I hadn’t set out to write about her. It just happens to be National Peanut Butter day, and I love her flourless peanut butter cookies.
Aunt Judy was that aunt. You know the one. A bit rebellious. The baby of the family. (The favorite maybe.) She was only 18 years older than I.
Even with her rebellious streak, family was extremely important to her. She kept us together, organized the holidays, cooked, and was truly present not like so many of us who get distracted by making everything just so.
My parents divorced when I was in preschool, so I only saw her a few times a year when my dad would take me to family stuff. Once I was in school, Aunt Judy would take me for a weekend here and there. I saw her more than my dad even though she lived in another city. I loved her long straight hair. She was natural. Earthy, you might say.
She loved antiques. Her style was simple, yet eclectic. I loved going to her apartment, which was a converted attic in an old house. In her small living room was a wrought iron crib, filled with dolls new and old, and a teddy bear similar to the one she had brought me back from England. She considered using this crib for her first baby, Brandon, who arrived 12 years and 1 week after I was born. Brandon became my own live doll and visits became more frequent.
By the time I graduated high school, Aunt Judy was married to Eric and had Jonathan. We would frequently get together on our own or at family gatherings. I always knew how important I was to her.
In August 1998, she and her family were in a terrible car accident. The boys, 13 and 8 at the time, survived. Eric and Judy did not.
I think of her often. I see her in her boys, now grown men. I like to think that I’ve inherited her love of family and gift for bringing people together. I know we shared a love for baking.
Here is one of the few recipes I have of hers.
Peanut Butter Cookies
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups sugar (I used brown sugar today; delish!)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups peanut butter
Mix well and make into balls about the size of a walnut. Crisscross with a fork (plastic works well) or press a chocolate kiss in the center. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Makes 3 dozen cookies.