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Licking the Batter Clean

Some of you, whether young or old, love eating raw cookie dough, but I never really developed a taste for it. Especially after I read (wives tale?) that said the unbaked dough would rise in your stomach and becomes hard to digest. Might as well swallow bubble gum!

But there WERE some pots and pans left full of “good stuff” that mother said I could have. Favorites included lemon meringue when warm, tapioca pudding or the leftover ends from mini cinnamon rolls. With spatula in one hand and a spoon in the other, I would go into attack mode!

Another one of life’s simple pleasures.

A mother, plus a kitchen full of top-notch ingredients and recipes, are bound to produce incredible delicacies. But I must note, I wasn’t always welcome to what was being pumped out of the oven.

Many times my mom would bake cupcakes or cookies for garden club or holiday party outings. She would put this billboard size note on it: DO NOT TOUCH!

When she left to run errands, with surgical precision, I moved the warning label, got under the tin or Saran (Satan) wrap, and took a few to sample. Ran to my room with a dust trail — like a pirate who just stole gold bullions!

If caught, I was also punished like a pirate. This is because my mother always brought any leftovers home. It showed I wasn’t patient. Or trustworthy. Or couldn’t read English. So, I was banned from any treats for a week.

Not only didn’t she like me sneaking freshly baked things made for other mouths, but didn’t want grimy hands touching her meticulously wrapped sweets. Who knows, I might have just changed the cat’s litter box and (sin of sins) forgot to wash my hands!

To my knowledge, none of her lady friends ever got sick from her baked goods. Nobody could label me “typhoid Gerry.”

Like many kids of that era, I liked helping mom bake in the kitchen on a weekend afternoon. I was no home economics major, but rolling dough into tiny balls and putting them on a baking tray gave a sense of satisfaction. Same with brownie dough. When done, served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and some squirts of Hershey syrup, there was nothing finer to end the afternoon.

Looking up at mom, syrup running down my face, it could have been a picture out of Women’s Day or Good Housekeeping. If I weren’t home, my brother would often help. And, if memory serves, he DID like raw cookie dough ingested into his intestines.

I’m proud to tell you my mother’s recipes still reside in the kitchen — they’re there for anyone who wants to take the time to use them. But no one does.

It’s not like they weren’t tasty or well-liked, but rather the time and effort. I might as well build a new highway in the backyard! Our mothers made time to do it. We don’t, and it’s becoming a lost art. She shunned bringing store made anything to an event. These days, people in their 20s feel Panera Bread is the only baker they will ever need in a lifetime. I beg to differ.

I feel the last generation of mothers passed away almost had a “bakers union pact.” They were proud to bake and to share those goods with everyone. Remember how some moms put those little stickers on their plates that said, “proudly baked by_____.”

Those were the good old days. So good in fact that little boys would risk getting their fingers cut off for sampling things not intended for them!

I wasn’t the only one. We shared stories in school regarding how a finger stuck into a pie or swiped icing off a cake got culprits into hot water. Maybe made to clean up the entire kitchen.

Once I got blamed for licking a bowl clean. It wasn’t me, but rather the family cat that jumped onto the chopping block and couldn’t resist. Told you baking was a total family affair.

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