Cooking with Grandchildren Including Abby’s Inauguration Cookies, a Sweet Antidote to the Current Presidential Campaign
MasterChef Junior television program with Gordon Ramsey and contestants
Zen Buddhism teaches that people preparing food should do so with silent intent. As in meditation, a focus on mindfulness heightens awareness and appreciation of earth’s bounty. However, this concept isn't exactly compatible with helping children learn to cook.
My four sons didn't show much interest in cooking as children, but they occasionally offered up recipes from schoolmates for me to try. The one for Orange Julius has survived these many years, tucked between the pages of my first Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 1959 edition. My youngest son, Peter, brought home the recipe, written in his boyish scrawl on a three by five-inch index card. He later used the other side of the card to write a note letting his brothers know that he had fed the dog and cats and was 'on the street.' Not as risky it might sound, as our suburban street ended in a cul-de-sac where children and animals played freely.
I knew nothing of the Orange Julius craze before we moved to California in 1971. The drink, invented in 1926 in southern California where orange groves thrive, became popular enough to be named the official drink of the 1964 New York World's Fair. Peter’s fingerprint-smudged recipe card is short on detail, but the Internet offers numerous options. Some suggest adding a raw egg while others prefer using freshly-squeezed orange juice instead of frozen concentrate. For those thirsty for this unique California drink, here is Peter's version.
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 6-ounce can orange juice concentrate, still frozen
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups ice cubes
In a blender, mix the milk and vanilla; add the orange juice concentrate, blending thoroughly. Add sugar and ice and continue to blend until cubes are crushed. If mixture is too thick, add some water. Serves two.
I've always enjoyed baking and, happily, so do my three granddaughters. Peter's daughter, Abby, first played at cooking with her child-size stove and utensils and served us imaginary tea in tiny cups. By age seven or eight, she had learned to make real cookies. Once when I was looking after Abby and her younger brother, she decided to stir up a batch. I watched as she mixed the dough and arranged small dollops on cookie sheets. Her confidence lulled me into relaxing my attention until, to my great regret, she attempted to remove a hot cookie sheet from the oven without a pot holder and burned her fingers. We both learned valuable lessons that day. For Abby, always protect your hands when touching a hot dish. For me, never assume a young cook's knowledge of kitchen hazards.
As a preteenager, Abby had perfected her baking skills enough to hatch a plan to sell three kinds of cookies to family members and friends. For my husband, Rich, a day isn’t complete without a few cookies, so her offer appealed to me as a good way to keep him supplied. A presidential election campaign had almost come to its merciful conclusion that year, and Abby called one of her creations the Inauguration Cookie. Using a basic oatmeal cookie recipe, she substituted dried cranberries for raisins and shredded coconut for nuts. Red and white but no blue. Her first entrepreneurial idea never reached fruition, but this recipe offers a sweet antidote to our current presidential campaign.
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