The new owners.

There used to be a hotel off I-96 in Lansing, a former Days Inn. Apparently it sold at some point, and the new owner declined to keep it under the old brand, but in an admirable act of frugality, changed the name in the easiest, most economical way. The hotel became Dads Inn.

They say Harry Helmsley, Leona’s late husband, was cheap as hell, and when he bought the Central Building in New York City, changed its name to the General Building, because it only required him to buy two new letters. This may explain Leona’s infamous bitchiness, but I really don’t know.

On our drive to Columbus this weekend for the my-side-of-the-family holiday, we passed a restaurant called Fricker’s. The signage used the same font as the once-ubiquitous Frisch’s, which held all the Big Boy franchises in much of Ohio when I was growing up. For some reason this convinced Alan we had another Dads Inn situation, and when we stopped for lunch on the way back, he was sure we’d have menus of Big-Boy-but-not, double-decker burgers with secret sauce, milkshakes and the like.

Alas, it was just another sports bar, with a menu full of wings and ribs and other things men like to eat while they’re watching football. And beer, of course, lots of beer. It was Hooter’s without the hooters, with lots and lots and lots of “fricken” wordplay on the menu. Kate and I — two of very few women in the place — split a plate of sliders, and we watched the Lions for a while before pressing on toward home. It was not, I’m sorry to say, very fricken good.

It was a nice weekend, seeing everyone. We did a no-gifts holiday, and I can’t say I missed the presents one bit. And because we were traveling, I mostly collected links:

Here in Detroit, an anti-abortion group’s fake clinic is vandalized, along with a board member’s house.

The NYT’s big Explanatory Journalism Pulitzer entry dropped, an entire special section on how Russia managed to fuck up its Ukrainian campaign. Not through even the first part yet, but it’s pretty devastating. Bottom line: Corruption, Putin’s delusions, lack of morale, outdated equipment, cell phones. A fascinating read so far.

Fr. Frank Pavone, a truly vile anti-abortion priest, is no longer a priest. All three of these stories seem to call for the Jerry Seinfeld “that’s a shame” GIF, so imagine it here.

Oh, and how about that World Cup final? It was exciting even to follow on Twitter.

And have a good week ahead.

Posted at 10:07 pm in Current events |

45 responses to “The new owners.”

  1. alex said on December 18, 2022 at 10:24 pm

    I seem to recall a Fluky’s in Chicago, either on Ashland or Western fairly far north, where someone pulled that trick with the sign and it was quite a feat because the lettering was in script. I forget what they changed it to but I think it may have become some kind of strip club.

    Fluky’s always made me think of Fluconazole and all of that drug’s unappetizing connotations. “Sorry dear, not tonight. I’ve got the Flukies.”

    I work for a firm that’s so frickin’ cheap they renamed it for one of the attorneys whose last name began with the same letter as the senior partner who severed ties so they wouldn’t have to change the logo on the letterhead and signage.

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  2. Mark P said on December 19, 2022 at 2:03 am

    I might have mentioned here before about seeing a Wendy’s clone in the mid-1970’s in Carson City, NV. It was called Judy’s, and the interior decor was a straight copy of what Wendy’s used at the time. I think “Judy” also looked a lot like “Wendy.”

    A quick search turned up the story. Apparently someone associated with Dave Thomas thought Thomas stole his idea for a hamburger chain and opened Judy’s as a competitor/clone. The company lost a suit brought by Wendy’s wand had to close their Judy’s chain.

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  3. Dexter Friend said on December 19, 2022 at 3:16 am

