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Friday, February 19, 2010

Cookie Jar Capers And A Mocha Jones

A Poor Man's Mocha and A Cookie Jar Crime Scene -- Welcome to Friday at That Old House!

My life of crime began early. I was probably not long out of diapers when I started receiving lessons
from my older brothers on how to silently break into and steal the contents of this glass jar:

This was the jar my Mom used for cookies when we were growing up.
It is more than 50 years old.

We suspect Mom chose it for cookies because of the ground glass stopper and neck.
Have you ever pulled a ground glass stopper out of a ground glass neck?
It is noisy. And sounds something like fingernails on a blackboard.

For a clumsy or careless child, an attempt at stealing Oreos or Nutter Butters out of this jar would guarantee a maternal holler from somewhere in the depths of the house: "Don't spoil your dinner!"

But we were not clumsy children; burglars' skills were developed in our family at tender ages.

It was probably my Dad who taught my oldest brother to steady his hand with his pinky finger on the side of the jar, and feel gently, gently -- to center the stopper in the middle of the neck where it would not touch the sides (by the way, this is not easy; try it!) and lift out the stopper excruciatingly slowly. . . and silently.

My Dad was often a party to our insubordinations, and we loved
hearing our Mom's exasperated, "HERB! Don't rile the children!"

My brother passed the skill on to the rest of us. We practiced, sometimes got caught, sometimes got a cookie. Sometimes had to hand over the stolen cookie to my oldest brother because, well, he was the oldest and therefore the boss.

I've got packets of rice in this cookie jar now. No one is tempted to steal them, not even Dion the dog.

Recently, we asked a bunch of Mom's grandchildren if they could manage to open the cookie jar -- and close it again -- silently. They tried. They all failed miserably. No criminal instinct at all. Where did we go wrong?


And now for something completely different: Starbucks in my kitchen.

No, not really.
I know very little about Starbucks. I never go without a translator, usually one of my daughters . . . who pretty much think I need a keeper most of the time anyway.

Alone, I would be stuck dumb with confusion and stand there, gaping like a beached flounder,
trying to decipher the indeciperable lingo of the Starbucks' corporate gobbledygook.

Eventually I would flee.

But that doesn't mean that sometimes I don't want a snazzy hot coffee drink.

Like today. It's still all white outside, and windy as heck; our loose shutters are playing a conga beat on the clapboards.
But I've got leftover breakfast coffee in the carafe, and this box, dug out of the depths of the pantry:

Daughter Anne brought this box of cocoa mix to her dorm room her freshman year of college. That was 4 and a half years ago. I am not sure if there's a pull-by date on these babies, but I'm not looking for one.

Ignorance is bliss.

I heat up some morning coffee in a favorite mug.

Ruthlessly tear open an innocent package of sugar-free cocoa mix. . .

And dump it into the coffee.

Uh-oh. Is it supposed to be this lumpy?

Never mind. It's probably okay, right? Right?
Stir it up! Action shot!

And guess what?

It tastes pretty darned good, a lot like one of those expensive mocha drinks at one of the expensive coffee stores, only this cup of Cocoa Joe has the added thrill of being made with possibly rancid ingredients.

Some people snowboard for winter thrills; I drink outdated powdered drink mixes.

I have decided that the little cocoa packets are more at home in the old cookie jar than were the brown rice bags.

If I have them out where I can see them, instead of in the back of the pantry
in their box, they may actually get used up this calendar year.

Of course, cookies would be even better in Mama's old cookie jar, but I can't ask for the moon, now, can I?

Join Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show And Tell Friday. Click here!

And Friday means food at Designs By Gollum. Click here for Foodie Friday posts!
It's this blog party's one-year anniversary; congratulations, Michael!

Have a wonderful weekend. We are hauling the rest of the new-old dining room table into the house (if by we I mean Howard and Peggy's husband Bill), and possibly traveling to Connecticut to pick up an Ebay win that I will share with you on Tuesday. It's sweet, and I do not need it, but sometimes you just can't resist, you know? It's like cookies in a clear glass jar! --- Cass


  1. You are always so funny, Cass. We never saw the cookies or the cookie jar. Somehow my mother kept that a mystery and they magically appeared AFTER supper! Love the cookie jar, though. What a treasure!! The Cocoa Joe doesn't look half bad...I would however get, ahem...a new box. Or, keep it around for the kiddies for when they become more adept at getting the jar open. That can be their 'reward'! ;-)


  2. Such a wild woman Cass! LOL I have been known to stir chocolate protein powder into my coffee and call it a mocha latte- how bad can anything chocolate be??
    My boys are EXPERT thieves. Timmy in particular is infamous for hiding candy wrappers in places where Mom won't find them till she has a houseful of company and will be completely mortified Ahhh, the joys of motherhood
    xoxo Pattie

  3. LOVE LOVE your house - and great cookie jar posting!!! Fun - Fun

  4. ILOVE THAT COOKIE JAR. I love all things glass... and this is really awesome. I'm deaf enough now that I wouldn't hear the nailscratch opening, Now I've got something new to hunt for!...

    And um....four years old, huh? You are a brave woman.

  5. Cute post! I always make my mochas like that!

  6. That was a cute and funny story about the cookie jar! My co-worker used to put hot chocolate mix in her coffee too.

  7. Mom's cookies when I was growing up never made it into a cookie jar. They were lucky if they even lasted long enough to go into tupperware!.

