by Terry Molinari
I don’t know how the idea of a cookie ministry popped into my head. I have been giving away baked goods for many years. When I was a kid doing yard chores at my aunt’s house the delicious scent of cookies, pies and cakes wafted from her kitchen. Perhaps it goes back to the early days of being a young New York State Trooper on patrol. I often stopped to chat with elderly people I saw working in their yards. They sometimes offered me cookies. I remember them all; Grandma Knapp in West Laurens, and Granny Lou in Otego. They sure made some great molasses cookies. Bertha Smith in Morris, can bake a mean apple pie. Bertha is 91 and still going strong. Grandma Knapp and Granny Lou are gone now but their recipes live on. My mother-law Granny B, who is also gone, once told me she never met a cookie she didn’t like, but she couldn’t say that about some people she had known. The generosity of these women stayed with me long after the enjoyment of eating their cookies faded.
These experiences led me to the idea of a cookie ministry. My friend Walter Meeks who passed away in April 2013 had a Pound Cake Ministry he called the “First Church of Bake & Tote.” That cemented the idea in my head. The ministry is very simple. My congregation is made up of the ill, the elderly, the needy, neglected and forgotten. I am often at the Post Office mailing off a package of treats to some unsuspecting receiver. The postal employees are always willing to test a “factory reject” cookie. If I am lucky the recipients will send me a photo holding up a cookie. The look on the face of people when I hand them a cookie is priceless. It is the most satisfying part of my baking days. I receive donations from many people to help the ministry survive. I am energetically baking, giving away and selling cookies. Baking has smoothed the rough patches and brought me pleasure.
Author: Terry Molinari is a Vietnam Veteran who served in the U.S. Navy Seabees. He is a retired New York State Trooper & Licensed Private Investigator. He is currently a baker, writer, poet and amateur comedian. “His heroes have always been cowboys.”