“Mama’s Stoned Cookies from Stone Avenue” ©2017

We lived on Stone Avenue in Brooklyn those days of 1940's.

Mama was the best salesperson… the champ.

As usual she was overwhelmed…especially one Friday before The Sabbath.

This was her routine.

Early morning, she would grind the white fish for fish balls. mix it with eggs, cracker meal, ground onion, with salt and pepper. Then gently roll it into even orbs…gefilte fish. They would gently be place into the prepared simmering broth she made from the fish’ head, bones, onions, carrots, celery, parsley, salt, pepper adding a pinch of sugar. Later it was refrigerated and served with strong, grated horseradish.

While that pot was cooking, she would take the chicken she salted, rinsed to use for soup. Half cooked she covered it with spices, stuffed the bird then roasted it.

The liver was fried, added to chopped eggs.

Sometimes she’d also make a sweet, oily noodle kugel, with raisins.

Mama would set the table, with the ancient brass candle sticks from a long forgotten European relative, then set the table in nana’s embroidered “Horn of Plenty” linen cloth/napkins.

Now it was time for her to bake.

On the enamel topped utility table next the old-fashioned sink on legs,

she would dump a mound of flour straight from the Hecklers 5 lb. sack.

A well was dug in its center, eggs broken into it, vanilla, oil, and water thrown in an unmeasured, carefree manner.

Absentmindedly, she added sugar, salt along with a fistful of poppy seeds. This mixture she rolled into a huge, speckled ball.

Without allowing it to rest, the dough was pounded into a big slab, cut with juice glass into rounds and baked.

When light tan, they were taken out of the busy single oven to cool.

Need I say that mama was not a Martha Stewart class baker…for sure!

After all the food was cooked, her baking done, then mama would mop the linoleum floors of our apartment. Carefully she covered the still damp surface with sheets of an old newspaper. This was to keep them from soil, when we kids would run in from the Brooklyn streets, after school. It was the practice employed in Brooklyn tenements where we lived.

I was the first to arrive home from school that peculiar Friday I’m writing about.

Our kitchen was perfumed with such delicious, familiar homey aromas.

They bloomed even in the dreary, creaky stairwell as I ran up to our second-floor abode.

Our apartment door was left ajar awaiting my arrival.

Then as I hopped from one newspaper sheet, to the next, I sneaked a poppy-seed cookie into my hungry mouth.

When I bit into it, I almost cracked my baby tooth on it!

“Mama, mama the cookie was hard as a rock”, I cried as I handed it back to her.

She bit into the same cookie…then it dawned on her that she had forgotten to put baking powder in its dough.

Mama’s imagination spun a fairy tale to sell her failed batch of poppy seed cookies.

“Oh”, she explained smiling, “why, Dee-Dee dear these are magic cookies”.

“They are meant to dunked in a glass of milk, or hot tea. Then, and only then, they turn soft, delicious, with snappy poppy seeds… for the special person eating them”.

She poured a glass of milk for me & I dunked & dunked.

Guess what… I loved it!

It was delish…!

Our family loved “the Stone Cookies from Stone Avenue” …so mama had to bake them for us…again & again.

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Born & raised in Brooklyn, 80 years, ago. Interviewed by The Brooklyn Historical Society. I published a funny book called” First Stop Brooklyn” it's on Amazon.

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Dee-Dee Diamond

Born & raised in Brooklyn, 80 years, ago. Interviewed by The Brooklyn Historical Society. I published a funny book called” First Stop Brooklyn” it's on Amazon.