I recently read Rhoda Janzen’s Mennonite in a Little Black Dress for our neighborhood book group. This was a memoir that surprised me by how much I enjoyed it – I’ll admit that I was predisposed to a “prove yourself to me” attitude when I saw the endorsement from Elizabeth Gilbert front and center on the cover. Indeed, I did enjoy it and appreciated Janzen’s humor and skilled writing; full review coming, but, in the meantime, don’t judge a book by its blurb!
In the memoir, Janzen talks about “shame-based” foods — those dishes that were a staple in her Mennonite community, but which caused her embarrassment when she packed them (in re-used wax paper and a tin bucket) for lunch at her public elementary school. Now, as an adult, she realizes that she not only enjoys the taste of these foods, but that they evoke pleasant childhood memories.
One of these foods is Persimmon Cookies as told by Rhoda’s mom (p. 11 in the etcetera section in the back of the paperback edition):
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3 ripe persimmons
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted at 375′ for 7 minutes
- 1 cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 350′
- Cut out the tops of the persimmons as if they’re tomatoes. Spoon out the pulp and throw the skin away. Mix the teaspoon of soda into the persimmon pulp and set it aside.
- Cream your butter and sugar. Add the eggs and mix. Now stir in the persimmon pulp. Combine dry goods and add to persimmon mixture.
- Don’t skip the raisins! They’re good in this recipe! Plump them up in the microwave for 30 seconds and add them with the toasted nuts. Bake about ten minutes.
For more Weekend Cooking, visit Beth Fish Reads; you’ll find links to cookbook reviews, recipes from novels, kitchen tips and tricks, maybe even a food-centric movie review.