EAT=LOVE=Tuesday Nancy Warren’s Grandma’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Food=love in my books.

So, I’ve decided to share recipes that have some connection/significance in my books and/or my life–and I’ve asked my writer friends to join me.

Today’s recipe comes from another former Superromance buddy, Nancy Warren. I’ve always adored Nancy’s sense of humor and I know you’re going to get a kick out of her new book: THE CHRISTMAS GRANDMA RAN AWAY FROM HOME.

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And,lucky us, here’s the recipe you can read about in the snippet that follows:

Grandma’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Grandma’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nancy Warren
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
According to The Christmas Grandma Ran Away From Home, Grandma’s secret is adding more chocolate chips. Check it out for yourself!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose our
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • Add a little salt if you used unsalted butter. Maybe 1/2 tsp.
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • (Grandma suggests good chocolate chips, like Ghirardelli)
Instructions
  1. In bowl, beat butter while gradually adding sugars.
  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda and stir into butter mixture.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Drop by rounded tablespoon about 1” apart, onto greased cookie sheets (or line with parchment paper for easier clean up).
  5. Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes or until done.
  6. Transfer to racks; let cool completely.
  7. Makes about four dozen.
  8. Fill cookie jar.
  9. Enjoy!

 

 

THE CHRISTMAS GRANDMA RAN AWAY FROM HOME

THE CHRISTMAS GRANDMA RAN AWAY FROM HOME

“I’m not cooking a turkey this year,” Sandy Forbes told her son, Michael over the phone. She was trying out the words to see how they’d sound. They sounded good to her. Not so good to Michael.

“What are you talking about, Ma? You always cook a turkey at Christmas.”

“Well, I’m not doing it this year.”

She referred to the yellow pad on which she’d done her calculations. “I’ve cooked fifty-five Christmas turkeys in my time. That’s one a year since my mother died when I was sixteen years old. I don’t want to cook one this year.” The more she heard herself speak, the truer the words sounded.

Michael didn’t argue. He was the youngest of her three boys, the easy-going one, and as such he always referred all problems to his two older brothers. Michael hung up and she waited, knowing the family telegraph system was as fast as it was efficient. Easing back a little at her age wasn’t a crime, she reminded herself as she prepared chocolate chip cookie dough in her old mixer in the big yellow kitchen of the big old house where she’d raised her three boys. Now she baked cookies for her seven grandchildren who visited regularly — often for long stretches of time while their parents were busy.

She’d bought the house with her husband back when they were first married and she’d lived here ever since, through marriage, three kids, widowhood. A life of ups and downs. She still cleaned the place top to bottom every week and did all her own gardening. Five minutes later her phone rang. She wiped her floury hands on a towel and answered the insistent ring. It was her second son, Jim.

“Hey, Ma. I’ve got the Christmas list from the boys. They both want video games. I’ve made a list of titles and emailed it to you.”

“Thank you, Jim.” He did not, she noted, ask what was on her Christmas list. “I’m glad you called. I wanted to give you plenty of warning. I’m not cooking a turkey this year.” As if Michael hadn’t already told him.

“Why not?” She could almost picture his scowl. Jim liked things to stay the same.

“Because I’m a vegetarian. I don’t eat turkey.”

“So? You’ve been a veg since before I was born. You always cook the bird.”

“Well, this year I’m not doing it.” Couldn’t they even try to understand?

“You cooked one at Thanksgiving.”

The memory of that meal was enough to toughen her spine. “I know. Elspeth and Bill had a fight and then he stormed out, Brady got drunk and you threw a turkey thigh at him. The younger boys got into a fistfight and broke a lamp.” Then they’d left her with all the dishes, the broken lamp, and the knowledge that on Thanksgiving not one member of her family had thought to thank her. The memory made her so mad she said, “In fact, I’m not even hosting the meal.”

“What?” The sound exploded down the line. “But that’s, I mean– I gotta go. I can’t even talk to you right now.”

The scent of fresh-baked cookies filled the air when the phone rang yet again an hour later.

“Hello, Elspeth,” she said. Elspeth was her daughter-in-law. The wife of her eldest son, who was the town dentist and far too busy to be bothered by family conflict. His wife handled all that, along with everything else in his life from paying his bills to raising their three kids.

Elspeth, at least, wasn’t devious. She came right to the point. “Jim says you’re not hosting Christmas this year. Are you okay?” At least someone was thinking of her. Even a little bit.

“I’m fine. I’m simply tired of always hosting every family occasion. I’m seventy-two years old. I think someone else should take a turn.”

“But your house is so homey, so lived in.”

Elspeth’s house, on the other hand, was neither of those things. She and her husband shared a compulsive neatness trait. Their designer kitchen always gleamed since they ate most of their meals out. Dust was never allowed to settle on the surfaces of their expensive furniture. Even the garden was rigidly perfect. She’d once caught her son on his hands and knees on the velvet lawn, using a pair of scissors to snip stray blades of grass the gardeners had missed. There was no possibility that her wealthy son and his wife would host Christmas dinner at their house. The mess would be intolerable. “Thank you for saying so. But I’m not cooking the turkey dinner this year.”