    Last spring in Arizona a broadcaster laughed at the Cleveland Guardians’ changes in signage at the ballpark. The “In-” was painted over and “Guard-” was squeezed onto the signs.
    Perhaps nance’s experience at Fricker’s was the Findlay restaurant. I have eaten there twice, and have been to a couple of them in Toledo and recently in Defiance because my grandkids like the joint. I don’t. The last time I had a couple apps and avoided the fricken chicken.
    As to sports viewing, I have noticed that in bar-restaurants with the bank of TVs on low volume, tuned to anything from bowling to football to basketball to tennis, and even curling at times, people are talking in loud beer voices and only when a murmur of excitement passes through the air, they will glance at the TV and ask what happened, then it’s back to their conversations and beer bottles or cans. I once went to a smoker for a SuperBowl party and only 2 of us were watching the game while the rest of the all-male crowd played poker. The attraction was the quarter and final scores on the boards we signed onto, the squares with our score on them. Like some, anyway, I gotta watch the game and I want to hear the commentary.
    When England was out, I lost interest in the World Cup from a rooting standpoint, but watched Sunday, the endless overtimes and kicks afterwards. I guess since the USA now fields a competent roster, they are no longer a pushover and great things are expected especially when the tournament comes here in a few years. Yeah, Messi got his trophy, but the stunning thing was the absolute greatness of Mbappe of France, the heralded best player in the world.

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  4. ROGirl said on December 19, 2022 at 5:27 am

    There’s a place down the street from where I work called Dan’s Diner and it’s in a building that clearly once housed a Denny’s, but it doesn’t have a free-standing sign that would have displayed the Denny’s logo. The name is above the entrance in red letters.

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  5. Jeff Gill said on December 19, 2022 at 8:00 am

    I was just reading an 1835 book about travels west from New York to the prairies through Chicago, which included this passage about Michigan in 1833 that I know will warm many hearts here:

    “The conversation turning upon the healthfulness of Michigan, there was not one out of several residents present who did not admit the existence of bilious fevers, and fever and ague, in every part of the country; but they spoke of passing through these diseases as merely a slight process of acclimating, which, in the general health of the country, was hardly to be considered. They asserted, too, what I have before heard stated by more than one physician in the territory, that Michigan is exempt from many of the diseases most fatal to human life at the east. Consumption, for instance, —which a reference to the bills of mortality will show destroys almost as many in New York, take year and year together for several in succession, as does the yellow-fever in New-Orleans, is here unknown. Not only, I am told, do no cases originate here, but many persons from New York, it is asserted, have been cured of the complaint by coming to reside in Michigan. . . The country abounds with lakes and streams of the purest water filled with fish, but you seldom find a house on their banks; the purchaser of a new possession neglects alike the tempting-looking oak opening, and erects his dwelling in the thick forest, provided only a road or trail passes within three feet of his door. . . He chooses, in short, the most fertile spot on his acres, in order to have a garden immediately round his house, which he places plump upon the road, in order to have it “more sociable-like, and to see folks passing.” His garden grows from almost nothing. The first year the hog-pen and cow-yard occupy the place designed for its commencement. They are moved farther from the house the second year, and a few cabbages occupy the soil which they have enriched. They move again on the third year; and the garden, which can now boast of a few currant-bushes and a peach-tree, expands over the place they have ceased to occupy. And now our settler, having built a fine barn, and “got things snug about him,” begins to like the looks of the woods again, which he has so industriously swept from every spot that can be seen from his door.”

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  6. Connie said on December 19, 2022 at 9:14 am

    Last I saw it Dad’s Inn had been converted to a corporate office, I believe for UHaul. The upper floors had been converted to full wall windows. If one of those is your office you would have quite the view of the freeway.

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  7. LAMary said on December 19, 2022 at 9:50 am

    What was a Vons supermarket in Glendale is now Jons Supermarket. The font on the sign is the same.

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  8. Icarus said on December 19, 2022 at 9:56 am

    Don’t know if I ever shared this story here but speaking of copycats…I went to college in Kirksville, MO for a couple of years. They had Pagliai’s Pizza (I guess I didn’t realize this was a chain) which served a favorite dish called a Ronza.

    A Ronza is simply a Calzone, rebranded. It tasted good, especially after a few brews, but it was hardly the culinary orgasm everyone makes it out to be. I guess midwesterners who grew up on bland American food think I-Talian food is the bomb.

    anyway, it turns out Nebraska-based Runza restaurants sued Pagliai’s and forced a name change.

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  9. Deborah said on December 19, 2022 at 10:39 am

    Is this a Joke? The Oxford word of the year is Goblin Mode. I have never heard or read that phrase before. Have any of you?

