Post # 308 The Cookies in the Cow

November 12, 2014 at 12:41 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 308 The Cookies in the Cow

My mom passed away in June of ’91 and there’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about her and the things she taught me and my sibs.  She was mercenary, but full of laughter.  She taught me to cook because I asked her to, but she was looking to the day when I would take over and she wouldn’t have to anymore.  She was not an inspired cook.  What she was was an inspired parent, a wonderful friend, and an outstanding human being.  One of the things she taught all us kids was that it was okay to have things that were special to you.  She had many things that meant a great deal to her.  If they got lost or broken, she didn’t lose time with regrets.  She got other things.

One of the things that she had for a long time, up to her death, was a ceramic hand-painted mixing bowl.  That bowl was the bowl I learned to cook in.  It was the perfect size for just about everything.  I stirred up cake batter by hand in it.  I creamed butter and sugar for cookies in it.  I tossed salads in it.  It fit in the crook of my left arm perfectly.

The Bowl.jpg

My nephew was around four one time when he wandered into the kitchen and saw me with the bowl and a wooden spoon furiously creaming butter and sugar together.  His eyes lit up when he saw that because he knew that soon something good would be coming out of the kitchen.

“I like that.” he said in a wheedling tone.  It was obvious he wanted a taste.

“No, you wouldn’t like this just yet.  It’s just butter and sugar.”

“Oh, no, Uncle Joe!  I like that.”

I shrugged.  “Okay!  Get a spoon.”

Delighted, he ran over to the drawer got out the biggest spoon he could find.

“Dig in, ” I said.

Again, his face lit up as he scooped as big a mound of butter and sugar as would fit in his mouth.  That expression soon changed as the muck started melting.  He swallowed as fast as he could but it still wasn’t fast enough to clear the butter off his tongue.

“Is it good?” I asked.

He nodded vigorously with a less than enthusiastic “mm hmm!”

Me being me, I asked, “Want some more?”

His expression showed his confusion.  If he said No, he knew there was not a snowball’s chance that he’d ever get a taste from that bowl again.  If he said Yes, he was going to have to live through the experience of having a mouthful of butter and sugar again, something to be avoided.

After a moment, he said, “No.  I think we should leave the rest for the cookies.”

Good answer.

Just before Mom passed away, I was telling her that story and we were laughing hard.  She got up and walked to her kitchen and brought the bowl out to me.  “Here.”

Several months after mom had passed, my sister mentioned that she’d always wanted that bowl.  A friend happened to be going on a temporary work assignment near my sister, so I sent the bowl along with her.  Now my sister has it, and uses it to store fruit and veggies.

Another thing Mom had that sort of defined her cooking style was an old cast iron skillet with a matching lid.  I remembered that skillet from early childhood.  Washing it was tough to do because all she ever used it for was frying chicken and the grease and flour would always gunge up on the bottom.  But as I got older, and learned to appreciate the wonders of cast iron, I always regretted not getting that from her.  I assumed she’d given it to my brother’s wife when she was teaching her how to make fried chicken.  I mentioned to Dad on one of our trips to see him about it.  Turns out that he had that skillet in his shed, so now I have that skillet and lid.  Still haven’t used it yet.

But the biggest thing that all of us kids remember most from childhood on was Mom’s favorite cookie jar.  It was shaped like a cow, and the lid was the back of the cow.  The handle was a kitten sitting on top of the cow licking its chops.  The kitten was smiling; the cow was smiling.  Presumably, any kid getting cookies out of it would be smiling too.  After Mom passed away, my brother got the cookie jar.  It had always meant a lot to him.

One day, Partner/Spouse and I were wandering around an antique store in Virginia and I stopped dead in my tracks.  There was the cow cookie jar!

cow cookie jar

I was surprised.  The story about how we acquired the cow, as it was told to me by both Mom and Dad decades apart, made it seem like these things were very rare.  In my parents’ home town in Ohio, there was a pottery store that was the front for a factory.  They made all kinds of things.  Back in the late fifties, they made a limited run of this cow cookie jar.  Mom said only a few hundred were made; Dad said only seventy-five.  One of our cousins had bought one, and Mom had seen it.  She fell in love with the kitten’s expression and had to have the cookie jar.  It was prohibitively expensive for the times, but Dad got it for her anyway.  She kept that cow protected and intact through all our moves, and raising three children and a whole pack of dogs.

And there it was on the shelf of an antique store that I was in!  One horn was broken off, and the price was over $200 so I didn’t get it, but I let my brother know how much it was going for.  He told me that his son now owned it and remembered all the cookies that I used to put in it.

I was telling my sister about that cow in the antique store and she shared a story with me.  Our little brother had a secret.  Whenever Mom filled the cookie jar, he would put two or three cookies in the head of the cow.  There was just enough room to hide three Oreos.  Whenever the jar was empty, he could count on getting a few cookies out of the head of the cow.

On a whim, I searched Amazon, and they had one!  Now it’s on my wish list.



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