Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A flock of skunk turkeys November 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:44 PM

A candy corn, caramel, chocolate candy square and a fudge-striped (skunk) cookie are assembled to create a turkey cookie.

“WHAT WOULD YOU like to bring for Thanksgiving dinner?” my sister Lanae asked in an e-mail just weeks before the holiday. She was helping her daughter organize the meal for extended family and we could choose from vegetables, salad, rolls, dessert, all the usual fare.

Soon a second e-mail arrived. “You forgot the most important thing. Turkey cookies,” my oldest daughter, Amber, wrote. She then offered to make the treat.

My mom, who had started the whole turkey cookie tradition, gladly relinquished the task to her granddaughter. “Good!” she declared upon hearing the news of Amber’s volunteerism.

But only days before Thanksgiving, Amber was apparently regretting her impulsive decision.  “…I’m not sure if I’m going to have time to make them….suddenly I have no time and I have to decide what dessert to make. So we’ll see,” she e-mailed me.

“I expect there may be great disappointment if you don’t make turkey cookies, especially since you offered to make them,” I replied.

I figured Amber was probably hoping I would rescue her. But I didn’t.

She found time and showed up to Thanksgiving dinner with a pumpkin dessert and a cake pan full of turkey cookies.

These aren’t just any old cookies and I understood exactly why my mom was so happy to give up turkey cookie making. And I understand exactly why Amber stated quite clearly that she doesn’t intend to make turkey cookies next year. Assembling these turkeys from several candies and a store-bought skunk cookie requires time, patience and some skill.

“A skunk cookie?” you’re probably asking right now. “What’s a skunk cookie?”

Well, you know those fudge-striped shortbread cookies, the ones with the hole in the middle that you can stick on your pinkie? Those would be skunk cookies.

My Grandpa Bode always had those cookies in his cookie box, not cookie jar. And because the cookies are striped like a skunk, they became skunk cookies to me and my siblings. Now our kids call them skunk cookies. So do our cousins and aunts and uncles on my mom’s side. And so do others we’ve convinced to adopt this appropriate name.

Turkey cookies made from skunk cookies. Sound delicious, don’t they?

Amber made a whole flock of skunk turkeys for Thanksgiving. The cookies were attached backwards, my mom said, but then quickly added that she liked them better this way. I think she didn't want her comment misconstrued as her volunteering to make the cookies next year.

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling