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Friday, December 9, 2011

The Ginger Cookie Connection

If you're here reading this post because you followed the link on my other blog, I need to include a bit of an introduction to what follows. For the record, the Mr and I have known each other far longer than the 30+ years that we've been together.  He was my older brother's best buddy and his sister and I were great friends as well. We all grew up together and yes, there was a time when we could barely stand to be in the same room together. But, as is the case with many things in life, feelings change and kids grow up to discover that sometimes the very things that you never would have expected to happen, well... happen. Hence, The Ginger Cookie Connection.

When I think back on my childhood, there's certainly no shortage of wonderful memories. Summers were spent riding bikes, playing kickball and spending hours and hours swimming in the beautiful lakes that dot the landscape of the Adirondack foothills and Southwestern Vermont. One of my fondest food related memories, is of an older couple who had a small farm along one of the roads leading North to Lake George.

Every summer, the farmer's wife would make batch after batch of chewy, sugary Ginger Cookies and sell them in small brown bags, rolled tightly shut at the top, out of a weathered old farmstand at the side of the road. If you were lucky enough to get there at just the right time of day, they'd still be warm and their spicy, sweet fragrance would hit you as soon as she handed over the bag.

Since most households back in the late 60's and early 70's had only one car and very few families had a pool, our mothers took turns hauling half the neighborhood to the lake to cool off on hot summer days. On the weekdays the car was usually filled to capacity with rowdy, sweaty, hungry kids and an extra mom or two to chaperone. (if there was enough room) Mind you, those were the days before the ubiquitous mini-van sat in every driveway in the neighborhood. There's a reason those old wood sided station wagons were so popular.

On the weekends, dads would take over the driving duties and moms would fill wicker picnic baskets and old metal coolers with sandwiches, cold salads and soda or Kool-Aid, along with an old blanket or two to toss over the ancient grey picnic tables that seemed to have just sprouted up out of the ground years before, along the shores of many swimming spots. These beleaguered moms and dads knew they'd have full blown anarchy on their hands if they failed to stop at the "cookie lady's" stand on the way to the lake. They also learned pretty quickly that it was best to buy several dozen of those heavenly cookies, if they had any hopes of getting one or two for themselves.

As the years passed, without explanation or fanfare, the cookie lady and her stand disappeared as if they'd never existed. The kids of summer grew up and the worn old picnic baskets and dented metal coolers were filled with something a wee bit stronger and maybe a package of hot dogs and some chips. Maybe. The now threadbare blankets were still brought along, just in case a couple or two felt the urge to slip away into the woods to steal a kiss or two.

The cookie lady and her sweet, spicy legacy became a fond but distant memory as the cars sped past the old farm, still filled to capacity with sweaty, hungry "kids" and not a parent in sight.  I've often wondered why the cookie lady stopped baking those wonderful ginger cookies. I never wanted to entertain the obvious answer, so I just imagined that she moved to a new town, miracle oven in tow, to introduce a new generation of summertime families to her delicious cookies and their own unforgettable memories.

I'm linking up today with:


  1. What a sweet post. When I was in my 20's I would walk home from work by a Swiss Bakery and usually would purchase two soft, chewy, cracked top, sugar coated gingerbread cookies. Pure Heaven.

  2. CW: Great to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by my "other" blog. (or at least my attempt at one)

    We had a bakery in town when I was growing up that made the most amazing shortbread-y, sugar cookie-ish cookie, with a thick layer of chocolate ganache swirled onto the top. When that place closed I thought I'd never know that sugary, choco-lovely bliss again.

    There's a local company now, that makes a similar version of them and they're quite close, but I'm not sure that anything ever lives up to a memory like that.

    I stopped by earlier, but for some reason, Blogger wasn't letting me leave a comment?? I'll try again another day. I loved Zoe's post, BTW. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  3. Hi Mrs. B!
    Thanks for dropping by my blog! Hope to see you soon again. Followed you back!


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