A cookie jar can be anything that contains cookies! The cookie jar is easily reachable and usually holds a place of honor and importance on the kitchen counter. A kitchen that has a cookie jar instantly makes me feel comfortable with the person who owns it. My kitchen has had many a cookie jar over the years. They were usually big ceramic holiday theme shaped figurines that lasted through the season.
But there has been one cookie jar that has been in my kitchen for over 30 years. It is a large white enamel bread box. At one time it was my husband, Tom’s, Grandma Nanni’s cookie jar. Grandma Nanni kept her bread box which was used as her cookie jar within arm’s reach from her kitchen table. Inside were homemade cookies or store bought biscotti. The first time I met Grandma Nanni, I was just a young, nervous, teenage girl who was dating her grandson. With open arms she welcomed me into her kitchen and took cookies out of the bread box to serve Tom and I. From that moment on, I was hooked on Grandma Nanni. Tom and I shared a special common bond of living in the same house as our Italian grandmothers, both named Mary. Even though Grandma Nanni and the bread box had seen better days, together they were a wonderful sight to see on any given day. Grandma Nanni made not only me but everyone who came into her home and into her kitchen, happy just to see her. With a cookie or a meal, she was all about feeding you the minute you walked in the door.
The bread box in my kitchen is a constant reminder of Grandma Nanni and her love of family. It is on top of my refrigerator, as my kitchen is very small and the bread box is very large. But it is a part of Tom’s and my own past that is too precious to give up. The mere presence of the bread box from days gone by represents the love of grandmothers for their families. As a grandmother myself, I can only hope my grandchildren will one day cherish something of mine with as much fondness as I have for Grandma Nanni’s bread box!