinds of memories with my own mom growing up have helped me keep in mind the memories I want to weave for my own five children.

Bake a Batch of Cookies Day and Frugal Day fall on the same day, so I decided to add some memories to my children’s memory chest for the price of cookie ingredients. We made a batch of cookies together and played board games in our jammies. There were giggles and grins as we tumbled together —creating what I will hope will be lasting childhood memories.

Celebrating Frugal Day together as a family reminded me of what a good time we could have together without spending a fortune. As the holiday season quickly approaches, I’m focusing my energy on celebrating simply and mindfully, keeping in mind that time spent together is the most valuable gift of all.

A few years ago, we started a tradition called the 12 days of baking (December 12 – 24) Each family member chooses a candy, cookie, bread, or pie recipe for us to make together. Each night, we make a batch or two of the chosen recipe and package them as gifts for loved ones.

My children are so proud when we make the recipe they have chosen. The gleam in their eyes is very familiar . . . it’s the same gleam I had in my eyes when I baked cookies next to my mom.

Cheryl’s Cookies is opening a location in my home town, and I’m pretty sure my mom’s smile is going to light up heaven when I buy a tin or two for our holiday baking this year.

Muse with us! Share your cookie memories.. . Odd Love Company.

9 thoughts on “Musing: Cookie Love and Frugal Traditions

  1. What a great story or love and tradition. I’m not one of those people who think simple is always better but when it comes to families and kids…time is priceless.

    I love the peanut butter chocolate chip kiss cookie and of-course chocolate chip cookies.

  2. I use to make candy with my mom every year at the holidays. We would spend the weekends making Fudge, Divinity. and peppermint puffs. It was fun and I loved the time we spent in the kitchen together. My brother was not interested so it was just mom and me. The candy tradition stayed with my childhood but my kids and I do make lots of cookies–usually its just the cut and bake with sprinkles or icing. I went to a cookie share last year and walked away with some great recipes unfortunately my kids walked away knowing there was a whole unexplored cookie world I had not introduced them too.
    Thanks for bringing back some fun memories.

  3. I absolutely agree that time spent together, experiences and building memories will leave a part of you and a part of each other in your kids. I plan to take your idea of celebrating simply and mindfully this season as well. I don’t want to get caught up in the commercialism and pressure to spend and go and do. I want to stay home and bake cookies. Lovely muse Emily, especially in honor of your precious mom. 🙂

  4. Emily your story is very dear and well written. I thank you for your contribution. My mother made us homemade cookies everyday for our lunch it was a standard butter cookie. She made us homemade soup too. I’m sure I connected comfort with cooking and this is why I never think of it as a chore but something good. My children love to make all sorts of treats when they come home for the holidays and you’re so right it makes you feel good to do it together. My oldest is 24 and she giggles with her 22 year old brother as if she was ten and all that happens in the kitchen where we cook and play Monopoly. These moments are the best and yes I believe the spirit of joy in the home reaches all the way to heaven and back again onto the next generation.

  5. Hi Emily, what a gorgeous story! My fondest memories are also of my mother baking, but unfortunately she enjoyed it the most in the early hours of 5-6 in the morning, 9 times out of ten I was usually still slumbering in my bed. However I would wake to the wonderful fresh smells of home baked cookies, pasta (not baked, of course) and pastries. I marvelled at her expertise, prodded and poked the strips of pastry on the floured boards. Then tasted a sample of everything she had so lovingly prepared that morning. Somehow I never picked up her wonderful baking skills and today I’m more likely to buy a packaged slice or pack of cookies from the store. I wish I had paid more attention, I wish I had woken up earlier, so in saying that, I’m so glad that you have those loving memories of baking with your mom and that you are carrying on this wonderful tradition with your own children. (Thankgoodness my mother in law has shown my children that cookies don’t always come out of a box) There is still hope 😉

  6. Loved this, Emily. I sure loved your mom’s Christmas cookies every year, and how well I remember when she found the “Cheryl’s Cookies” tins! Mom and Auntie Cherie always talked about “Nanny Butch’s” cookies, and how excited they were to receive them when they were children. Mom said Nanny Butch made the “old-fashioned” sugar cookies usually decorated with a brightly-colored icing. She always brought a big box when she and Butch came to visit (by train) each Christmas. Wishing you lots of happy “sweet” cookie baking memories this year!

  7. I love this pic, Emily. I also have fond memories of cooking with her. (And buying all the stuff she sold! 🙂 )

    “I’m focusing my energy on celebrating simply and mindfully, keeping in mind that time spent together is the most valuable gift of all.”
    You are such a wise lady!
    Your Momma taught me so much- in some ways, we were very different- in other ways, our hearts beat to the same drumroll! 😉
    When my boys share their favorite childhood memories, it’s funny, but not ONE favorite story includes the Playstation (that we scrimped and saved for), or the expensive sneakers that wanted so badly, and we sacrified and purchased for them. Their fondest memories included things like “flying” down our 17-step staircase in their sleeping bags…over and over….or Sunday dinners at Grandmas, family get-togethers, riding bikes, etc. WIsh I would have known then what I know now- it would have saved me some stress.

    You are blessed to have learned this lesson while they are all young!

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