A Haven for Vee

Monday, June 16, 2008

I Remember Laura Week 3

"This week we will be sharing family recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation." ~Miss Sandy @ Quill Cottage

Years ago now, I was attending the funeral of one of my paternal grandmother's dearest friends when I overheard a wonderful conversation between my aunt and one of my aunt's childhood friends. They were reminiscing about time spent in my grandmother's big square kitchen around the large table eating hermits and drinking milk. My aunt's friend said, "I know that this will seem shallow, but I loved spending time at your house because your mother was so much younger than my own. I thought that she was so pretty and so nice. You know, she fed many more children than her own five."

The thought of my grandmother as a wife and mother "young and pretty" feeding the neighborhood kids her delicious hermits and serving up glasses of milk has remained a powerful image for me. My own memories of her were of a woman bent and bowed by time, rheumatoid arthritis, and the cares of the world. I have much appreciated being able to replace those harsher memories with warmer ones.

This is my grandmother's Hermit Cookie recipe. It's hearty — good for growing boys and girls for she always said it was rich in iron.



* 1/2 cup shortening
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1/4 cup molasses
* 1 egg
* 2 teaspoons milk
* 1-3/4 cups flour
* 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon clove
* 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 cup chopped raisins

Cream together shortening and sugar. Add beaten egg, molasses, and milk and mix well. Mix and sift flour, spices and baking powder. Add to first mixture and mix well. Add chopped raisins and mix thoroughly. Drop from teaspoon 2 inches apart on greased pan. Bake in moderate oven (325ºF) 15 to 20 minutes.

My grandmother always baked hers by spreading them on a cookie sheet and then cutting them into generously sized bars.

*printable recipe*

Happy Monday, everyone!


  1. I may not cook much, but I do like to do the occassional baking, so I'll be adding this one to my bloggy friends recipes! So nice you are able to remember your mother so sweetly. You have a great week my friend. I'm going to try to pop in, but not sure how often I'll be around.

  2. Molasses always gives such a wonderful tang to baked goods. I'm sure those cookies are delicious. It was a sweet gift that you received to get to see a different side to your grandmother.

  3. I think I would like those cookies and have copied the recipe. I'll let you know how they come out. Maybe something new for my evening snack. :-)
    What a nice memory to have of your grandmother!!

  4. I think I will make some Hermits the for my next visit to Vermont. My Dad has always loved them. Thanks for the reminder.


  5. That is a sweet story and a sweet treat to go with it! Love that, Vee!

    Happy Monday to you, dear one.


  6. A lovely, lovely entry.

    And I'll bet that you overheard that sweet conversation, at the home gathering, after the funeral. Or at a home gathering, during the wake period. A funeral used to be thus... a place of gathering of family/friends.

    I am much older than you, so you won't have the memories I have, of those events. "Back at the beginning of time," we had the biggest house {not big by today's standards of course}... But it had a separate front parlor. So there is where family members, who had passed away, were 'laid out' and 'waked.'

    Yes, you heard me correctly! My childhood and young adult hood was spent with now-and-then waking/funerals going on in the front parlor. One got used to it. Although I still dislike the smell of the usual funeral flowers. Ugh...

    But the nice part, even for a kid, was the gathering of family, in the rest of the house. And especially, around the kitchen table. I have special memories of that. :-)

    All the neighbors and friends would bring food of all sorts, to the house. And there was much to be consumed, while chatting and reliving memories. And in my case, making new memories.

    I actually do not have bad memories, from those times. Well, other than not enjoying remembering the little white casket, which my sick-from-birth brother was laid out in. He died when only about 2-3 years of age. That is not a pleasant one. But! That's just one. :-)

    And the dislike of the smell of those flowers, too. ,-)

    Smilnsigh blog

  7. Thanks for sharing your 'hand-me-down' recipe...gotta love those old favorites! I shall check my archives...these look much like some my mom used to make.

    The fun part of cooking the old recipes, is remembering where they came from.

  8. I sure do remember my mom making Hermit cookies too. Oh, I could go for one right now. . soft and tender. .hmmm.

  9. What a wonderful thing to overhear Vee about your grandmother. Life does have a way of stealing away our softness....we have to be conscious of it I imagine...my mother made these hermits and they are HEAVENLY! You've reminded me of so many Christmas' my mother baked these. She still does!! Have a wonderful week sweet Vee, xxoo, Dawn

  10. What a blessing that you overheard the conversation that you did. God is good!

    It is sooo hot here but this is a recipe that I will try. They sound delicious.

    hugs to you.

