JeJu

Have You Seen Me?

In food on 04/10/2009 at 9:08 pm

The other half almost haggled today. There we were, downstairs at Goodwill, thumbing through the Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, all twelve volumes, a complete set, stained yellow, nicely aged. It contains all you ever wanted to know about food and foodstuffs. The cashier wanted to charge us $1.99 per book, but that was not an acceptable Frugaler (my newfound term for ‘cheapskate’) price. I wandered away to look at a knick knack. Next thing I know, the other half is beaming, “I got them for $10!” How? “She offered them to me for that price.” I know, babysteps…

The series is arranged in alphabetical order, cuisines of the world mixed up randomly, the ‘kidney tour of Europe’ sharing pages with ‘layer cake.’ Little known recipes abound. Of the approximately 250 cookie recipes interspersed, pfeffernüsse, for example, is a cookie that uses peppercorns, and you let the cookies ‘ripen’ for a week after baking. That concept has been modified for our trick for Nestle Tollhouse cookies. It’s the second edition, printed in 1966, pre-dating the other half sufficiently to assume that if it were around in the Midwest back then, our mission might be one step closer to being complete.

Ever since last Christmas, a holiday when ancient family legends are revealed, the other half has been in pursuit of the Holy Grail of a family cookie recipe known as ‘Melt-Aways,’ but that’s clearly not the accepted name in most culinary circles. We can’t find them in any index of any book, and we have been scouring every used book store we’ve encountered. Neither grandmother, both of whom we’ve interrogated thoroughly with a lie detector test on this matter in the name of all that is sacred in the world of biscuit, can remember having owned such a book either. Our resident Encyclopedia Brown explains.

Q: In your mind, what is a Melt-Away?

A: It’s a small, bonbon-shaped cookie that’s not really sweet. Almost a little dense, with a cream cheese frosting on top, it looked like it was dipped but we used a knife to apply the stuff. We always dyed the different frostings pink, yellow and green. It’s harder and denser than a spritz. I’m sure it had a higher flour content, because the sugary flavor only came from the frosting. It was such a good cookie, it kind of just melted in your mouth. But it was a dry cookie. Maybe almond-flavored.

Q: Have you tasted anything similar since?

A: Not really… We made them for about 3 years when I was in elementary/middle school. And then we lost the cookbook the recipe was in. Suddenly, it just wasn’t there anymore. I can’t remember what the book looked like, even though I’m sure I looked at it. Everyone remembers this cookie, however, and all bemoan the fact that we cannot remember what book it was. A lebkuchen might be close, but it wasn’t spiced. They look like polvorónes, but weren’t dusted in sugar.

Q: Why did you give up looking for it?

A: I NEVER DID!!!

Conclusion: If you, or anyone you know, are familiar with the description of this missing cookie, please put us out of our misery and contact us immediately with the pertinent details. We beg you.

classic gangsta

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