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Sherrel Jones: New Year Brings Old Memories

Sherrel Jones shares her thoughts on a new year of cooking possibility.
BY SHERREL JONES Modified: January 8, 2013 at 10:34 am •  Published: December 25, 2012

Auld Lang Syne for sure if you're an early riser. I come from a long line of them. Sitting at the kitchen table with morning coffee and a new year ahead, I am reminded of all the busy times we've had in this kitchen. Oh if these walls could talk there would be much to hear in this 89-year old kitchen. A few minutes into my first cup I can almost hear them.

Our family still asleep and the coffee hot so I decided it would be a good time to enjoy the tales my kitchen told me. Despite the fact our house is designed with a central hallway running straight through the house to the backyard, it is the kitchen that is the true center of the house. From the start of the day to evening's end it is a hum of activity.

This is the space where I so my best work: Cooking, writing, serving, sampling, teaching, sharing, and expressing my delight in preparing food for and with family and friends. Just thinking of all the cookies we've made here over the 35 years in this old house is mind-boggling. Cookies with our granddaughter, artfully painted ones made with our friend Svetlana visiting from Moscow, tiny carton-based gingerbread houses with precious little December birthday guests then those endless cookies cooking friends made before our Christmas cookie exchange and our “Pink Teas” to raise money for Breast Cancer research.

There were dozens of fortune cookies my daughter and I made when she ran for a class office in junior high. They were folded with little strips of paper bearing her political promises if her classmates would vote for Rachael. It is funny now that I remember only the process of making all those cookies but not whether she won or lost that election.

I wonder how many times my husband or our boys managed to sneak bites of cookie dough out of the kitchen. My husband can abscond with the bowl before I can finish making cookies especially with oatmeal or chocolate chip dough. (Not that he was immune to sugar cookies or any other variety.) It's been so much a part of our family cooking fun, I had my artist friend Vicki Jackson paint a little cherub stealing a bowl of dough over the back door.

Memories abound in this friendly room that was originally three rooms, a back porch and a hallway providing access to a dining room and butler's pantry. It would have been great to have a butler, but one didn't exactly come with the house. The pantry has probably had a lot to do with my dish collecting over the years.

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