There’s something so appealing about an oatmeal cookie. I make a pretty good homemade one, sometimes plain, sometimes with chocolate or butterscotch chips, but my cookies still can’t beat the store bought Dad’s Oatmeal Cookie. There must be some secret ingredient because they have a taste all their own.
I recognize that there’s a memory factor in liking this cookie, not from my father but from the kid’s Dad. These were my husband’s favourite cookie and I remember how he would have a cup of tea and dunk that cookie. Funny how every time I see that distinctive yellow box I think of him. The kids must have the same memory, as that cookie is ranked amongst their favourites too.
I went shopping at Costco recently and bought a couple of the jumbo sized boxes of Dad’s Cookies, with 48 packages of two cookies each. They’re great for work and school lunches. Before I gave my daughter her box, I pinched a couple of packs to enjoy with my coffee, and dunked away. It was funny watching the kids’ response, almost identical, a shy smile and an admission they loved that particular brand of snack.
How many of our favourite foods are associated with a person or a specific activity? Comfort foods, I think they’re called.
Top of the list for me would be my Mom’s stew, made in a pressure cooker. The only person who can make it like Mom is my sister-in-law, she owns a pressure cooker. Mom also used to make a thick chili and served it over mashed potatoes, another family favourite.
My Mom wasn’t a baker, and had to listen to my Dad call store bought cookies ‘cardboard”. I can hear him even now, “Faye, have we got any of those cardboard cookies?” She’d give him that disgusted smirk, and get up and bring him back a fresh coffee and a cookie. I thank my Dad for my love of baking; he was my first taste tester.
Dad’s claim to fame was his spaghetti sauce and homemade meatballs. He bought fresh spices at some little Italian store downtown, and brought them home in a small brown paper bags. He’d start the sauce on a Friday night and Saturday would make the meatballs adding them to the sauce which would simmer throughout the day. We’d finally get to eat it on Sunday, with a lot fewer meatballs than first were added to the sauce. Dad was a firm believer in taste testing.
Then there’s the homemade potato soup, grilled peanut butter and jam sandwiches, and open faced cheese sandwiches toasted under the broiler.
I hope the kids and grandkids have fond memories of good times with me and my cooking. Top of the list for the grandkids would be my cinnamon buns, and more recently my donut muffins. Every Christmas I try to make a mixture of their favourite sweets and squares.
For my children, their favourites are Beef Stroganoff and Shepherd’s Pie, oh yeah, and Dijon Chicken. For a sweet their choice would be butter tarts.
These are all good memories; after all, what’s better than getting together with friends and family for some good food and companionship. And what’s better than having something to eat and being warmed by the memories of people we have loved and lost.