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  10. Suzanne said on December 19, 2022 at 10:55 am

    Goblin Mode? No idea. I guess this means I am old. Although not as old as my older brother who asked me recently what a “meme” is.

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  11. Heather said on December 19, 2022 at 11:38 am

    I have heard it–a friend of mine was using it last spring to describe her habit of not showering, lying on the couch, wearing sweats, etc. all the time.

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  12. john (not mccain) said on December 19, 2022 at 11:47 am

    I remember Judy’s from high school in Louisville. Exact copy of Wendy’s from the menu to the beads. I also remember reading in the 70s about a vegetarian chain called McDharmas that got sued into oblivion by a certain litigious clown.

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  13. Julie Robinson said on December 19, 2022 at 11:56 am

    Deborah, I read that last week and was mystified. I guess most of us old farts here at nnc aren’t hip enough.

    JeffG found the first Pure Michigan ad!

    We baked and decorated over 250 cookies for the Living Nativity, then helped run it both Friday and Saturday nights. Today a suspicious tickle in my throat and clogged sinuses. No fever, so no reason to break out the test kits. Our daughter is home long enough to collapse and maybe get some food if she’s lucky.

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  14. Kath said on December 19, 2022 at 12:03 pm

    There was a short-lived bar in St Paul in the 1980s called Ladies Night that featured a Chippendales-esque male dance revue. After it closed, it was reopened as a lesbian bar. Same name; same sign. I used to work with a woman who bartended there. She said that for the first couple of years after they reopened large groups of women would come in, have a couple rounds of drinks, and eventually wander up to the bar to ask when the show started. Sadly all the lesbian bars in the twin cities are long gone now.

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  15. alex said on December 19, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    And those of us in Fort Wayne will always remember DAR’s, cheaply rebranded as DAN’s when the previous owner bailed on it a couple of years ago. I think DAR’s started out selling candles, then branched into patio furniture in the summer and Christmas foofery in winter. Went in there once looking for bar stools and came away gobsmacked by the cheezoid merchandise and the exorbitant prices they were asking.

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  16. Mark P said on December 19, 2022 at 12:43 pm

    John (not McCain) I was seeing those Wendy’s/Judy’s beads in my mind but wasn’t sure it was a real memory.

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  17. Sherri said on December 19, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    I remember back in the mid 90s when smoothie shops were opening everywhere there was one in Palo Alto named Jammin Juice. About this time, Juice Club was growing and renamed itself Jamba Juice, and immediately sued Jammin Juice for trademark infringement, even though Jammin Juice had existed before Jamba Juice had changed its name. Jammin Juice didn’t have the resources to fight, and changed its name.

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  18. Dorothy said on December 19, 2022 at 3:53 pm

    Julie that’s how my malady started out last Thursday. I was feeling really bad this morning so I contacted my doctor. They said I should come in today be checked. They did a nasal swab and it will test for both flu and Covid, but she is pretty sure I just have a virus. My ears and lungs are clear and I have no fever. My clunky head though is full of snot and I can’t get any energy to do anything. Here’s hoping tomorrow I’ll feel more like myself.

    Doc said even if I have the flu, there is no Tamiflu anywhere in Ohio. So I just have to wait this out. I’ll know the test results tomorrow.

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  19. ROGirl said on December 19, 2022 at 5:28 pm

    I heard a radio report the other day about people from other parts of the country who have started trying to escape the climate apocalypse and are buying up land and moving to Michigan.

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  20. Deborah said on December 19, 2022 at 6:13 pm

    ROGirl, was that on NPR?

    All these name changed restaurant reports are hilarious. I have not noticed anything like that regarding names before but I don’t doubt they happen. It’s always amazing to me how often restaurants and stores in general turn over ownership and change names and whole exteriors and interiors, especially noticeable since I’ve lived in Chicago. When I come back from NM each time invariably there will be a whole new facade and name on a shop or restaurant that I’ve been walking past for a while. Sometimes they change so quickly it makes my head spin. How can the restaurant business be financially viable?

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  21. ROGirl said on December 19, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    It was on WUOM, a show called Stateside.

