My grandmother used to make these amazing cookies for special occasions. They are called Franz Joseph Cookies and supposedly took their name from the famous Emperor of Austria. I’m not really sure the back story on how my grandma got this recipe but it was a family favorite and one that had great pomp and circumstance around the making of the cookies. She resisted giving the recipe to anyone for many years and finally when she was well into her late 80s, she gave me the recipe. When I make them, I use her gifted and typed recipe that is yellowed and stained with cooking splatters. I posted the recipe for these wonderful cookies several years ago. Feel free to bake them and make sure to tell grandma thanks! (The photo on that page is her in her kitchen when she was in her 80s, still cooking up a storm.)
Recently my sister, an extremely talented and published poet, wrote a poem about the making of these cookies. It was published by Red Paint Hill Publishing in the anthology, “Mother is a Verb,” released May 2014. The poem poignantly evokes the memory of these cookies and of my grandmother and I hope you will enjoy reading this poem as much as I do.
All summer, I sleep on a foldaway
in my grandparents’ living room,
against the open window,
the torn mesh screen
patterning the trees
outside. At night,
wisps of jasmine and honeysuckle,
fall asleep to the dewy patter of crickets.