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The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Mama’s Sugar Cookies

By Linda H. Barnette

Her recipe

1 cup sugar

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 egg

¼ cup of butter

¾ cup of milk

dash of vanilla flavoring

Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg, milk, flavoring, and dry ingredients. When it is ready, roll the dough out and cut cookies. Bake at 350 degrees until cookies are slightly brown around the edges.

When I was a child, I lived directly across the street from my Smith grandparents and saw them daily. After I started to school, Mother went to work uptown, so each afternoon I would walk from the elementary school on Cherry Street to Mama’s house on Church Street where I would remain until Mother got home.

Very often during my time there Mama would be preparing food for supper when Papa came home from his service station uptown right about where the little town park is now. They always had a big garden and had chickens and pigs, and having raised 7 children, she was used to cooking a lot of food, being sure to have enough left for lunch the next day.

One thing that she always had was dessert. Her specialties were chocolate pie with meringue on top, chocolate cake with some sort of white icing that she cooked on the stovetop, and my all-time favorite, her sugar cookies.Sometimes she would roll the dough and let me cut them out with the cookie cutter before she put them on the sheet to bake, which thrilled me because she trusted me to do it right. After they had baked, we shared a bottled Coca-Cola and ate a cookie. She always made one large cookie out of the scraps, and that one was always special.

Years later, after I moved away, got married, had a child, and then moved back home, my son and I visited Mama every Wednesday and cooked  lunch for her as she was old by then. But even when I was in my 40’s, she still made that special sugar cookie just for me.

Note: This was one of the assignments in my library writing group.

“Option Three”

By N. R. Tucker

That first cup of caffeine, be it coffee, tea, or soda, in the morning starts many a day on a good note, and not getting it can have a negative impact. Salt was once so valuable Roman soldiers received it as pay. Medieval Europe accepted the onion as payment for rent. The tomato, once thought to be poisonous, was grown for decoration in the Colonies. Happily, humans saw through the propaganda, and now we have BLTs.

As humans, we grant food authority over us. Suppose we are lucky enough to be food rich. In that case, we eat certain foods at certain times of the day, buy specific foods for specific celebrations, and eat whatever appeals to us. And then there’s the spring fascination with growing vegetables.

In our local area, vegetable plants can be planted outside by the end of April. A few years ago, I stopped pretending to grow a veggie container garden in my backyard. I grew up in farm country and understand the basics, but my attempts resulted in two outcomes.

Option One: way too many veggies. Anyone who has grown a private garden knows the joy, followed by dismay, of eating zucchini every day for a month because of the bummer crop. Meanwhile, your friends and relatives run in the other direction when they see you walking toward them with a bag of goodies from your garden.

Even more depressing, Option Two results in nothing. After a long summer tending a garden, you manage to gather a meager collection of vegetables. That’s it for the hard work you put in.

Neither option appeals to me. I’ll go with Option Three: the farmer’s market. I support local and buy the veggies needed for the week. The farmer is happy to make a sale, and I’m happy I didn’t spend the summer slaving over veggies that may or may not survive to harvest. In a final appraisal of the cost of plants, water, and time, the farmer’s market is a lot cheaper than growing them myself. This is especially true as I don’t enjoy growing veggies. I do enjoy growing many herbs for cooking purposes, as they thrive even with a bit of neglect. Perhaps if I could grow cupcakes, brownies, fudge, and the like, I would be a better gardener or at least a more attentive one.

In the final assessment, it doesn’t matter if you buy your veggies or grow them yourself. Enjoy the bounty that we are blessed to have.

RWG Literary Corner

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