Country Kitchen: Cookie Jar Memories

Country Kitchen: Cookie Jar Memories

By Mary Emma Allen

When I saw the big red apple cookie jar midst the jumble of belongings in the old farmhouse where I grew up, I realized it had survived the years since my childhood. The paint was worn in places where little hands had held it while removing the cover and reaching inside for treats. However, enough red and green and yellow remained that memories of childhood came flooding back.

Those days when we four children rushed from the school bus to the kitchen we often were assailed by the aroma of freshly baked cookies. Those that remained after we had our fill before heading outside for chores, Mother placed in the cookie jar.

Mother received the Big Apple one year for Christmas. I can't remember who gave it to her, but it became one of those familiar sights in our kitchen.

Cookie Jars of Childhood

The cookie jar of my husband's childhood was a brown cow which someone gave to his mother. Since they lived on a dairy farm, it had seemed an appropriate gift. She, too, kept it filled with cookies for those eight boys who came in hungry from the barn.

The grandchildren later looked for cookies in the "brown cow" whenever they visited "The Farm." One of the granddaughters now has it in a place of honor in her home for her children to enjoy.

Another cookie jar my mom had was given to her by Cousin Ina when this relative moved to an assisted living home. It was yellow, with basket weave and leaves on the outside. When the "big apple" overflowed, Mother stored cookies here.

The cookie jar that will fill my grandchildren's memories is a Pillsbury Doughboy my daughter acquired by saving Doughboy points. When you lift the hat off, a few musical notes sound out. So no little hands can snitch cookies without mom being aware.

Cookie Jar Collectibles

Cookie jars have become popular collectibles, whether for monetary or memory value. Many of us have cookies jars in our childhood and may find similar ones in yard sales, antique shops, or at auctions that we'll want to acquire. Or we may find others we simply like and want to use in our home.

I discovered that many Big Apple cookie jars were made by the Hull Pottery in the era when Mother received hers (the late 1940s or early 1950s). A few other makers of cookie jars included Abingdon, American Bisque, Brush, McCoy, Red Wing, Shawnee, and Twin Winton.

Cookie jars exist in many shapes and designs. Some are in the form of fruit and vegetables, animals, birds, story and movie characters, buildings, buckets, barrels, and even Noah's ark. Most are pottery, but some are of glass.

I'd enjoy hearing about the cookie jars of your childhood. At least write down those memories for your families to enjoy. And make some of the cookies that you found so delicious.

STIR-N-DROP SUGAR COOKIES my mom found quicker to make than the ones you rolled out and cut. Her sister gave her this recipe.

Mix together 2 beaten eggs. 2/3 cup oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (optional). Stir in 3/4 cup sugar. Sift together 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix creamed and dry ingredients together well.

Drop by teaspoons onto greased baking sheet. Flatten with greased glass dipped into sugar. Sprinkle with more sugar, if desired. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are done. Remove from pan at once.

(If there are any cookies left after your family samples them, store in your favorite cookie jar.)

(C) 2003 Mary Emma Allen

About the Author

Mary Emma Allen has been writing her "Cooking Column" for newspapers and online publications for 30 years and has compiled a family cookbook. SheÂ’s currently compiling a cookbook/story book, "Tales From a Country Kitchen." Visit her web site for more cooking articles. Contact her at

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