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Friday, May 09, 2014

This Foodie Friday Post is Sponsored by COOKIES!

I am not Wolfgang Puck.

I am not Anthony Bourdain.

And, I sure as hell am not Gordon Ramsey, Lidia Bastianich, Rachael Ray, Mario Batali, Nigella Lawson, Guy Fieri, or even that guy who does the Papa John's commercials.  Let's see, what was his name again?  Oh, yeah.  Papa John.

Truth be told...I'm a disaster in the kitchen.  My cookbook is basically the ingredients listed on a standard microwave-only "dinner for one"...which is pretty pathetic when you consider that half the ingredients sound like something that you could probably find in floor wax.  If I attempted to cook up something on a stove, I would likely burn down fifty per cent of the entire city.  I don't even have the confidence to prepare ice correctly!

So, why in the world would I even attempt to start up a brand new theme day entitled "Foodie Fridays"?  Well, there is a slight ulterior motive here, which I will get to in a few minutes.  But first, I'd like to explain what "Foodie Friday" is. 

Now, over the near three years that I have done this blog, you might say that I have covered almost all the bases.  I've done blogs on television, movies, music, video games, toys, sports, history, geography, social issues, and yes, even a couple of blogs on religion and politics (against my better judgment, but I digress).

But one of the topics that I haven't really brought up a whole lot in this blog is food!  And, that really shocks me, given that every single one of us on this planet eats food.  After all, if we don't eat, we die.  And, well...dying would suck.

So, I decided that I would come up with one day per week where the discussion would be all about food!

Initially, I was thinking that it would be a great topic to supplement the blog.  After all, there are a lot of memories from my childhood that have to do with food, restaurants, and even school lunchboxes.  From breakfast cereal to leftover chilled Kentucky Fried Chicken, I could dedicate a whole month to food entries if I so desired!

But then it hit me.  I could do that...but I could also incorporate viewer feedback into this blog as well.  In fact, what if I had a way for all of you to be a part of this blog as well, sharing ideas to others?

You see...this isn't just going to be a discussion on food.  No way.  In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think that a recipe swap is in order.

Seriously, what I need from you guys is your favourite recipes!  They can come from a cookbook, or from the side of a Kraft Dinner Box!  They can be recipes that have been in your family for hundreds of years, or they can be brand new creations that you came up with just by accident.  Heck, they can even be hot eats or cool treats!  I'll treat you right!

(And sound like a Dairy Queen commercial in the process...)

If I decide that your recipe is tasty enough for consideration, I'll base a food related story around the recipe (either a personal memory, or a historical piece on the significance of one of the ingredients used in the recipe), and I will give the person who submitted it total credit!  Think about it!  The blog gets an average of 500-600 page views per day.  That's the potential of 500-600 people looking at and trying your recipe!  Now imagine them sharing that recipe with 500-600 people themselves!  Trust me, it's a beautiful thing!

And, because I'll be providing you with full credit, you will share all the glory...or face a huge lawsuit if you stole the recipe from someone else without crediting THEM for it.  But, that's the chance you take, I suppose.  Just in case though, please cite the source of the recipe.  You know...just to cover ALL our butts!  Merci beaucoup!

I'm actually very interested in seeing how this is going to turn out.  I want to see what kind of recipes that we're going to see here.  And, hey...if some of the recipes are simple enough, maybe it'll give me the motivation to try and attempt some of these at some point...with a fire extinguisher present in case I royally screw up.

(Now, see...that's the sound of ulterior motive.  It really should have it's own musical leitmotif.  Too bad I can't compose music.)

But I can compose blog entries.  And, to kick off the inaugural Foodie Friday post, I'm going to be talking about one of my all time favourite baked goods.  In fact, I think I'm going to need help from one of my favourite Sesame Street buddies with this one. 

Take it away, Cookie!

Yes, today's blog post is all about COOKIES!  And, at the end, I'll be posting a recipe or two for cookies!

Truth be told, I've always been a kind of a cookie monster.  Although, I'm sorry to say that when I was a kid, some of my favourite cookies were the store-bought ones.  But, hey...I was a kid.  Your taste buds mature as you age. 

Regardless, I did love some of the cookies from a box or a bag growing up.  I think my favourite were the Double Stuf Oreos, and I'll be the first to admit that at nearly 33 years old, I could definitely still eat an Oreo or two or thirty-six.