    I’m struck by the number of empty storefronts out there these days.

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  22. Jeff Gill said on December 19, 2022 at 8:17 pm

    And I’m struck by the number of vape shops & tattoo parlors that are filling empty storefronts hereabouts. We should be at or near market saturation, but they keep opening . . .

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  23. Peter said on December 19, 2022 at 10:16 pm

    Deborah, I worked with different kitchen consultants on restaurant projects, and one told me that the rule of thumb in the industry is that a new restaurant owner won’t have any income for the first two years. Not profit; income. Once you pay for the food, the staff, the equipment rentals, and taxes, there won’t be any money left over for you until year no. 3. Maybe.

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  24. Little Bird said on December 20, 2022 at 8:24 am

    I have a friend who uses the term “goblin mode” frequently, but they use it to mean when one goes full feral and starts climbing the trees to get the good apples or sitting on the dirt and digging up pretty rocks. Both of which I have witnessed them do. I joined in on the rock digging but climbing trees is no longer an option for me.

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  25. Julie Robinson said on December 20, 2022 at 12:16 pm

    Alex you hit it on the nail re Dar’s/Dan’s. IIRC “Dan” was a family member of “Dar”. Astronomical prices even on closeout.

    Dorothy, since I didn’t have a fever I attacked my cold with mucinex, vitamin C, nasal rinses and gargling with salt water. Oh, and giving my to-do list to Dennis. Ha!

    I didn’t get to see or hear the hearing yesterday since a tree trimmer a block over took out our power. Reading about it was still pretty satisfying. I just hope Merrick Garland and his band of cautious elves over at Justice act on the referral before the end of the Biden Presidency.

    Peter, what staggering statistics on restaurants. It explains a lot.

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  26. susan said on December 20, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    Julie, you can watch yesterday’s hearing streaming on c-span.

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  27. Dorothy said on December 20, 2022 at 2:26 pm

    Julie one of these days I’m going to have to just suck up the courage and try a NetiPot. Hell, we OWN one. I found it last night when I was searching for other meds in a bag in the linen closet! But I just can’t get past the idea of running fluids INTO my nose. But I did buy some Afrin today, some Meijer brand cold/flu medicines and some Vicks VapoPot insert thingies for the vaporizer. We will have 12 delightful nights of scented vapor in the air while we struggle to sleep. My husband has this, too. I found out today I do not have the flu OR Covid so that’s good. It’s just a funky, old fashioned, shitty cold and I’m tired of it – SO SO TIRED. The used Kleenex accumulated in our trash cans could fill the garage, I swear. (Just a slight exaggeration)

    I hope everyone else is relatively healthy. I’m craving normalcy and good feelings. I might actually make some fabric rice bags in my sewing room tomorrow. I saw an IG account show pictures of them last week and now that I’m a little better, I think I’m due some play time in the sewing studio. The bags are little carry-all things. Like for a small knitting project (think socks). Or just a cloth bag to carry things in within a suitcase. I love having little things around like that in case you need a last minute gift for someone. Nice thing about this pattern is there are no zippers!

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  28. ROGirl said on December 20, 2022 at 2:37 pm

    Dorothy, you can use a bulb syringe, you don’t need a neti pot.

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  29. Julie Robinson said on December 20, 2022 at 3:13 pm

    After trying a Neti pot/sports bottle/homemade mix of salt and baking soda, I went with the NeilMed system. It comes with packets of saline mix so it’s never too strong or weak. It only took the a few tries to go from gagging to experiencing relief.

    I’m listening to Michelle Obama’s new book and it’s okay but nothing like her first. I’m kinda looking forward to it being over. It did bring a fabulously outfitted book tour, though.

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  30. David C said on December 20, 2022 at 5:46 pm

    I use a Walgreen’s bottle with packets of mix similar to the NeilMed that Julie wrote about. I never thought I’d do such a thing but the woman who cut my hair talked me into it. Glad she did. I had about one bad sinus infection a year before I would use one. Now I notice one coming on, rinse my sinuses two or three times a day, take guaifenesin, and guzzle water and the symptoms go away in a day or two. I’ve never met anyone who uses one of the Navage machines you hear advertised all over the place. It seems like overkill to me.

