The week was an emotional and stressful one. First a Friday trip to Ken’s daughter and son-in-law in Dutchess to see his two Army Ranger grandsons, Joey and Johnny, before they head back to Afghanistan for their fourth tour of duty.
Then came the Saturday morning memorial service for my former neighbor and friend Jim. As head of the Women’s Guild memorial reception committee, I planned, purchased and set up flowers, food and beverages for after the service.
During the remembrances part of the memorial service, I had to speak as president of the Kiwanis club and as a friend. That was very difficult but, fortunately, I didn’t break down into tears until later.
Next was my annual Derby Party. Thank goodness for good friends who volunteered to bring an hors d’oeuvre. Normally, I make about 14 hors d’oeuvres myself and tell our guests to just bring themselves and wear a hat. There are contests and prizes for the best women’s hat and one for the best men’s hat. All prizes have a horse theme.
I also have a Derby quiz, using the same questions as the year before with a couple changes. My Kentucky cousin Jan, who got me started hosting Derby parties, once asked if I had trouble coming up with new questions every year. I reminded her that I live in a retirement community so people forget from one year to another. However, last year one woman cheated by looking up answers on her i-Pad.
When folks walk in, they are told to pick a toy horse off the foyer table. Each horse has the name of a horse running in the Derby wrapped around its middle so no one can read the name until the race starts. Whoever has the winning horse receives a bottle of booze –– Champagne, Redneck wine or this year, four bottles of Kentucky ale.
During the week in between meetings, croquet and dinners, I was busy baking brownies and cookies for Jim’s memorial service reception and making hors d’oeuvres. I found a simple recipe for lemon cookies that were easy to make and delicious. Here’s my version.
1 box lemon cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Put cake mix in a large bowl.
Stir in eggs, oil and lemon extract; mix well.
Roll pieces of dough into ball and drop into a bowl of the confectioners sugar.
Once covered in sugar, place the ball on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for about 5-8 minutes, depending on your oven. Do not overcook. The cookies will appear to be soft but they firm up when cool.
NOTE: I found lemon bread mix in Walmart and used that instead of the cake mix. The recipe claimed it yielded eight dozen cookies but I think I only had about five dozen. However, I wasn’t really counting.
You could probably substitute—maybe a strawberry cake mix and strawberry extract for the lemon cake mix and extract.
I can be reached via e-mail at sbmcooks@aol.
Sidna Brower Mitchell, a Memphis native, was graduated from Ole Miss in 1963 when she was named to the Hall of Fame. As editor of the Daily Mississippian when James Meredith integrated the university, she was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her editorials and received a number of other honors and job offers. Sidna accepted an internship with Scripps-Howard to become a general assignment reporter for the World Telegram and Sun in New York City and a deskman for UPI in London. Her other media work included being officer in charge of employee communications for Citibank in New York City, a hospital community affairs director and an assistant director of development for a NYC management consultant firm. She and her late husband owned weekly newspapers in Morris County, NJ, for 25 years, where she has continued to write a weekly cooking column since 1975. Sidna retired as deputy director of the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing (COAH).
Although retired, Sidna continues to be active on a state and local level. She serves on the state board for CAI-NJ (Community Association Institute-New Jersey), a Middlesex County GOP committeewoman, on the Rossmoor Board of Governors, president of the Rossmoor Kiwanis Club, president of the Rossmoor Republican Club and Community Church secretary. Her sport is serious croquet in which she has participated in tournaments in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Florida.