It's common knowledge around here that short term memory is not my strength. (That's putting it mildly.) Call it middle age or lack of focus but I am a total space cadet when it comes to trying to remember simple things like where I put my keys.
Oddly enough, most of the things and places and people that I do remember are memories somehow related to food. I remember flavors and restaurants and dinners with special people far longer than I can remember what street I turn down to get to the post office.
I have very distinct memories of myself as a 10 year old girl sitting around my grandmothers kitchen table while we shared a package of stella dora cookies. We would talk about all kinds of silly things over our tasty snack and my grandmother never held back her opinion on anything. (Somehow grandparents get a pass on political correctness.)
For those of you who have never had the privilege of biting into a crunchy, anise flavored Stella Dora cookie - you are missing out. I don't think that I've had one of the delicious cookies since I ate them with my grandmother and to be honest - I haven't even thought about them for years.
My dad was in town last week so of course I had to load up on biscotti in preparation for his visit. I stumbled across this gem of a recipe on Pinterest and it met all of my dad's biscotti criteria - no butter and delicious looking. At the time, I really had no idea what a treasure this biscotti recipe would turn out to be.
It wasn't until I pulled one of these crunchy anise flavored treats off of the warm pan and and took my first bite of anise flavored goodness that I realized just how powerful a food memory can be. I was immediately transported back to my 10 year old self sitting across from my grandmother in her tiny kitchen. As a tear rolled down my cheek I remembered my grandmother just as she was when I was 10 years old.
Some of my strongest childhood memories are based on scents and tastes. I knew that food was powerful but I had never experienced that kind of emotional response to a single bite of a cookie. Up until that point in my 45 years on this earth, I had never had a food elicit such strong emotions and memories.
This recipe has given me new purpose in my cooking. I recognize now more than ever that food is powerful and memorable. Of course, I don't expect you to cry when you taste this cookie like I did but I still want you to try it. More importantly, I want all of us to be aware that food creates memories.
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoon anise extract
Bake 20 -25 minutes at 350.
Let cool slightly. Remove from pans and slice into 1/4 inch slices.
Place slices on a cookie sheet and bake 8 minutes. Turn and bake and additional 8 minutes.
This recipe has me thinking --- what food memories will my children have of me one day? Hoping it will be something delicious instead of one of my many epic cooking fails. LOL Time will tell. Love you all.
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