Is There Frosting on My Nose?

Remembering cookie-baking days…

By Eric Peterschmidt

The following is a story that was shared with me by one of our TightKnit friends. Perhaps it will bring back memories for you as it did for me. – Eric  

Ah, the smell of the house on cookie-baking day. The mess in the kitchen, the warmth of the oven, and the smells – did I mention the smells? 

When I recently found the bowl of cookie cutters buried in a box that hadn’t been unpacked for years, every cookie-baking day of my childhood came back to me. Grandma in her special cookie-baking apron – the kind with the bib part that goes around the neck and the part that covers the lap – sorta light pink from a distance but when you got up close you saw it was roses on an off-white background. 

Flour on the counter awaits the sugar cookie dough to come out of the fridge, ready to be rolled out to the perfect thickness. For me, it was my Grandma who always baked the cookies. I know in other families, cookie baking can be a multi-generational activity, but in my family it was my special time with Grandma. 

When I was little, I got to help put the ingredients into the bowl, and Grandma mixed everything together. Then she’d scrape the dough out of the bowl and wrap it in cellophane wrap and put it in the refrigerator to chill.  

That’s when we would get busy making frosting – in so many colors, depending on what season or theme we were going after. Pink and light blue and green at Easter. Red and green and white for Christmas. Any colors we wanted for birthdays. One year we made Thanksgiving cookies with orange and brown and yellow frosting for turkey feathers. Fun, right? 

Of course, I always had to taste-test the frosting before we could EVER put it on a cookie. And I’m pretty sure there was ALWAYS frosting on my nose.

Finally the dough came out, and we got to roll it. Grandma let me do a few rolls, then she took over to get it perfect. And then… well, then we got to get out the COOKIE CUTTERS. Every shape you can imagine. We even had one that made a kitty cat shape, and it was my favorite – so we had a Christmas cat, an Easter cat, a birthday cat, and yes, even a Thanksgiving cat. 

Cookie-cutting-out was my almost-favorite part of cookie baking day. I loved pressing the cutters into the dough, and then Grandma would carefully pull up the shapes I had cut and put them carefully on a cookie sheet.  

And then they would bake. And the smells – I may have mentioned them before. Is there anything as wonderful as the smell of baking cookies? Even to this day, in my mind, the only thing that competes with the smell of baking cookies is coming in from the cold to a house that smells like roasting turkey. 

Comfort smells from childhood. I have them and hope you do, too. 

Cookies out of the oven and onto the cooling rack. I may or may not have burned my fingers a time or two trying to sneak a just-out-of-the-oven cookie. You? 

And now, time to frost. My very favorite part! 

I’m not gonna lie – I made a MESS of frosting cookies. Grandma’s always looked so nice – and like they were supposed to look. I mean, her Santas looked like Santa. Her trees looked like trees. Her turkeys actually looked like turkeys. My masterpieces, on the other hand, were studies in abstract art. Vaguely Santa-shaped blobs of red and white frosting. Sort-of turkeys in brown and yellow and orange – with no faces. 

And Grandma always made me feel like my cookie decorations were the most special, absolutely normal decorations they could possibly be. 

Because that’s what Grandmas do, right? 

Finding the cookie cutters brought back ALL the memories.  

The smells of her kitchen. The flour on my hands. The smiles and the laughter and the joy that happened every single time.  

The expression on her face when I carefully handed her a cookie masterpiece and told her I had made it just for her. 

And the frosting on my nose. I’m pretty sure she put it there. 


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