Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Nostalgia Foods

Listening to NPR this week I heard a story about Nostalgia Foods, specifically Mallomars.  Mallomars are a cookie with a layer of thick marshmallow which is then dipped into dark chocolate. They are only available a few months a year, stemming from the fact that in times before refrigeration - in the summer the chocolate would melt.

The household I grew up in also had Nostalgia Food.  We called it Lebkuchen, a Christmas cookie, made with molasses, brown sugar, assorted spices and a healthy dose of lard.  The cookies would normally be done by the women in the family, mixing the batter on the stove (since you had to melt the lard), then putting the dough on the backsteps to cool so you could roll it out and cut it into all kinds of shapes, then after baking icing them with a confectioners sugar icing that gave them a glossy sweet glaze. As far as I know I was the last woman in my family to make Lebkuchen. I would make it every year during Thanksgiving week, spending hours and hours mixing and rolling and baking, then packaging it into cookie tins and shipping them off to my siblings, aunt and uncle, step grandmother and putting together smaller packages for friends.  My mom used to tell me that if someone didn't like Lebkuchen then they would not last long in the family. 

The onset of my diabetes did not deter me but a few years ago I did stop baking the cookies.  They were just too much temptation for me to have in the house.  But this year I am rethinking that decision and I'm thinking of making a small batch up.  Not eating it myself, well maybe one or two bells or crescent moon shapes, the gingerbread men are way too big.  But making it to rekindle those wonderful memories of holidays past and create a few new ones with new friends.  Plus I have a really big oven now so the baking would go a lot faster.

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