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Lemonade Memories and a Summer Cookie Recipe

August 8, 2018

 

National Lemonade Day, My Aunt Lydia’s Lemonade, and Her Sugar Cookie Recipe

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

Are you ready to toast the summer with a glass of lemonade?  National Lemonade Day is August 20; however, when I think of lemonade, I recall my Aunt Lydia, one of my mother’s older sisters.  Born on August 9, 1912, Aunt Lydia–her energy, enthusiasm, and caring–come to my mind as I realize that tomorrow will mark the 106th anniversary of her birth.  For all the times, she had a pitcher of homemade lemonade ready to share with guests at the farm on hot summer days, I should toast my dear aunt’s birthday with a glass of lemonade.

 

Of my seven aunts who have blessed my life, only my Aunt Lydia did not work outside her home.  Living on the farm throughout her married life, Aunt Lydia was always busy as a farmer’s wife and mother of three children; nevertheless, I remember that each time we went to the farm for a summer’s day or evening visit, she welcomed us with a big glass pitcher of homemade lemonade, in which were floating lemon halves, whose juice and pulp had been squeezed away to make one of my favorite summer beverages.  Additionally, Aunt Lydia always had a ceramic cookie jar filled with homemade sugar cookies—which , I thought, made the trip to the east-central Illinois farm worthwhile.  Yes, we could see the rich and flat farmland, chickens, pigs, cattle,; we could sit on the swing or gather around the kitchen table.  We could enjoy the sharing of news and laughter or play cards; however, her special cookies were a highlight of the visit—a wonderful and memorable treat.

 

Although I have made my Aunt Lydia’s Sugar Cookie recipe more times than I could count and although the recipe always turned out very well, the sugar cookies that I made never tasted exactly the same as Aunt Lydia’s special, homemade  treats.  To honor the memory of my dear Aunt Lydia ( August 9, 1912-March 2, 2006), I share with you her basic, versatile, and delicious cookie recipe.  Remember to serve the cookies with lemonade on August 20–National Lemonade Day!

 

 

Aunt Lydia’s Sugar Cookies

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 or 400 degrees.
  2. Cream together one-fourth cup shortening, one-fourth cup softened (or, my preference, melted) margarine, and three-fourths cup sugar.
  3. Add one egg, one tablespoon milk, and one-half or one teaspoon vanilla to creamed mixture. (Variations:  You may substitute almond extract, peppermint extract, anise extract, or other flavorings for the vanilla.)
  4. Gradually add one and three-fourths cups flour, three-fourths teaspoon cream of tartar, three-fourths teaspoon baking soda, and one-fourth teaspoon salt.
  5. Using a tablespoon of dough, roll dough into a ball (about the size of a walnut) and place onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  6. After balls of dough are evenly spaced on the cookie sheet, use a fork to create a

crisscross pattern on each ball of dough to result in a slightly flattened shape.

  1. Bake at 375 to 400 degrees for eight to ten minutes (until edges are slightly browned).
  2. After removing the cookie sheet from the oven, let the cookies stand on the baking sheet for one to two minutes until cookies are no longer soft; then, move the cookies to a flat tray. Enjoy!
  3. To store cookies for a longer period of time, place cooled cookies into either a tin or plastic (airtight) container.

 

HOLIDAY VARIATION:  Instead of rolling each tablespoon of dough into a ball, roll each ball of dough into a four-inch log.  After placing each log on an ungreased baking sheet, gently turn one end to form a candy-cane shape.  Brush each candy cane with milk; then, top with red sprinkles.  Bake as noted above.  Jolly Holidays!

 

What are your lemonade memories–with or without cookies?

 

POST-SCRIPT:  Congratulations to my friend Jenna who won eight ribbons at the Wisconsin State Fair for her cookies and other baked goods!

 

Happy National Lemonade Day!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

 

August 8, 2018, Wednesday

BOOKNOTE:  In addition to this WORDWALK blog, you are always welcome to visit my author’s web page at:

http://www.dldbooks.com/alicemassa/

for articles related to my book, The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season.

 

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5 Comments
  1. Dear Alice,
    Thank you so much for sharing such fond memories of our dear Aunt Lydia on the anniversary of her birth. Aunt Lydia’s sugar cookies were indeed delicious, and I hope to make them sometime soon. Reading your piece made me think about where Aunt Lydia would have purchased all those lemons for her refreshing homemade lemonade. I do not recall that our Grandma sold lemons in her grocery store. Perhaps Aunt Lydia bought the lemons on shopping trips to Paris, Illinois. I’m sure that you will remember and share your thoughts in your reply. Not only did Aunt Lydia make irresistible sugar cookies, but she also made the best “Bread and Butter” pickles that I have ever tasted! Her pickles could have easily won a blue ribbon at the Edgar County Fair. Thoughts of Aunt Lydia and our visits to the farm warm my heart on this August day in Colorado.
    Love to you and Willow,
    Mary

    • Mary–At times, the grocery store of our maternal grandmother and Uncle Pete did sell oranges and lemons.  I know that we had tangerines only at Christmas–in our stockings, from Santa.

          Divinity and homemade fruit pies were other specialties of our Aunt Lydia Avenatti.

          I wish we could find the lemon chips (similar to chocolate or butterscotch chips) to add to this recipe.

      Take care–Alice and Willow

  2. The only lemonade recipe in my family was to open an individual can of Country Time or Wyler’s and enjoy. For some reason, it never occurred to us kids to have a lemonade stand. I enjoyed reading about your memories, though.

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