Monday, October 25, 2010

Treat Lady & The Cookie Queen

Ever seen Everybody Loves Raymond? Marie is always trying to feed her sons with steaming plates of Italian food. My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Toula's aunt pushs off racks of lamb onto her vegetarian fiance or else her mother is constantly providing the troupe with Greek food. My mother has a thing for serving sweets and I think it started with Grandma.

Case in point: This past Saturday I went for a visit with my mother and sister to my grandmother's new apartment. You might remember that we moved her from Lubbock to Dallas this past summer, but if you missed that post, you can catch up here.

Grandma has settled in nicely with quite a few of the items once seen in her little green and white house. She's even made herself a little nest around he comfy chair and it's always a treat to see what she's going to pull out from the stacks around said chair. Speaking of treats, she always has them. That's a grandma thing, right? To always have something on hand or in their purse?

In any case, she's always got some sort of treat on hand at her house. Rolos, Butterfingers, the cotton candy I brought her from the fair, and apparently pudding. That was the biggest thing she kept trying to offer us on Saturday.

We used to joke that Grandma was known as Treat Lady to our dogs. While Big Sister was in law school, Grandma would sometimes babysit Glory, her the golden retriever. Big Sister kept noticing that Glory was consistently a little more plump after weekends at Grandma's. On one particular visit, Big Sister observed Glory hiding behind Grandma's big chair where a pile of dog treats were sitting there at her disposal. The mystery was solved. From then on, Grandma was forever known as Treat Lady. We still have to watch her from time to time with Piper--that dog is definitely getting to be a little portly, but I don't think that's Grandma's fault this time. Something about Dad's midnight popcorn munchies might though.

My mother is the ultimate provider when it comes to feeding the masses. Take for instance my thesis performance two weeks ago. Mom and I decided it might be nice to provide an easy dinner for the weary traveling posse that came to see the show. There was so much on my plate at the time that I just let her roll with the idea and roll she did. Mom and Dad came into my apartment with cases of soft drinks, chips, deli meat, bread, fruit, relish items, and one large box of Texas beer. Can't blame Dad for wanting to bring the good stuff--Oklahoma beer should just be outlawed, it's so bad. You should hear our Thanksgiving menu sometime. It's a little crazy.

Even though Mom is great with larger dinners, her specialty lies in the sweets department, my weakness. She is dubbed the Cookie Queen to all who know her. Cookies were used for spirit gifts, birthday treats, and study snacks--It didn't take long for me to catch on why everyone always wanted to study at my house. While working at the theater, Mom would bring a tray of cookies for opening night gifts for the cast. I swear, one night I saw the stage hands dealing cookies behind the sets. "I'll trade the peanut butter for your macaroon!" Not even kidding.


Her cookies are so good, they bought me all the car rides I needed in high school. She even did cookies for my friend's boyfriend's birthday in exchange for an extra week of rides.  Saved a heck of a lot of gas money, I'll you that! There is a particular chocolate chip that my friends have affectionally dubbed Mrs. Russsell Cookies or to my college friends,  Julie Russell's Mom's Cookies. Once I had a friend ask me  why were Mrs. Russell Cookies so darn good?! I answered without evening thinking, "Because they're baked with love." It's true. All hail the Cookie Queen.


Friday's are known as Cookie Day at Dad's office. Why? Because Mom bakes on Thursday and sends things up to his office Friday. It can be anything from a general chocolate chip cookie to specialty banana bread or even a festive birthday cake for a co-worker. Dad's assistant always places the treats on a special plate and then wheels it around on a cart from office to office for people to grab a bite before they're gone. Mom likes doing it because it puts a smile on the faces of so many people at his office. When cookies don't make their weekly appearance, Dad hears about it. Apparently his assistant emailed him this past week to say that the cookies were sorely missed. (The last four Friday's have not had anything because Mom's been in OKC with me. Whoops. Sorry, Dad's Office!).

Needless to say, I will probably follow in the foot steps of my family Treat Lady and Cookie Queen relatives, forever trying to pass along something sweet to any and all who enter my home. In fact, it's already happened. I've come to enjoy cooking for friends and passing baked goods to the office whenever I can. Ah! Look out world, there's another Treat Lady on the rise and there's no stopping her!

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