Thursday, November 13, 2008

Second Hand Cookies

A few miles down the road is a second hand shop owned by a lady named Marlene who went to school with my mom. "Lene's Web Treasure and Trash" is one of my favorite places to go to dig through the "stuff" accumulated throughout people's lifetimes. Marlene buys entire estates and places all the items according to category inside her huge barn. Items are priced at rummage sale prices and you just never know what you might find. "Lene's Web" is the manifestation of the old adage, "One man's trash is another man's treasure".

Whenever I go there I look for unusual serving pieces as well as useful kitchen items. I find interesting old books and military paraphernalia for Jim. Derek has found treasures there as well, even his first camera. I visited this week and found a nice 8 piece set of country blue Gibson dinnerware (missing one dinner plate), six cookie cutters of various shapes, jar candles and three sets of white lights for my new Christmas tree (found on ebay for $10). I found a cookie cutter shaped like Ohio but didn't buy it.

I used those new-to-me cookie cutters today to make my first ever batch of peanut butter shortbread cookies. It's going to be a homemade Christmas and I'm experimenting with cookie recipes to decide what I want to give as gifts. I found the recipe in a Gooseberry Patch Christmas cookbook my mother-in-law gave me last Christmas. I've never made cookie cutter cookies before so it was a learning experience. I found that the shortbread dough was easier to pat out with my hands than to roll out. They came out really nice and now we are nibbling at crisp, peanut-buttery cookies shaped like airplanes, hearts, Santa's boot, the Star of David, and a holly leaf! Next I have to learn how to make peanut brittle!

The most interesting items I found were a few recipe boxes still filled with the former owner's recipe collections. Talk about a look back through time! The box I bought belonged to Mrs. Wilton Gulau. She kept her recipes in groups according to the main ingredients, like most people do. Unlike most people, she put the grouped recipes in cut off envelope corners. She must have been a resourceful person and instead of throwing her Christmas card envelopes away she put them to good use holding her recipes. I found one that was written in my great-aunt Juanita's handwriting, and the return address was the one she lived at the whole time I knew her! I never knew Mrs. Gulau but apparently she knew Aunt Nita. Small world!

The recipes she clipped from magazines and newspapers were the most interesting to me, not for the recipes but for the glimpses of life in the 50s that could be found on the reverse sides. There was also some humorous advertising such as an ad for Feenamint Laxatime Gum. There were a few political articles as well. One headline announced a "Terrorist Attack in Algiers; One Killed Six Wounded". Perhaps we are not so far removed from certain aspects of life back then. If only our economy was the same!

I kept all the clippings that were of historical value and all the fun advertisements. Then I kept the recipes I thought would be fun to try out some day. I plan to go back to Lene's Web soon to hunt for Christmas gifts.