By Gini Rainey
With tomorrow being the last day of October, you can be sure that it’s just a matter of a couple weeks before the great family times begin. I did have an early holiday gift yesterday when I was fortunate enough to spend some quality time with two of my cousins. The three of us spent many Sunday afternoons playing together while our parents either played bridge or pinochle. There wasn’t too much trouble we were able to avoid in those days, given the level of trouble kids were able to get into back in the 50s. I couldn’t help but think, as we were driving back home last night, that although many years have passed since we were kids, the dynamics among the three of us hasn’t changed much, and had one cousin not been laid up with a broken ankle, I do believe we could have stirred up some mighty good trouble again.
With conversations covering everything from each of us naming three books we have read recently (while frantically writing down the names so the others could read them, too), to how to dispose of Cock A Leekie Soup (I swear that’s real) so the aunties didn’t find out, to walking downtown in our bare feet (how did we manage to keep from cutting our feet), we laughed till we cried. What an awesome time together! And, while this was a wonderful time together, it saddens me to know that I’m not sure when we will have that opportunity again any time soon.
There were fourteen cousins in our generation, and while time and distance have separated us, when we are able to get back together, whether one or more or the whole bunch, it seems as if it was just yesterday that we were last together. Somehow, we have managed to stay connected over the years, but damn – we’re not getting any younger.
On the occasion of one of our family reunions – way back in 1994 – I had a dream of writing a cookbook filled with contributed family recipes, along with the back history of that recipe. Well, I got as far as the chapter on cookies by the time of the reunion, had it printed and bound and gave each cousin a copy of it at the reunion. You see, some of the best times we’ve had in this family have happened in the kitchen, if not while cooking or eating, then during the cleaning up. Many special plans have been made and many confidences shared while up to our elbows in either bread dough or soapsuds.
One of our favorite family cookie recipes is for Aunt Evie’s Corn Flake Cookies. These are easy to make and freeze well, so you can get a head start on holiday baking. First cream 2 cups sugar, 1 cup butter, and 2 eggs. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon baking powder and 2-1/2 cups flour. Then add 1 cup oatmeal, 1 cup corn flakes, 1 cup shredded coconut, and 1 cup raisins. Form into balls, using about ¼ cup batter per cookie, and bake for 10-12 minutes in a 350° oven. These are so good and will disappear so fast, you might want to make a double batch!