PEPPER COOKIES

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
TRADITIONAL COOKIES OF NOTE WITH A SURPRISE INGREDIENT CHERISHED BY MY FAMILY. WONDERFUL MEMORY.

Submitted: November 17, 2008

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Submitted: November 17, 2008

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PEPPER COOKIES
Others mark the official start of the holiday season by the Macy’s Thanksgivings Day Parade or by the Advent Calendar brought out each year and hung on the kitchen wall. But in our family we knew that the season had begun when we walked into our parent’s kitchen and smelled the spicy fragrance in the air and heard Dad announce,
“Come, sit, the Pepper Cookies are ready!” Followed by the order to put on the coffee and would Mom please sit down and leave the shoveling of the walks alone for a few minutes.
Mom was the official Snow Shoveler of record, a job she jealously guarded… as if anyone would argue her out of it. There were certain things you just didn’t mess with in Mom’s world. Snow shoveling; a fondness for she claims she inherited from her mother. Other notable quirks were hanging out wet laundry no matter how cold it got outside, and resurfacing the wide steep driveway each year on the hottest day. The latter was a ritual she shared with Dad. The end result of which was a driveway so slick with coatings that everyone except they slipped and collected bruises of all descriptions over the years.
The Pepper Cookies were another matter. All of the family from the oldest to the youngest all looked forward to their appearance. Santa took second place. The Cookies themselves were in fact from an interesting recipe handed down over the years and copied on scraps of papers and index cards . Today they would be fall under the heading of Fusion Cuisine. No such category existed in the early days of our parent’s marriage, one that spanned and incredible 73 years. The closest fusion that one could use to describe the cookies would be Italian/German. The cookie was a curious result of a Biscotti and Pfeffernuesse culinary marriage. This is indeed odd in that those two cuisines rarely share a theme and one can see why. Do try to picture the result of a Saurerkraut Pizza or Liverwurst with sauce Bolognese!
The origins of the recipe are lost in the mists of time. One wonders at the possibilities though. Did the pepper accidentally fall into the biscotti batter? Did a villager put the “evil eye” on the baker only to have the odd addition of black pepper to the cookie backfire into a blessing instead of a curse? Somehow I like to think it was the latter.
Part of the charm of these wonderful cookies is of course is inthe mystery. The rest of their charm is in the simple pleasure of a warm and welcoming kitchen and a father’s smile.


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