Wistful Wednesday #4: Joe Froggers

Something new for ’22.

No not poetry. Recipes that conjure up wistful memories. Sometimes from the distant past and sometimes more recent.

Molasses cookies anyone?

I got this cookbook in 1976. The bi-centennial celebration was that year. CeCe was born that year. The whole book brings back memories because my kids loved to cook with me. Part of it, I’m sure, was because of the stories that went with the recipes. What child can resist a cookie the size of a lily-pad? My children loved these cookies. So much that Wrestler #2 insisted on taking them to school for his 2nd-grade birthday treat.

“Are you sure?” I said. “Not everyone likes molasses cookies.”

“Everyone will love Joe Froggers,” the young Wrestler #2 insisted.

They are delicious. I use unsulfured mollases. Otherwise, the flavor is too strong for me. I double the recipe and use a two-pound coffee tin cover.

Still, molasses cookies are an acquired taste, in my book. Please be sure to share the story before serving.

I’m sorry to say that in 3rd- 4th- and 5th-grade, Wrestler #2 asked for different treats, all requiring some craftiness, like airplanes made out of Lifesavers and packages of chewing gum.

“I’m happy to make you something,” I told him before his sixth-grade birthday.

“That’s okay. Store-bought is easier.”

I was working by then, but I still had plenty of time to prepare a birthday treat.

“That’s okay,” he replied. “Store-bought is fine.”

“Really, it’s no trouble,” I insisted. “I love baking.”

Wrestle #2 looked at me with teary eyes. “When I took the Joe Froggers, the kids played Frisbie with them in the gym and slid them under the bleachers.”

He continued, “I didn’t what to tell you, cuz I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”

What a burden to keep in your heart, my sweet boy. It still brings a tear to my eye.

“It’s okay,” I said. “Not everyone likes the same things.” I just wish he would have told me sooner. I did try to warn him.

I still make the cookies. They are the best molasses cookies I’ve every made. Wrestler #2 still loves them; maybe not as much as he did back then.

I cannot make Joe Froggers without thinking about how empathy is something you never outgrow.

Today Wrestler #2 teaches Comparative Religion and World Cultures to high school students. He is involved in helping young people understand the complexities of the world through many lenses. And, he helps the larger community understand the importance of global literacy. Click here to learn about legislation that one of his students spear-headed. Yup, a high school student did that!

Now I feel even more wistful

Do you have recipes that bring up memories? I’d love to hear about them. Please leave a link to your blog/instagram/facebook post.
Hmmm.. now my recipe has some great memories attached to it. I can feel the memories piling up.

Before I meander too far into my wistful woods, please hop over and check out Baking in a Tornado. I’m confident you’ll love Karen as much as I do. She’s a blogger friend who posts wonderful, short essays along with her own recipes. I may have a few of my own like that.