...the Journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

For the next few weeks, we'll be seeing magnets from Ned & Marta's refrigerator door.

This cool tiki god came from Hawaii

Household Hints


A Medieval Home Companion:
Housekeeping in the 14th Century

will return in a couple of days.

Here are some of my theatre reviews, if you're interested.

Updated 3/10/01


The Brethren
by John Grisham



That's it for today!


13 April 2001

There it was. Right in the middle of downtown Boston -- my past. Right there on a cart with folks lining up to partake.

The cart was selling fried bread dough--big puffy pieces topped with fruit toppings or sugar or something.

It wasnít the fried bread dough I grew up with, but Iíd never seen it for sale anywhere before.

In my house they were called hockies and they were the special breakfast on weekends. I donít know why they were called hockies, and family lore does not offer any illumination on this point. All I know is that my great grandmother (whom I do not remember meeting) used to fix flattened balls of bread dough, fried in hot fat, and then slathered with butter, and she called them hockies.

I remember sitting at the table with my sister, my mother frying up mountains of hockies, and Karen and I trying to have a contest to see who could eat the most. I think I managed to eat 12 one time. Or maybe it was 8. Lots, in any case.

My mother usually didnít make the bread dough, but would send me off to the local bakery (four blocks away down a very steep hill) to pick up a pound of bread dough. I still remember the time I asked for a pound of hockey dough and the baker didnít have a clue what I was talking about, so had to call my mother for clarification.

After Iíd made my purchase, Iíd carry the nice, warm mound of dough back up the steep hill and my mother would flour her fingers and start pulling off golf-ball size pieces, flattening them and sticking them in the hot Crisco.

We never did put anything but butter on them. No fruit toppings. No sugar. No syrup of any kind. Just hockies and lots and lots of butter.

Itís funny how tastes recall memories of childhood. And how they donít quite match the taste that your memory holds for you.

Seeís candy is something I grew up with. Itís still my favorite chocolate, though it doesnít taste the same as the stuff my godfather used to bring to every big holiday dinner. My grandmother was an expert at looking at the tops of the bon bons and knowing what was inside by the design swirled around in chocolate. I got to be pretty good at it myself. I still know whatís inside, most of the time. But it doesnít taste the same.

Likewise, Iíve never quite been able to duplicate the taste of the Tollhouse cookies my mother used to make. I can whip up a mean chocolate chip cookie using the same recipe she always used, but it never quite tastes the same any more. Maybe the thrill came from having learned how to lift the top of the ceramic piggy cookie jar and steal one without getting caught. Success was so much sweeter.

Whipped cream doesnít taste as good as it used to either. Itís all those damn preservatives. Itís ruined the sweet, natural taste of the cream itself. Except in Ireland. In Ireland it still tastes "right."

The combination of chocolate cake and whipped cream used to be one of my favorites. A typical fancy dessert in our house was "chocolate cream roll." It was a chocolate sponge cake baked in a jelly roll pan lined with waxed paper and dusted with powdered sugar. When the cake was done, you peeled off the waxed paper, cut off the crispy edges, and rolled the rest of the cake tightly in a clean towel. When the cake was cooled, you unrolled it carefully, spread it with whipped cream--the real thing--and then rolled back up again. When it was rolled, you frosted the whole thing with a semi-sweet chocolate frosting. Itís a taste I havenít had in decades.

The crispy edges that were cut off were always put on a plate and Karen and I would eat them. We also ate little sugar pies or cinnamon rolls that were made from leftover pie crust dough.

At Christmas time there were always lots of cookies. My favorites were called Goodness Sake cookies. (Iíve found them in other cookbooks as Mexican Tea Cakes). These little balls were mostly butter and flower, with flavor coming from fresh chopped pecans. When they were baked, you rolled them in powdered sugar. I make those cookies now, from time to time. Again, they just donít taste "right." Maybe my taste buds are too old.

Iím getting hungry just writing this entry. Maybe itís having spent the last week with my mother. Iím picturing myself back in the old kitchen, waiting for a plate full of hockies to be put in front of me along with a cube of real butter.

Itís clear that this figure is not the result of a lifetime of munching celery sticks.

Be sure to check out the photos from the Boston trip, which I uploaded to Club Photo

One Year Ago:
Making a Difference

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 4/4/01 by Bev Sykes