Chips Ahoy was also a huge favourite, and I remember trying each variety of Chips Ahoy at least once.  I liked the original ones, the Chewy ones, the Chunky ones, and the ones that had the rainbow coloured chocolate chips.  I honestly have no idea if Rainbow Chips Ahoy are even made any more.  I haven't seen them in ages.

Of course, my all time favourite Chips Ahoy cookie was the "Striped Chips Ahoy", which was a mainstay for the late 1980s.  It was basically a Chips Ahoy cookie that had chocolate stripes drizzled over top of them.  They were so good, but so short-lived.  I would pay any amount to have Nabisco or Christie or whatever company makes Chips Ahoy bring back the Striped Chips Ahoy cookie.  Trust me...they were that good.

I also had a tendency to try cookies that were novelty shaped.  I did enjoy my animal crackers back in the day, and Teddy Grahams were certainly a snack treat that I smuggled into the school playground each and every recess.  I think I even remember trying to make some of the cookies that were featured in the Sesame Street Treasury books.  Some of them turned out great (like the Surprise Cookies), while others were duds (like the stained glass lollipop cookies that tasted like plastic).  But, was worth the effort.

Of course, as I grew older, the more I began to appreciate freshly baked cookies, and as I matured, I found that home-baked cookies were FAR better than any cookie you could purchase off the shelf.  My mother and grandmother used to make some of the best cookies, and some of the recipes that they used have been in the family for years.

My grandmother passed away when I was ten years old, but I remember her always making a whole lot of cookies.  I do think that I remember her making chocolate chip for me (my favourite), and for everyone else in the family, she made her very special Jam-Jam cookies which were basic shortbread cookies that had a jam center.  I do have the recipe for those cookies, but because it's a "family secret", I cannot post THAT recipe here.  But if you know how to make basic shortbread and have a jar of strawberry jam in your pantry, you could make your own version.

(Coincidentally, that was the one reason why I couldn't eat Grandma's Jam-Jam cookies.  She always used strawberry jam, and I am allergic to strawberries.  But even before I discovered my allergy, I didn't like strawberry jam anyways.)

But you know, with my grandmother's passing, my mother is now the one who bakes almost every baked good under the sun.  She makes her own cookies, brownies, banana bread, and apple pie (though she does buy pre-made pie crust because she doesn't like making her own).  And, I can say from experience that her cookies are definitely the best cookies ever.  I brought some to a charity dinner that my workplace was having and they disappeared very quickly.  My mom also makes cookies for my nephew's hockey team (HAPPY SIXTEENTH BIRTHDAY, SHANLEY!) and they always get rave reviews.  And, seriously, as we get closer to Mother's Day, I have to say that I love my mom's cooking, and I am so appreciative that she puts a lot of love into everything she bakes. 

I also tell her that she missed an opportunity to rent a storefront and open up a bakery.  She could have done so well!

So, I thought that I would end this blog entry off by posting a cookie recipe from my mother's treasure trove of cookbooks.  Trust me, I know she has a lot.  My sisters and I have each given her at least two or three of them!

And, you know what they say about cookbooks?  The ones that are always the most dog-eared and worn out are the ones that contain the best recipes!  I'm guessing that this one is probably that cookbook!

Okay, so admittedly, this cookbook is from 1962 (which actually predates myself and my two siblings, come to think of it), and you'll see that it's barely held together with scotch tape.  But I'm sure that the ingredients in this recipe are still around in 2014!  At least, I hope so.

Here's the recipe I promised, courtesy of the "Guide to Good Cooking with Five Roses Flour - c. 1962 - Twentieth Edition"!


1 cup butter
1/2 tbsp. salt
2 cups light brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tbsp. baking powder
2 eggs, unbeaten
3 1/2 cups Five Roses Enriched Flour (or any brand)
1 tsp. vanilla

NOTE:  When eggs are expensive, use only one, and add 2 tablespoons of milk.

Sift soda with flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix as directed.  Chill the mixture VERY thoroughly, as the dough is soft and difficult to handle otherwise.  Make cookies by rolling the dough or cutting the dough very thin.  Place on greased baking sheet, decorate as desired, and bake at 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit.

For a cookie that is less sweet, use 1 1/2 cups brown sugar instead of 2.

Bon appetit!  Until next week, keep cooking, everyone!

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