Maybe we can be more like Martha

Published 3:46 pm Friday, November 26, 2021

If you’re like us, we’re still in the post-Thanksgiving feast stage of talking about the favorite dishes we enjoyed—most especially the cornbread dressing and the chicken and dumplings.  Like most mothers, my philosophy is that food equals love.  I prepare the dishes that I know my family likes.  Our menu also bows to tradition, including my mother’s cranberry salad recipe and a sweet potato casserole that could double as dessert.  Through the years we’ve added fried turkey to the menu, thanks to son Jeff who is a terrific cook.  

Not every favorite dish has to be made from scratch though.  I readily admit to cooking with some of my favorite ladies:  Betty Crocker, Marie Callender, Sister Schubert, and Martha Stewart.  Then there’s that favorite couple, Mahala and Abraham Stouffer, who since 1924 have been preparing “meals that gather friends and family around the dinner table to create lifelong memories.”  And they make a bang-up macaroni and cheese that we all love!  

Betty Crocker provides me with a head start at a delicious cake while Marie Callender serves up a fabulous “razzleberry” pie that is truly tasty.  And, of course, we all know that the only way to ruin a pan of Sister Schubert’s rolls is to burn them—which I’ve been known to do.  But if you don’t get distracted, the Sister’s bread is a nice complement to any meal.  It’s so easy to cook with these ladies!  

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As we rocket headlong into the holiday season, we’ll be challenged in many ways.  I quickly run out of gift ideas as quickly as I run out of purchasing power.  I am impatient with the traffic and my fellow shoppers who have left their manners at home.  I am happy to accomplish a lot of my shopping on-line and bow to the two-day shipping gods.  

I can’t help but wonder what is in all those container ships that have been parked waiting to dock in Long Beach, California.  Perhaps they have something that I desperately need or want.  What could it be?  I’ve yet to find he right size cookie scoop for making Martha Stewart’s cookies.  It could be on board one of those ships!  What other necessary items are eluding me by this delay?  To be honest, I haven’t given it much thought since I seem to be well stocked (yes, I have admittedly become a bit of a TP hoarder).  

Oh, and about Martha Stewart.  You know she does everything so well from cooking and baking to textiles and home décor.  She even has a magazine that publishes her daily schedule a month at a time.  I know.  I’ve even gone so far as to check to see if she actually was on the Today Show on the date shown on her calendar for that month.  She was there!  Now, honestly, I’m organized, but I cannot imagine plotting my schedule out for a month and then publishing it.  However, it’s hard to find fault with the lady.  And I for one am a huge fan of her peanut butter cookie recipe.  It is exactly like the peanut butter cookies of my childhood, and it is an easy recipe that I follow precisely, except for that elusive cookie scoop size that she mentions—oh, and I don’t transfer them to a wire rack to cool.  

So, keep your cool during this holiday season.  Don’t sweat the small stuff and remember, it’s ALL small stuff!  Be kind, be patient, and be thankful!    




  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together peanut butter, egg, sugar, baking soda, vanilla, if using, and salt until well combined.
  3. Using a 1 3/4-inch scoop, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Using the tines of a fork, gently press down on each scoop in a crosshatch pattern. Sprinkle with sugar and transfer baking sheet to oven. Bake until slightly puffed, 11 to 12 minutes. Cookies will still be soft. Let cool for 5 minutes. Carefully transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.