Sweet memories are such incredible gifts. Remembering is like going back to a comfortable, familiar place and enjoying it all over again.
Have you ever had a memory from childhood, something that you so wished you re-create? At the risk of sounding very mundane, I’ll tell you that one of those memories for me is a banana cookie. Now Mama is a fabulous baker, so there was always something with at least four layers of perfection held together and surrounded by something ultra gooey and sweet under the glass dome of her cake stand. I thought every kid in America grew up with homemade cakes and pies for dessert 365 days a year.
Ashamedly I say this because Mama kept us in delicious goodies all the time, but those baked goods that would have won blue ribbons at the fair weren’t real treats for me. A real treat had to come cellophane-wrapped with enough preservatives so it would be good for at least three years. But there was this one treat that I could only get at school. Not the grocery store, not anywhere else I knew about – only at school. So my sweet Mama gave me a nickel every day when she dropped me off at school. I walked with a limp all morning because I kept that nickel safely tucked in my sock until 10:10 a.m. when the bell rang for recess. Knowing what awaited me in the brick store on the playground just outside our classroom windows made even third grade arithmetic bearable.
I would stand in line until the lunchroom lady raised the garage-like door above the counter and opened the school store for business. Just the sound of the window opening made my mouth water. Morning after morning I bought the same package of banana cookies, which were basically butter cookies iced with banana frosting.
Several years ago, the memory of those cookies sent me on a quest. I started with our local grocery store. They didn’t have them and when I asked if they could order them, they said they couldn’t find them. On all our travels around the country and even in Canada, I visited grocery stores and haunted the cookie aisles. No banana-iced cookies. A few weeks ago on a lark, I typed in banana cookies in the query box on Amazon. Magic! Amazon has everything. I found banana cookies – Uncle Al’s Banana Cookies. After years of searching, I paid far too much for a box of twenty four cookies, but it was worth every penny and more. I cannot tell you what opening that cellophane wrapper and taking that first bite of that banana plank did for me.
Now, these cookies are not exactly the same, but oh so close. With this package, I had discovered the maker of banana cookies, and today four boxes of them arrived straight from Bud’s Best Cookies in Alabama. And in the email confirmation of my order, they told me my order made me eligible to enter a contest and gave instructions about submitting my photo eating my cookies at a local landmark. The winner would receive free cookies for a year. That’s all it took. Thoughts of a whole year of free banana planks sent me on an hour’s drive to find the most beautiful patch of bluebonnets in the Texas Hill Country. Of course I’m hoping this is the winning picture, but even if it isn’t, my pantry will be stocked with banana cookies until I’ve had my fill.
I’ll let you know if I win the contest. But I tell you the truth, as much as I’m enjoying those sweet treats, I find myself remembering Mama’s lemon cheese cake, or maybe her butternut cake. No, I think it’s her chocolate layer cake or her pecan pie. Ah, sweet, sweet memories!