Sunday, January 23, 2011

Memories in the corners of my mind..and cookies too.

I feel like most of my memories are comprised of sights, feel, and smells. And I have to agree completely with the studies that link the 5 senses to our abilities to form and access these little stored gems from the old grey matter atop our necks.

For good and for bad, those 5 senses play a huge part of what I hold most dear inside my brain. A certain slant of light will transport me; a smell remind me. It's all there. Waiting to be triggered. Waiting for its turn to float to the surface and be remembered for a few moments.

One of my most fond memories of childhood is probably our  family Sunday afternoons. We always began our Sundays going to church. I despised getting up early (my parents helped coordinate the Nursery, so they had to be there earlier than my classes), but I loved the fellowship and fun I always experienced once I was there.

On certain Sundays (and there was no rhyme or reason to it) we'd go to Quaker Square, just down the street. How I loved that place. We'd always always always have brunch at The Depot, then spend an hour or so looking at all the trains which my brothers loved. (I did not). After the obligatory trip to choo-choo-ville, we'd go over to the actual store-complex at Quaker Square. I remember rambling through that old building and its stores like I was just there. The fun shops. The sights. The people, most of them in Sunday finery (and HATS!), strolling along. The occasional "In Character" person walking through in a vintage Victorian era gown.

But most of all, the smell.

Any of you who have been to Quaker Square know that there was only ONE true smell to that place. On solid, defining smell. Oatmeal cookies. That was it. Simple. Pure. True. And oh-so-good.

Besides the smell, I was drawn by the lack of a then enemy of mine: raisins. I adored that they had only one tiny raisin on the middle...and nowhere else. Nothing to pick around. Nothing to spit out. Just one offender to remove. Gone. And then pure yummy for me.

I had thought that those cookies were just a memory. Quaker Square is a shadow of its former self, with its quaint boutiques changed over to more and more office space, and dorms for the university.

Then today, a break through. I came across the actual recipe, as submitted by the good people of Quaker Square. Found again. I immediately baked up batch. Waiting patiently for the first tell tale wisps of that smell. And then,......yes! There it was. Then a taste, could it be the same too? Yes! Oh joy. The same.

Memories. Lovely lovely memories. Thought about again.

Quaker Square's Famous Oatmeal Cookies
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
*Cream together shortening, sugars, water, egg, and vanilla. Combine rest of ingredients and add to wet mixture. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.

Bake. Taste. Enjoy. Remember.

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