Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cortlands, Gingersnaps and Dad

I just returned from the grocery store where I was delighted to find the autumnal treat of crisp, sweet and juicy Cortland apples. To me, Cortland apples are not just a healthy treat, they are a memory of love. They were my dad's favorite apple. Just before he became too ill to go out walking, my children and I took him to an apple farm. There we picked several bushels of Cortland apples. My dad, who was usually very quiet even when he was pleased, thanked me for the outing and wondered how in the world I had ever found that out of the way apple orchard. When he became homebound, I would bring him bags of those Cortlands from the grocery store and set a shiny apple and a knife in front of him at the table and just watch him delight in peeling and quartering his favorite apple. Tonite, when I found those apples in the store, I was overcome with nostalgia and love for my dad who has passed away over three years ago. I couldn't wait until I got home to eat one, and peel and cut it like he did. Instead, I immediately bit into it and enjoyed memories of my dad with every bite, all the way home. Recalling the memories of those apples led me to remember another food that was a favorite of my dad's, gingersnap cookies, which is also a food that feels like autumn...



These are the traditional joys
of gingersnap cookies.
But to me, gingersnaps offer so much more
than these sensory attributes.

Gingersnaps are a memory of love.
They remind me of my Dad
who loved gingersnaps more than any other cookie.

That rich molasses flavor
hooked him
and he was in love.
There was nothing he loved better
than dunking them in his coffee.

When he was feeling generous
he would buy a bag or two
for my family and I to enjoy.

When I was feeling generous
I would spend an afternoon
baking them from scratch
for him to enjoy.

When my children were small,
their favorite job
was rolling the balls of gingersnap dough
in the dish of sugar
and flattening them with the bottom of a glass.

Whenever I see gingersnaps in the store
or even better
smell gingersnaps
baking in the oven
I am immediately
transported back to another time,
a time when I could share love
with my dad
Through a gingersnap cookie.


  1. Thank you for sharing those beautiful memories of your Dad Anne. They touch me in a special way my Dad has almost not made it through several grave health problems this year...and tomorrow is need of another serious procedure. Thank you for reminding me that each moment I have left with him is PRECIOUS.
    Jordan Almonds...those were my Dad's favorite treat. Do you remember those?

  2. When I was little and would sleep over at grandma and grandpa's I would get to have half a cuppa joe in the EARLY (5am-ish; they had a huge garden to tend) morning with some ginger snaps to dunk in my coffee. Also, I would get a toaster oven toasted sweet roll. Yum!

    Thanks for the memories.

  3. My dad loves ginger cookies, too! Is it a dad thing? :)

    I loved this post ... it's such a beautiful tribute to your father, and to the change of season, too.

  4. For me, it's macintosh apples. I am constantly asking our local grocery stores if they carry (or plan to carry) "real" apples. The only "real" apple to me is the tart mac. (And I don't mean the computer!) Unfortunately, I grew up in Maine where the only apple variety is macintosh; I live in California which is apparently too warm for these apples. I guess I will just live with my memories. Sigh!

  5. Lovely poem.Made me hungry!nice visiting u.C my poems too.

  6. Anne,
    Thank you for sharing these beautiful memories. Food can be such a powerful link to memories.
    Thanks for visiting my blog~will keep your spiritual motherhood apostolate in my prayers.

  7. Cortlands are my favorites. I like crisp apples.
    I am glad you have such beautiful memories of your dad. I am always touched by the heart in your poetry and writing. I am praying for all your intentions.

  8. Those lovely fall treats with special memories attached! Makes them all the more wonderful! Autumn blessings to you, Anne!

  9. Anne, what a beautiful post. I must admit it brought tears to my eyes as I thought about my own dear dad who passed away recently.

    Thank you.

  10. Such precious memories. As I watch my dad's health fail... and as I vaguely remember my mom (who died when I was 6), I think of two of their favorite foods: Dad's marshmallow peeps, and Mom's malted milk balls. I don't care for either myself, but can't see them without thinking of them.