OK, I promise that the 12 Days of Cookies will be over soon, but I just had to share the latest in the Cheryl’s Christmas Cookies saga. First, some background.
My friend Becky is involved with an organization called Prison Fellowship, which is a religious outreach to people in prison. Becky, her husband, and other volunteers in our area have forged relationships with many prisoners, and, for some of them, it’s hope-giving and life-changing to have someone “on the outside” who cares about their well-being.
So what does this have to do with cookies? Well, Becky’s husband, George, has put out a call for 35 dozen cookies for packaging and distribution to the prisoners this Christmas season. As you may expect, this was both hope-giving and life-changing for me!! Now I can bake for people who will (a) appreciate what I’ve done and (b) never have the opportunity to complain to me about the nuts vs. no nuts thing. Who knows, perhaps in prison cookies with nuts are not only tasty, but a rare, tradable commodity, something akin to cigarettes. Perhaps by baking, I’ll be giving some downtrodden, aspiring, incarcerated entrepreneur a leg up. One can only hope.
What I’ve enjoyed perhaps the most about the prison cookie connection is my daughter’s strange thrill about the possible criminal profiles of our anonymous cookie recipients. “Just think, Mom,” she said. “A murderer will be eating these cookies.” Not to burst her bubble, but I did point out that there aren’t just murderers in prison. There are drug dealers and petty thieves there too. Drug dealers and petty thieves who may receive a little baggie of cookies, see my specialty, and break down sobbing and thanking God because Grandma back home used to make those very same cookies, and this must be a sign from God spelling reform and restoration in a life that’s otherwise gone hopelessly wrong.
Then again, maybe cookies in prison are just like cookies at the Christmas table. Maybe in 2009 beggars too can be just as choosy as the rest of us, and they’ll throw the cookies back through the bars and into the distributor’s basket because they’ve got peanut butter or raspberry jelly or (heaven forbid) coconut in them. Still the way I look at it, no matter who you are or what your crime, you just can’t argue with free cookies. You’ll take ’em, you’ll eat ’em, and whether you like ’em or not, you’ll know that someone, somewhere, thought you were worth it.
With that, here’s a link to my recipe for Chocolate Penitentiary Pixies, courtesy of the lovely people at Land O Lakes. Enjoy!