The taste of memory

Singer/songwriter Michael Franti is a big fan of pop music and the great memories it evokes of childhood road trips, picnics and vacations.

The same can be said for the nostalgia associated with taste. The mind associates a certain food with carefree days, first dates or newly found independence.

Recently, my friend William was waxing nostalgic about a summertime treat made by a friend’s mother. He remembered how they had to wait out on the porch while she put the finishing touches on the ice box cookies. She didn’t want kids underfoot in her kitchen – ever.

On the waning days of summer, he wanted to capture that memory, but couldn’t find the recipe.

So I turned to an old faithful – the 1988 tattered and splattered Keepsakes from the First Baptist Church. And sure enough, on the top of page 75 –  ice box cookies. William took the book home and three days later called and invited me to come by for a taste.


Old-fashioned ingenuity made graham crackers and coconut into something completely different. A big, bold bar of sunshine.

Happy memories, William. And good work, my trusty sidekick. Another page to dog ear.

Ice Box Cookies

1 sleeve graham crackers

2 sticks butter

1 egg

1 cup sugar

rich, buttery. Quick, get the iced tea.

1/2 cup milk

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup shredded coconut (I would use unsweetened)

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

Line a 9×13 pan with graham crackers.

Melt butter over low heat.

Beat egg, sugar and milk together.  Add to butter

and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add

nuts, coconut and graham cracker crumbs.

Pour over graham crackers in pan and cover completely with more graham crackers.


3/4 stick butter

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 Tbsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

With a mixer, combine ingredients and beat until smooth. Ice cookies and chill at least two hours. Cut into two dozen bars. Bring cookies to room temperature before serving.


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