Gingerbread Cookies

The weather has been kind, cold and kind. Since we have to be isolated here at Mist Cottage, how cozy it seems to hunker down in warmth and comfort while the wind roars around us. There is no temptation to venture out, or away from the property. This is a kindness on nature’s part, because when the weather turns mild and beautiful, our response will be to escape the bonds of our home, and get into the great outdoors. Since we have a yard, that is not going to be a hardship. But not everyone has a yard, so I am glad that these long weeks of self-isolation, for people in apartments, and other housing without an outdoor space, have been experienced sheltering from not only contagion, but from the wind, rain, snow, and cold.

On Tuesday, April 14th, our State of Emergency in Ontario, Canada, was extended until May 12th. I am grateful for this, as I suffer to think of all the people who have passed away from this awful contagion, and celebrate that we can prevent some of the death and suffering. I feel our species is now under advisement, from natural forces far more powerful than we are, to very carefully consider the terms of our survival.

I have been busy this past week, milling flour, baking bread, and planning meals around rotated storage items. The oldest food is being eaten first. At the moment this involves vintage frozen beets, and several heads of fresh cabbage. The beets were purchased more than five years ago, the date was not put on the packaging, so it is uncertain just how old they are. They were purchased fresh, in a 10 lb bag, cooked, peeled, then frozen in two-serving packets. There are only two packets left now, we have been roasting them, with fresh carrots, to provide us with our dinner vegetables. I am considering using the last of them to make a large batch of Borscht this week, as we like to have heat-and-serve meals at the ready.

Months ago, before the first cases of the virus were announced in Canada, I purchased a 10 lb. bag of sweet potatoes. I have been making Sweet Potato Fries with them, for my lunch. These delicious and nutritious fries are dipped in homemade Squash Sauce, and what a decadent all-vegetable treat they are, tasting like junk food, nourishing the body like real food. There is still a half a bag of those sweet potatoes, so I will be enjoying these lunches for weeks to come.

A recent experiment with No-Knead Bread was deemed a relative failure. Two loaves were baked. The first loaf Attila and I struggled to eat, it was dense and the crust was tough and rubbery. The second loaf, made with a yeast culture from the first loaf, two days later, resulted in another undesirable loaf. It was a sweet loaf, having added an egg, milk, and a bit of sugar to it. The loaf was extremely dense, and crumbly. That second loaf has provided me with breakfast for the last few days though, waste not, want not. I have been making French Toast with it, and topping that with homemade Apple Sauce, and Canadian Maple Syrup. Surprisingly, these breakfasts are very good indeed. But not good enough that I would consider baking that type of bread again.

And a bit of self-referencing trivia to end this post: On April 19, 1811, 209 years ago, across the years and ocean from me, as I sit here in my living room in Ontario, Canada, a baby boy was born, John Thomas, in Manchester, England, where he lived for the rest of his days.

John Thomas was one of my 16 Great Great Great Grandfathers. In the 1870s John Thomas’s grandson, Alfred, would travel across the ocean and settle in Ontario, Canada. Alfred died just a few years before I was born, so I didn’t get to meet him, more is the pity, I have heard he made the BEST Gingerbread Cookies ever.



Date: 2:00 PM EDT Sunday 19 April 2020
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 100.4 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 6.3°C
Dew point: 4.8°C
Humidity: 90%
Wind: SW 25 gust 35 km/h
Visibility: 10 km


“It is better to sleep on things beforehand than lie awake about them afterward.”
Baltasar Gracian
1601 – 1658

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I love sweet potato fries, too. DH makes this great dip for me, combining mayonnaise and smoked paprika. So good!

When you mentioned your 32 Great Great Great Grandfathers it gave me pause. I’ve been so focused on one line of my family that I’ve been ignoring all these other lines. What a wealth of people and stories to ignore!


Hello Dear Maggie, and everyone else: We were supposed to have major thunder storms, starting at 3AM. Instead, we had a short thunder boomer around 11AM. I have 2 siblings and 1 daughter living in Alabama. I think they will get more storms. Staying in touch on line…right now, they are all having horrific thunder storms, including large hail. I am praying they all stay safe. I LOVE sweet potatoes…Mike doesn’t like them at all, so when I cook them, it is just for me. I cook them like “oven fries”, with lots of butter. Anything to try and get my weight up. I realize wanting to gain weight is opposite of most people. But since I am 5’11”, I need more pounds than my current 115. Not as bad as when I hit the low of 104, but, I still look skinny/ sickly. My body has reacted to my issues with A-FIB with weight loss. My doctor told me that my heart rate is so high most of the time…it is as if I am running marathons most days. Looking at family history has fascinated me since we got the internet. I was able to find a book, written by a lady in Alabama, (self published) , about my Mother’s family….it goes back to the 1400’s. So interesting. And, I have a genealogist at the University of Miami, that has done an unbelievable amount of work on my Father’s family. One thing I have found out about Daddy’s side….so many have fought in so many wars. In Europe and the US. It is always a treat when someone emails me, and I find a never known cousin….her great grandfather was a brother to my grandfather. I had never heard of her, but I did know about the brother of “Papa Yancey.” We have relatives everywhere!! I hope my children will develop an interest…right now, not so much. It has been a slow Sunday…I made a chicken dish in the crock pot…easy-Peecy. Now, I am ready to watch my Sunday programs on PBS….starting with CALL THE MIDWIFE….one of my favorites. Take care and I will connect again real soon. Xxoo. Margarett


I love sweet potato fries but make mine in the oven. A friend has an Air Fryer and says it makes the best sweet potato fries ever.
Maggie have you tried Googling “Youtube Call the Midwife”? You can find some PBS episodes on Youtube and watch them on your computer.
Margarett how amazing to find that book about your Mother’s family! I’ve only managed to research my family to one G-G-Grandfather in Italy and one G-Grandfather in Poland. I have most of the family in the US documented though, thanks to some help from a couple of cousins.

Stay safe everyone 🙂

Joan Lansberry

Sweet potatoes! I enjoy them simply steamed, with butter. The bi-weekly grocery shopping will be tomorrow or Friday, maybe I can locate some sweet potatoes…. (I echo the recommendation for “Call the Midwife”. The PBS website might have links to videos, too.)


Maggie I think someday I’ll get an air fryer. Between that and an instant pot and a way to make coffee, that’s all I need 🙂
Youtube has quite a few series uploaded. It’s pretty neat.

Have a wonderful, safe day, my friend.