Memoir Contest Winner, Honorable Mention for Smoked Snickerdoodles by Deanne Watson

by Matilda Butler on September 30, 2010

catnav-scrapmoir-active-3Post #57 – Women’s Memoirs, ScrapMoir – Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Memoir Writing Contest Award Winner


Kendra and I are pleased to publish Deanne Watson’s story and recipe that received an honorable mention in our April Memoir Contest–KitchenScraps Category. Deanne writes from South Africa where she recalls her Mum’s love, her school days and the time she ate smoked snickerdoodles.

Congratulations Deanne.

Smoked Snickerdoodles!
by Deanne Watson, South Africa

The tin of freshly baked snickerdoodles bounced and vibrated as our old Peugeot station wagon made its way over the rural farm roads toward the city of Pietermaritzburg where my sisters and I were at boarding school.

A visit from our parents was always such a thrill. Besides breaking the monotony of boarding school life, Mum always came laden with homemade goodies for each of us. These had been lovingly baked and carefully packed in various containers. Sadly, no food was allowed in our upstairs dormitories so I always smuggled mine into the school classroom. Here I hid them on the back shelf among the many books and files of notes.

SnickerdoodlesOh the delight of opening the tin at school breaks and sharing with my friends – macaroons, peanut butter biscuits and crunchies. Snickerdoodles were my favourite as they had a certain crispness and a fine frosty coating of sugar and cinnamon.

One morning as I approached the school campus from the boarding hostel, I was met by a group of hysterical friends. There had been a fire during the night and our classroom was a miserable, charred mess. As I entered the room, I could see classmates crying as they discovered that their year’s work had gone up in flames. Petrol had been poured over the desks and shelves and set alight. The classroom was still standing but little else of our daily school life remained. We were devastated at the loss of all our carefully saved assignments as the final exams were only weeks away.

Imagine my delight when I discovered my blackened biscuit tin lying safely on the smouldering back shelf. A tentative opening revealed that the contents were unharmed. Smoked snickerdoodles – oh wow! Despite the faint petrol fume taint my friends and I still enjoyed them. It just shows that a kid at boarding school will eat almost anything.

Looking back through the years I realise how bereft and lonely my Mum must have felt during those years. At the age of 37, she had “lost” her three daughters to boarding school when my father decided to fulfil his dream of becoming a farmer. We moved from our comfy suburban home to a run-down farm in the midlands where there were no educational options for us. Mum was a wonderful caring mother and the loss of her three busy teenage girls must have been so difficult. She kept herself busy gardening, sewing, creating a home and finding her place in a new community.

I can just imagine her baking in the big farm kitchen in happy anticipation of visiting us and giving us her lovingly prepared tuck. I remind myself that baking couldn’t have been the spontaneous event it has always been in my home. Our farm was fairly remote so grocery shopping was done once a month and provisions had to be carefully planned. Our farmhouse oven was fuelled by wood and coal so getting it to the right temperature for baking was a bit of a hit and miss affair.

A Happy gathering in the kitchen on my 21st birthday. I'm on the left and Mum is second right.

A Happy gathering in the kitchen on my 21st birthday. I'm on the left and Mum is second right.

Mum died four years ago and I am the happy recipient of her recipe books. My favourite is an old one-quire exercise book, broken at the spine and held together with a piece of nylon stocking. The pages are stained and pockmarked with flour and who knows what else! Guess what recipe fell out from between the pages. Yes, my favourite snickerdoodle recipe. [And here it is, just as I found it.] It evoked such happy memories as nothing spells home to me as much as the wonderful aromas of baking. I am a mother and a grandmother myself now and when my children come to visit they have no hesitation in reaching for the container on top of the fridge to see what lovingly-baked goods await them.

Snickerdoodle Recipe





SnickerdoodlesSNICKERDOODLES (simple and fun )

1 cup sunflower or canola oil
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 ¾ cups flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
2 tsp cream of tartar
Pinch of salt

Mix oil, sugar and eggs together in a large bowl
Sift dry ingredients and add to mixture

Place in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Roll mixture into walnut sized balls and then roll in a mixture of 2T sugar and 2tsp cinnamon.
Flatten slightly with a fork.

Place in a pre-heated oven at 180 deg.C and bake for 10 – 15 minutes.
Store in an air-tight container.




Leave a Comment

Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category News Category News Category News Category