Snow the Goat with his human family some 50 years ago. Courtesy of Kay Wheeler

When my children were in grade school, they made friends with the grandchildren of a wonderful lady who lived about four houses down the street. Her daughter and the grandchildren would visit “Granny” every summer and visit us, too. We lived in a frame house with a barn and about 10 acres, so we had chickens and horses, a dog, three cats and a goat.

The goat’s name was Snow. We all loved her. She was part of the family. Snow had a mind of her own and once in a while, got into trouble. One day my neighbor lady, and her daughter and two grandchildren, came to visit. She brought us her gingerbread cookies. It was her favorite cookie recipe, and she made them whenever the girls visited.

They arrived and wanted to visit the horses, then eat the cookies. I told them to put the cookies on the dining-room table while we visited the horses. We would have a cookie and milk feast when we finished petting horses and kittens and the dog. Off we went to the pasture. When we returned, I noticed the door to the house was ajar but thought nothing of it. When you number around four children and three adults, someone will most likely not close a door completely.

I walked into the dining room. There was Snow the goat standing on the dining room table finishing the last of the very special gingerbread cookies! The children were delighted. My friend and her daughter were trying to keep from laughing. It was quite a sight.

We gently lifted Snow off the table and took her outside. Then my friend turned to me, still laughing, and asked me if I would like the recipe for the cookies. Of course my answer was unequivocally “yes!”

Mrs. Sarni’s Gingerbread People Cookies


Mix in bowl with mixer:

1 cup molasses or sorghum syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs

In another bowl, sift together:

2 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
5 cups flour

Work the sifted dry ingredients into the molasses-pumpkin mixture. You might need a little more flour. Make a soft yet firm dough. Chill thoroughly. Roll on a floured board. With a gingerbread person cookie cutter, or just a plain round one, cut out your cookies.

Arrange the cookies on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until your finger doesn’t leave an impression on the cookie when touched. Watch, don’t overbake! Decorate with frosting and raisins.

THE COOK: Kay Wheeler, Raymond

“When I was growing up, my mom never taught me to cook. She said, ‘When it is necessary, you will know what to do.’ Well, I didn’t know anything about food, and my first year of marriage was a kitchen disaster. Then I figured it out and have enjoyed cooking since then. My first husband, an international airline pilot, has been dead for 19 years. He was Austrian and Polish so I learned that kind of cooking. My second husband is deceased, too. He was totally English, so I learned how to cook that. Mr. Number 3 is Italian, still here with me and, quite frankly, I’ll never be able to cook as well as his mother.”

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