Food, Life and Love

Cheerleaders and Play Dough

It is in the large moments of life that you realize how many cheerleaders you have on your side. In three days, I will board a plane and move to Italy for one year to pursue a dream. As the day gets closer, the kindness, support and love from those around me fills me with the courage I need to be away from my love for a year. I am humbled by their support. Over the past weeks though, I can’t help but think of one my original cheerleaders, my Papaw.

Papaw moved in with us when I was a little girl. It was wonderful to have him at the house every day. He was always there to play with us, encourage us, and he was my official cookie taster…well, until I threw him a curve ball. My first cook book was awesome; it even came with my own set of measuring spoons. It had recipes like sloppy joe, applesauce, and spaghetti. I was determined to make every recipe. The cook book also contained non-food recipes like dog bones and play dough. One day I made play dough and then decided to make paper weights. I cut out a butterfly, decorated it with sprinkles (cause paper weights are meant to be pretty) and I baked it. In hind sight, it did look like a cookie. I gave it to Papaw….he thinking it was a cookie…ate it. When I asked him where the butterfly went he replied, “Baby Doll, that was the best cookie ever”. Now that is a true cheerleader, someone who will eat play dough for you and tell you it was delicious. Granted, it was several months before he tried anything else I made. My Papaw always believed in me. When I told him I was running for student council in high school, he called me President Ali for the rest of the week. To him, I could do anything and no matter what I did, he was proud of me that I was trying.

You never know if the decisions you make are good or bad. All you can do is follow your recipe, throw in some dashes of you, and hope it works out. I believe that this year will be amazing but even if I fall, I have people on my side that will pick me up, and help me find the silver lining. When I board the plane, there will be a small container of play dough in my carry on and a voice in my heart saying, “Baby Doll, now THIS is the best cookie ever”.

Home-Made Play Dough:

3 c flour
1 1/2 c salt
6 t cream of tarter
3 T oil
3 c water

Pour all ingredients into a large pot. Stir constantly over medium heat until a dough ball forms by pulling away from the sides. Knead dough until the texture matches play dough (1-2 minutes). Store in plastic container. Should last for at least 3 months.

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