Thursday, September 1, 2011

Irene and Coffee Nut Raisin Cookies

The day was Friday, August 26th and it was a picture perfect day on Long Island. The sky was blue with a slight breeze. People would say, “The calm before the storm.” One would never know the damage that hurricane Irene would bring the next day and throughout the following week. As you may know, Hurricane Irene plowed through the East Coast this past weekend. So, I heeded the warnings from the news to get prepared. I searched for my candles, flashlights, extra water, charged my cell phone, found non-perishable can foods, batteries, and my radio. Now, I felt I was ready for Irene. Saturday afternoon the rain began and the wind picked up. As I was watching the weather channel, there was a huge bang. It was now early Sunday morning about 2:15 AM. Then, “ALL WENT BLACK. “ I guess Irene’s wrath had finally hit Long Island. As I clicked on my flashlight and went to light some candles, I could hear the wind howling through the windows of the house. I tried looking out of my window, to see what the huge bang was but all I could see was blowing trees and rain in-between the blackness. Later, I found out that the bang was a transformer that had blown.

As my sleepless night continued I kept hearing all kinds of sounds, the rain hitting the windows with a major force was awfully scary. Then finally, daylight came through the windows and I could see it was still raining with the winds blowing, but you could see that Irene was on her way out. Still no electric power and no cell phone connection either. I felt like I was disconnected from the world. No way to even make some coffee or something hot. Then I heard a knock on the door, it was my sister-in-law with my nephew and niece. They had been driving around to see the damage. The stories they told me about trees falling, poles, and branches as well as traffic lights that were not working, it sounded like a disaster movie description. They also were without power. They mentioned that the diner was opened. They must have had a generator. So I ventured out and had a hot meal, and then back home to the darkness.

By Monday afternoon I had gained cell phone power as well as my electric. Wahoo! Lights, phones and the internet. I was very lucky; other people are still without power and have floods in their basements. Many major roads are still flooded, trees are down, branches and debris is everywhere. As Irene traveled up the east coast, there was devastation through out all the states, but we were lucky. Dealing with a little inconvenience compared to the real devastation that Katrina did in 2005 was not a problem. So, as I post this to my blog, my hope is that everyone is OK, has power, phone connections and I say, “Goodnight Irene!”

My great-grandparents Sofia & Giovanni (sitting) 1918
My grandmother Julia second from the right
Now, as the cleanup continues, my thoughts go to what it must have been like years back in my great-grandmothers day. During the storm, my mind was wondering how spoiled we are with all of our modern equipment. Back in the day, they used gas lamps for light and there wasn't any refrigeration, they had to have the ice man deliver ice to keep their food cold. No modern conveniences like we have today. But yet they raised a family, worked, went to church and it all seemed to work out well. We take these things for granted and we panic when the power goes out. I am just like everyone else out there that can’t understand how to deal without power of any kind. During Irene, when I would go into a room with my candle, automatically I would turn on my light switch. Then I would remember that there aren’t any lights. Can you imagine how ridiculous that is? See what I mean, we’ve become so used to our way of modern life that these things become a habit. Yes, our modern medicine has come a long way, but we should not be so dependant with our modern day world and all of our automated systems. This was also a way to bring the family together to talk, read, play games and learn from our families with a closeness that I think has lost its power. So, as I end this post, I for one will never take for granted electric, phones and try to live a simpler life.

Labor Day is this weekend. It is an American National holiday and it is sometimes called the “unofficial end to summer.” Labor Day’s true meaning is to honor the everyday working people. These people have built and maintained the heart of this country. My recipe this week is one that was passed down from my great-grandmother, Sofia. If you are celebrating for Labor Day weekend, this cookie is very easy to take with you on a picnic or a BB-Q. As you eat these sweet, remarkable cookies, you can taste the texture between the nuts and raisins. I hope that you enjoy them and your holiday weekend.

Coffee, Nut and Raisin Cookies


1 cup of light brown sugar
1 cup of white granulated sugar
2 full tablespoons of Crisco
2 eggs
4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 cup of raisins and chopped nuts (mixed together)
1 cup of regular brewed coffee
1 pinch of salt


Mix sugar and Crisco. Then mix in 1 egg at a time, beating separately. Then mix flour alternately with coffee, baking powder, salt, and mixture of raisins/nuts. Once combined together, drop by tablespoons on to a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes till browned.
Till Next Time…………

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