Seasonal & Holidays

Mom's Cookie Recipe Brings Cheer To Sad Coronavirus Christmas

KONKOL COLUMN: A Facebook stranger's request for mom's famous sugar cookie recipe reminds why some Christmas traditions are worth skipping.

A random request for Bunny Konkol's sugar cookie recipe from a Facebook stranger is a reminder some holiday traditions are worth giving up.
A random request for Bunny Konkol's sugar cookie recipe from a Facebook stranger is a reminder some holiday traditions are worth giving up. (Photo by Mike Konkol)

CHICAGO — A Facebook stranger sent a note asking me to save her family's Christmas.

The lady's mom had been baking my mom's famous sugar cookies ever since I wrote about the "perfect combination of sweet, buttery, crisp goodness that's purely addictive" in the Sun-Times nine years ago.

This year, her mother's only copy of the recipe went missing.

"She's devastated," the stranger wrote.

For eleven grandkids, a pandemic Christmas without those cookies would be too much joy denied.

"You'd make her Christmas if you could share it," the woman pleaded.

So, I snapped a photo of the recipe card and sent it along.

"OMG u just made her Christmas thanks soooo much!" the stranger replied.

For weeks, like a lot of people, I've silently dreaded missing out on all the traditions cancelled this coronavirus Christmas. We won't gather around my folks' dining room table for supper. I won't get to watch my knucklehead nephews gleefully open gifts. For the first time in 14 years, my cousins and pals won't bring their kids over for our "Funky Buddha Christmas" party.

Some days just the thought of not being together with family on Christmas triggers an overwhelming sadness.

But the random request for mom's cookie recipe cheered me up.

I wrote about those cookies on Dec. 7, 2011.

That was more than six years removed from the spring afternoon when mom flattened balls of delicious cookie dough with the sugar-covered bottom of a water glass, baked 'em until the edges turned perfectly golden and served them up with heartbreaking news: "They found a lump."

That was probably the only time I picked up one of those delicious cookies and didn't eat it.

I still remember the taste of salty tears, watching my sister cry and dad telling us, "The word — cancer — sounds like death. It doesn't mean death." And he was right.

Mom has been breast cancer free 15 years.

Since then, she's become a grandma to two delightful kids, written a book, got a new hip and, this year, celebrated with dad their 50th wedding anniversary with a coronavirus-inspired supper of carryout steaks from Texas Roadhouse.

As sad as it is that we won't get to celebrate Christmas together this year, the stranger's request was a welcome reminder not to forget all the reasons taking precautions to protect loved ones from coronavirus is more important preserving traditions.

Having mom around to keep baking the most delicious cookies that anybody ever tasted is just one.

Mark Konkol, recipient of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting, wrote and produced the Peabody Award-winning series, "Time: The Kalief Browder Story." He was a producer, writer and narrator for the "Chicagoland" docu-series on CNN, and a consulting producer on the Showtime documentary, "16 Shots."

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