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"We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie." David Mamet

Saturday, December 25, 2010

mame's favorite gadget

The Down-Home Holiday Guide to Kitchen Gadgets

"These cookie cutters were given to me by my Aunt Bobo...over 70 years ago." Photos by Pete Brill.
There is nothing cookie cutter about my mother-in-law Nadine, known by everyone in the family as Mame. Her good deeds, as well as her cookies, are legend in her family and in her community of Newark, New York, in the FIngerlakes. Each year she bakes up dozens upon dozens of cookies, using cookie cutters from her childhood and the boxes full of others she's collected over the years. While snow from lake effect dusted the house, we'd be frosting dozens of cookies and decorating them with all types of confections - sprinkles, candy stars, chocolate kisses, etc. You cannot help but love them, and love her for all of the energy she puts in to ensuring that everyone has a delicious little taste of the holiday spirit. 
Mame's been using these cookie cutters over 70 years These cookie cutters were given to my by my Aunt Bobo, Bertha. I used to go to her house and we’d bake cookies and other things  – my mother didn’t do those things with me because of her illness. I started baking with Bertha, oh, it must be 70 years ago. These cookie cutters are metal with wooden handles, and my favorite is a Christmas tree. They are a little bent but work for my many sessions of baking.

Every Christmas for as long as I’ve been married, which is 60 years, I bake dozens and dozens of cookies for my family and friends. Everyone gets involved. My kids spent every Christmas decorating cookies. One year Peter brought home a friend, and we went out leaving her to decorate some cookies. When we got home she had frosting all over her clothes, in her hair, and she looked a little green. She ate ate more frosting than she put on the cookies - I’ll never forget that!  I also bake cookies on other special occasions, like Valentine’s Day and Halloween and send them to my grandchildren.

I bake cookies weekly for the children at Grandma’s Room, a special room at our local elementary school where kids go to get hugs and a little extra help. Over the years I’ve collected cookie cutters, and I now have a box about 3’ X 6” filled with them.
Mame's Christmas Cookies

1 pound unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoons vanilla
4-5 cups of flower
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 TB salt
Whisk softened butter with sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time with vanilla.
Sift 41/2 cups flour together baking powder and salt.
Mix together to form a dough, roll into ball and let it refrigerate several hours.
Sprinkle flour on board and roll out the dough. Cut cookies and bake for 7-10 minutes – dark pans take less time.
Frost with your favorite sprinkles, confectioner’s sugar frosting, etc.

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