Every time she said the words she felt a little better about them. “I’m tired.” Sandy lived in the small town of Tarlo, Washington, a city that had boomed in the early twentieth century as a logging hub. Now it limped along, losing more residents than it kept, but her family was here and it was home. Even so, she sometimes thought they were a little too close. She was beginning to realize that she’d spent a lot of years giving, giving, giving. And she loved doing it, but for some reason the disastrous Thanksgiving she’d hosted kept popping up like the Ghost of Christmas Dinner Yet to Come and she felt her body and mind rebel. No, she thought. For this one year, she was stepping down. She supposed she was waiting for someone else in the family to take on the job just this once.

Her sister dropped by the next morning with store bought donuts. Sandy put on a pot of coffee and they chatted in her kitchen for a few minutes before Karen said, “Your boys are very upset that you’re letting them down for Christmas.”

She scolded as though the boys were helpless lads instead of grown men in their forties. Okay, they were still helpless lads but Sandy was beginning to see that it was partly her fault. “They’ll be fine,” she said.

Karen looked genuinely shocked. “I can’t believe you’re being so selfish.”

“I know,” Sandy said, stifling a giggle. “I can’t believe it either.”

“You can’t ruin Christmas for the entire family. Who’s going to cook the dinner?”

“What about you?”

Her sister was ten years younger, though she’d let herself go in the last few years gaining far too much weight and spending half her life at the doctor with one complaint or another. “How can you even ask that of me? You know how much my back pains me.” Her sister put a hand to her back and winced. “I only wish I was strong enough to host the meal.”

Sandy put up with a week of cajoling, badgering and whining. Even her eldest son, Bill the dentist, found time to call her on his cell phone on his way home from work. “What’s this I hear about Christmas?”

“I’m not hosting it this year,” she said for what sounded like the hundredth time.

“What are we supposed to do?” His indignation crackled over the line, and Sandy realized at that moment that no one else was going to take on one holiday dinner. Instead they had a clear plan to browbeat her until she submitted. She didn’t get mad very often, but she felt a surge of anger in that moment.

“I don’t know what you’re going to do, but I’m going out of town for Christmas.”

She was glad he couldn’t see her face. She was so shocked at the words that came out of her mouth she couldn’t seem to get her jaw working fast enough to unsay them, to tell her firstborn that she was only kidding. Amazingly, he believed her.

“What about the mail?” he snapped.

Sandy ran the local post office. It was true, mail delivery was busiest at this time of year, but there were two other employees who could fill in for her and in truth she’d been thinking it might be time to retire anyway. She was as tired of selling postage stamps and shipping packages as she was of cooking turkey. “Everyone in Tarlo will still get their mail. Don’t worry.”

“Go ahead, Ma. Have your holiday and leave your family in the lurch. Don’t think anyone’s driving you to the airport.”

“Fine. I’ll take a cab.”

There came a point in the enterprise when it was simply too late to back out. Everyone in town knew that Sandy Forbes was going away. At Christmas! And leaving her family. There were whispers of dementia and kindly old Dr. Stevens, who was older than she was and should have retired years ago, actually called on her to have a little chat.

“How are you eating?” he asked her as he sipped tea in her living room.

“I eat well, thank you.” So did he from the size of his belly. “Have another chocolate chip cookie.” They were her home made ones and she was famous for them though in truth the only secret was that she put extra chocolate chips in her dough.

“Are you sleeping all right?”

“Yes,” she lied. She wasn’t sleeping all that well, torn between excitement at the idea of going away and guilt that she really should cook turkey number 56.

“And how’s the memory?” he asked her.

“Dr. Stevens, I don’t have Alzheimer’s. I looked up the symptoms on the Internet. I am fine.”

“Well, if you’re using the Internet, your brain function is very good,” he said, grinning so she’d know he was joking. “I’ve never been able to figure out computers.”

He settled back and gave her his kindly look. She used to think it was comforting, now she found it patronizing. “Sometimes, Sandy, when we get older we do irrational things that we might end up regretting.”

“I’m leaving town for a week. What on earth can happen to me?”

Fun! Fun! Fun!

Next week is Christmas EVE! Oh, my!

Hugs to all!

Deb

5 Replies to “EAT=LOVE=Tuesday Nancy Warren’s Grandma’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies”

  1. Thanks Deb. I guess I can’t rate this recipe since I make it all the time 😉 But I hope your readers enjoy these cookies as much as my family and friends do. As Grandma says, the secret is in the large amount of choc chips in relation to batter.

    I love your blog.

    Nancy

  2. Your vote counts, Nancy! I showed the blog to my hubby this morning and he said, “So when are you going to bake these?” See what you started!?!!! 🙂

    Thanks for joining me here. I’m having a lot of fun with all these great recipes. We’re going to make Dee Davis’s mac and cheese on Christmas Eve.

    Deb

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