HOLD out your hands, everybody - I'm in a generous mood today and am about to hand you all $250. Free; no strings. Enjoy! My wife and I still get letters from the Planned Parenthood people at this late date, and not much else, so extremely interesting today was a cookie recipe.The letter said, "a friend of a friend" recently had lunch at Neiman-Marcus and a cookie took her fancy. She asked for the recipe and was told it was available at two-fifty. This may or may not be so, and I don't know, but the friend of a friend thought that was all right. And it was until the bill came, and it turned out the two-fifty was two-hundred-fifty. They do things big in Texas. So, to get even, this friend of a friend is sending the recipe free-of-charge to anybody and everybody, and fie upon Ne iman-Marcus, who will undoubtedly go out of business as soon as their cookie recipe business is torpedoed. This cookie recipe I'm going to give you is certainly worth two-fifty, any way you bill it, and it has a delightful story to go with it. Back in the middle 1800s, an eating place on the east bank of the New Meadows River, here in Maine, originated the "shore dinner." Not really, as the shore dinner was enjoyed by aboriginal Amerinds 5,000 years ago, but this place first put the delight on a table with linen and silver, crystal and style. It was, in the middle of the 1800s, priced at "All you can eat - 50 cents." The meal began with a lobster bisque and moved on to steamed clams. The boiled lobster was the big thing. Everything was served leisurely, and time allowed for seconds. Very filling, the meal called for a light and pleasant dessert, which was a scoop of sherbet with a New Meadows Inn sugar cookie. This is the cookie now in context, which isn't going to cost you a cent. It should be borne in mind that places like Neiman-Marcus and even the New Meadows Inn never made, or make, cookies in family batches as in Mom's kitchen. The New Meadows Inn recipe for clam chowder started with, "Take 50 gallons milk ... ." So the true New Meadows cookies were baked in sheets three feet square, and when a guest asked for the recipe it came in an adjusted form. So would anything from the Neiman-Marcus kitchen. But at New Meadows Inn there was no charge. Try this:
New Meadows Inn Sugar Cookies
1 cup sugar 2 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 pound butter, scant 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 eggs, well beaten
Stir dry ingredients together. Crumble in butter. Add vanilla, mix well, and then add eggs. Roll thin, cut (with cookie cutters) into shapes, place on ungreased pan, and bake 10 minutes in 350-degree F. oven.I must be careful to say, now, that the old New Meadows Inn burned to the ground back in the 1930s, and that without reference to it, or its cookies, a new inn was built soon after in a new location a few yards up the river. The new inn continues to offer "New Meadows Inn Sugar Cookies," but they ar e not this recipe given above. They are good, but... . This is not a plus or minus opinion, I am just stating the facts, for we consider the original cookies preferable. I do not know if the present inn gives away its recipe, or if it charges $250. If you go to the new New Meadows Inn, ask for Mr. Armstrong and tell him I sent you, and he'll answer all questions. Meantime, we have lost many things that once were. The kind of dinner once the specialty of New Meadows Inn cannot be found now. People do not come by horse and buggy. A fond memory has a lingering flavor. Guests at the old New Meadows Inn were not the only ones to enjoy the sugar cookies. Youngsters of the neighborhood who applied at the back kitchen door would be handed a cookie apiece by the man in the big white hat. Youngsters, indeed, because after all too few summers the man in the hat would say, "Hey! You're too big now!"