The legacy. The legend. The cookie.

I believe it was two blizzards ago when I convinced Adam that we needed to go immediately to the grocery store after work to stock up on the essentials before the snow came. We had a short list of basics: milk, eggs, bread, spinach. But we parted ways to expedite our visit because the store was jammed with other people who had the same idea.

I had a little basket to fill with my goodies and planned to leave room for the goods Adam picked up as well. But when we finally got back to each other, the basket was not as light as it ought to have been. I had gone a little wild and picked up additional things like mushrooms, red onions and a huge tub of shortening.

Adam zeroed in immediately on the immense load.

"Shortening?" he asked me as though I'd lost my mind in the panicked thrush of grocery shoppers.

"For the molasses cookies," I said, offering instant reassurance.

This both pleased and calmed him. I'm sure he regretted having ever doubted me.

To explain the phenomena of the molasses cookie, I started to write that there aren't many traditions as important in my family as the molasses cookies. But then I realized that molasses cookies are the most important tradition in my family.

Kind of like when Gerald O'Hara tells his daughter Scarlett in Gone With the Wind, "Why, land is the only thing that matters! The only thing worth fighting for! Worth dying for! Because land is the only thing that lasts."

Except for us it's the molasses cookies that matter. But they don't really last because we eat them so fast.

We tore up the whole living room this afternoon searching for the recipe when we thought it had been lost. With great relief it was found. And then the cookie-making could begin. So perhaps it's the recipe worth fighting for?

I wonder if I should even post it on my blog. It could be like giving away a trade secret. Although it's really not my secret to give. My mother corners the market on this recipe. The molasses cookies are always best when she makes them. Even Grandma Hazel, who is somewhat of a legend on this blog, couldn't get them quite right. I remember her complaining every time she made them that they never tasted the same as my mother's.

Oh, alright. Here you go, friends:

Molasses cookies
3/4 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. molasses
1/4 tsp. sald
2 c. flour
2 tsp. soda (scant)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves

Cream shortening and sugar. Add egg and molasses. Sift dry ingredients into shortening mixture. Combine well and roll into small balls. Roll in sugar. Put on cookie sheet-don't flatten. Bake at 350 degrees for nine to 12 minutes. (The secret? Nine minutes)

So that's all we're up to during this third blizzard of the season. We're having a wild time baking cookies and French bread, and drinking Diet Coke after 4 p.m. Heavens! What would Scarlett's Aunt Pitty-Pat say?

Report back if you make these cookies. I must know how they turn out for you.