  11. Oh I adore hermits...I am the only one in my family besides my Mom who likes them! Thanks for the recipe Vee...

    On the bedset..I promised Hubs he could buy NEW as everything we have is old...he doesn't get that same fuzzy feeling about vintage that I do...so I figure since he goes off and makes the money everyday he can pick it out...the rest of the house is mine..LOL
    Have a great day!

  12. What a wonderful thing to hear about your grandmother! I have never had or heard of hermits, but they sound good!

  13. Thank you for sharing your grandmother's delicious recipe!


  14. Oh what a sweet memory! One of the things I remember about my mother was the way neighborhood children would visit after school. She would sit them down with a plate of cookies and glasses of milk, and talk to them about their day. She would always laugh because she knew they came just for the cookies, but I really think that she also taught them how to be polite and sociable.

    I can't wait to try your recipe!

  15. Vee,
    Forgive me but as I read your post I thought YUCK! until I got to the recipe. I have never heard of hermit cookie before and I am way too tired to be online. Just coming back from the beach I envisioned children gathered around the table prying little crabs from their shells and washing them down with a big gulp of milk! I could not imagine why she would be so popular to feed children such a snack! I am laughing myself silly right now, sorry, I said I was tired!

    I'll try grandmothers cookies and I'll laugh every bite I take! Thanks for sharing.

  16. I love stories Like this. When my grandmother was in her eighties she used to say that when she thought of herself she thought of how she was in her teens. She had four kids by the time she was twenty. Says that it qlways surprised her when she looked in the mirror and saw an old woman. It makes sense doesn't it?

  17. A beautiful memory and a delicious recipe! Hope all is well with you.

  18. It's hard for me to think of my Grandma as young and pretty but I see pictures of her and my Grandpa and they were both so pretty and handsome. It's good to be reminded that they were more than just my grandparents. They were young and in love.

  19. Jan - I know that you have so much on your plate right now...don't even fret about visiting...I'll visit you!

    M-N - What memories you have...I am so sorry about your little brother and I can see why that would not be the best of memories. My grandfather was the last to be "laid out in the parlor" back in 1952...before my time. ;> But, you are correct that I was at "the viewing" where it was okay for conversation to be going on.

    Janet and Robin- And here I thought Hermits was probably just a New England thing until Judy and Lovella came along. Guess it's a pretty common thing after all.

    Mary- I think that your mom was one smart lady. It's always good to make connections with the children in the neighborhood.

    Miss Sandy- You nut! You made me laugh so hard as I'd not even thought of it in that context.

    C.C.- Yay for a C.C. sighting! Yes, I'm very well, thank you. I think of you often, Chickie!

    V-C - Yikes! Your grandmother sounds a lot like my own. It's no wonder that they aged so quickly. How wonderful that she felt young even so.

    Jenny - I often find myself wondering about people who have reached a certain age...what they were like as children or as young people. It's important to think of them as more than the "elder package" I think. We're all in the same boat after all.

  20. Oops...Happyone, yes, I do want to know if you try them.

  21. What wonderful memories to have Vee.

  22. I loved your post. It is a reminder to us all, that although people do grow old, they were once young, and did have a full life of their own. Sometimes I think we lose sight of that. The cookies sound so good. I will be trying them for sure. Thank you.

  23. It's so true that often the youngest generation does not get the opportunity to know the older generation as they were when they were young, and that is why such nice reminiscences are good to pass on. I love hermit cookies too. It's nice to have your grandmother's recipe, Vee

  24. These sound delicious!

    It is amazing how someone else's view can change our own perspective, isn't it?

  25. What a wonderful memory you've shared. Hermits sound wonderful, I love molasses and I don't think I've ever had a hermit before....mmmmm, I bet they smell wonderful when they're baking, no wonder there were fond memories of them :)

  26. I've added this to my recipe file with a smile.

  27. ahhh, no need to google these cookies. Thanks for the recipe...not a lot different from Molasses ones. I like the golden raisins the best so those are the ones I will use.

    Oh, one reason I talk about my family so much, showing photos of Mr. Sweet and myself is so that my grands will know that we aren't all stooped and shuffling along during our 70's. That we have been blessed with good health...good friends...and good times. :))


If comments disappear, please don't fret. A simple "hi" will do. The platform surely needs some maintenance.