    The Blue Ridge Gal

  8. Oh Cass..
    How I love visiting with you!!
    I've been known to ignore "dates" on drink mixes..after all, what ingredient is in them that could spoil?
    and with new and improved technology in the food preservation process..they should be lasting longer! but with five kids growing up at our house, things never lasted long enough to be outdated or spoiled!
    ahhh..the things we do during the long bleak days of are such a trip!
    warmest hugs..laughing smiles..

  9. lol, I enjoyed the cookie jar story and it's to true about the Starbucks lingo. What are Nutter Butters?. Kathy.

  10. What a great story about the cookie jar and I was laughing about the four year old Swiss Miss. That processed packaged stuff is probably good through eternity...Kim

  11. You are braver than I am. 4yrs old? Yep - I would have pitched it.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  12. I make up my own latte recipes here all the time. I STARTED out adding hot cocoa mix to coffee - - - but now my favorite is caramel syrup, coffee mate, and coffee. YUM.

  13. I had to laugh and be quiet at the same time...The Boss is next to me on the couch and reading....even my typing drives him crazy....This was a very funny post...I hope food poisening didn't occur from the out dated cocoa....

  14. I'll bet they wouldn't be 4 year old cookies would they.

  15. Cass you are the best! I just adore this sweet and funny story. What a precious jar filled with love and memories. Dion the dog won't even steal one? HaHa!

    I'll tell my hubby about the coffee and cocoa drink. He will want to try it for sure. We already love your scrambled eggs recipe to pieces. Did I already tell you we make them together every weekend? Yummy!

    Have a great one & stay warm!
    ~Melissa :)

  16. Hilarious! My daughter and son-in-law used to entertain themselves by checking dates on my was a dead giveaway when some of them were marked with grease pencil....

    Love the old jar....what a treasure.

    Warm blessings,

  17. Oh Cass, I am laughing! You are the cutest thing. Loved your stories about the cookie jar. I can't believe it survived you and your brothers and now you're letting your grandchildren try it. It's a beautiful jar and even when it has nothing in it, it is full of memories. Mother had one little pantry in the kitchen, where she kept what little junk food was kept at our house. My sister and I often pondered why that was the only door in the house that made so much noise when we opened it. We still don't know how mother made that door so noisy! I was really laughing about the powdered cocoa, because I seldom check dates on food. I have checked them after I tasted something that just wasn't quite right and been shocked by how old they were! Thank you for all of the laughs tonight. laurie

  18. hey Cass? one of these days I am coming up and we are going junkin... be careful on your trip, its still cold here, urghgh! I am so wanting Spring to come (like all of us) so instead of sitting around wishing I am going back to the cellar to work on the coffee table, only 3 more items to do (yikes) as soon as I get the one done I will distress it and take pictures of the distressed table (so you can see it) and the coffee table. It is kinda hard to sand what is beautifully (if I must say so myself) and obviously I must. painted and sand areas that look like they have wear and tear on them. Sheesh! Did you get all of that???

    PS. I am going to send you some new swiss miss, and have you ever tried Krusteaz pancake mix? To die for, fluffy ummmmmmmm

  19. My daughter is ruthless and regularly goes through our cupboards and fridge, throwing out anything she considers past its 'best before' date. I do know, however, that there are packets of instant hot chocolate way in the back of the pantry - perhaps I'd best leave the computer open to this blog as I try one of them, just in case of poisoning, so that The Great Dane will know what's gone on.

  20. This was all too funny! Your criminal activity and use of "vintage" cocoa mix had me in stitches. I've been known to use old packaged stuff also and lived through it.

    I can't tell you how many times I heard (and used) "Don't spoil your dinner" in my lifetime. Now I hear my daughter saying it and it's usually to me, lol.

  21. What a cute story! You are such the rebel!
    Have a great weekend!


  22. I bet this granddaughter could get the cookie jar open silently (if the right sort of cookies were inside, that is.)

    I used to put sugar free hot chocolate mix in my dining hall coffee all the time in college :)

    I'm also writing this comment at a Starbucks . . . great post, Mom!

  23. I'm trying to cut down on my coffee and cocoa intake so I should try find me one of those jars.....the noise will remind me not to give in to temptation!

  24. I always add hot cocoa mix to my coffee or coffee to my hot cocoa mix. But it is usually not out of date yet. If we don't here from you tomorrow we will know you have a tummy ache.
    I love the cookie jar.

  25. I love stories behind beloved objects. My mother has a jar like that, too, and your words brought back such sweet memories. XX00

  26. What a fun post about your cookie jar! You tell a great story! You really make me laugh. The Swiss Miss incident seems exactly like something I would do. I somehow figure dry things never expire. So what if it's a bit lumpy? And I agree with your assessment of Starbucks. I can only retain so much lingo in my head at my age. :)


  27. hey Cass? stop over at my blog, I took a pic for you so you can see the distressed table, also, pig in Yiddish is Kazza but I know that is not the correct spelling, do you know how to spell it?

  28. You are so darn funny. I love reading your snipits of a well lived life. I think I have the twin to your box of Swiss Miss becase they were born around the same time. Think I will walk on the wild side with you and go fix myself a potentially rancid cup of Mocha.

  29. I tried you fancy drink tonight and o boy is it good!
    I have 2 jars that look exactly like that! The detail on the top is almost exactly the same. Nick and I fell in love with them at an antique shop on our honeymoon and we had to get them. Mine are 2 different sizes. I have candy and cookies in them :)


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