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  31. Deborah said on December 20, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    I haven’t had a full blown cold since the pandemic started, only Covid twice with very little effect to my nose and throat, and seasonal allergies. I started wearing a mask again because of all the ick floating around.

    I’m at the cabin in Abiquiu having some eggnog with bourbon, nobody else likes eggnog but I do with a little nutmeg sprinkled on top.

    I’m almost done with my scheduled withdrawal from anxiety meds. I was having some unpleasant side effects from the meds that I kept thinking would get better but got worse. Mainly 3 things, intestinal issues, my hair falling out and nightmares. I’m down to only 1/4 of a pill a day and all has cleared up so far except the nightmares. Sometimes I wake myself up because I’m calling for help and the dreams are in full technicolor. I will be glad when it’s over.

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  32. Dexter Friend said on December 21, 2022 at 1:12 am

    Bomb cyclone…worst travel picture “in decades”, as NBC weather said. Our 4F prediction is now down to 1F. I am glad we had our family Christmas last Saturday.
    My grandson didn’t last long on on the oil rig platform in the Gulf of Mexico. He quit after a few months, citing how the welders and roustabouts or whatever they are called chided him for eating as much as they did, when they worked their asses off and he sat on his as a medic with much clerical work and a little medic work. He said he was really isolated even moreso than being way out in the Gulf…the workers ostracized him. He and his woman packed up and moved to the new family hub, Findlay.

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  33. alex said on December 21, 2022 at 9:45 am

    Julie, I did the NeilMed system when I had a deviated septum repair and nasal turbinate reduction and wanted to make it part of my daily regimen but fell out of the habit after I was all healed. But I loved having clean nasal passages and no boogers. And the surgery cured my sleep apnea too.

    Just came from the carpal tunnel doc and had injections and my hands are completely numb. Actually having to hunt and peck as I type this.

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  34. Julie Robinson said on December 21, 2022 at 12:04 pm

    For your amusement and courtesy of Tom & Lorenzo, a link to the most-searched for Christmas cookie recipe in each state: Looks like the sugar cut-outs and Kiss cookies my family likes so much are pretty popular. Technically they are called Peanut Butter Blossoms. Another perennial favortie is Mexican Wedding Cakes, AKA Puerto Rican Divorce Cakes in La Casa Robinson.

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  35. Jenine said on December 21, 2022 at 12:43 pm

    Solstice gifts to share:
    Tom Lehrer made all his music public domain and you can download lyrics and sheet music from Tom Lehrer Songs . It says this won’t continue for long so hop to if you’d like any of that. I love him to pieces.

    An old blog post with a wonderful collection of winter paintings from the sublime to the Franzetta, lots of great stuff to look at. Picturing Winter: A Solstice Celebration.

    Stay out of the weather if you can. I’m in the band with single digits in the forecast. We’ll be setting the taps to drip tonight.

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  36. Dorothy said on December 21, 2022 at 1:49 pm

    Julie when you make your Peanut Butter Blossoms, I’m going to assume that you bake them without the kiss on top for about 8 minutes, yank the pan out, then push the kiss on top to sort of crack the dough, then return them to the oven for 2 minutes or so. I’m mentioning this cuz a few weeks ago I got out a copy of an old cookbook my mum had – Christmas cookie recipes from the 70’s put out by Duquesne Light, the electric company in Pittsburgh. I needed the Cinnamon Refrigerator Cookie recipe. And while I had it out I browsed thru it again. They had that recipe for the peanut butter cookies, but the instructions said to put the kiss on top before you ever put them in the oven. Blasphemy!!!

    And on TODAY this morning the CF Martha Stewart was on. I missed most of the segment but after she made her boozy eggnog, one of the hosts said “We almost forgot to mention Martha’s nut cookies.” As soon as I saw them I thought “Those are Russian tea cakes.” I used to make them with my mum. I’m guessing anything to do with Russia these days is DON’T SAY RUSSIA OR RUSSIAN on cooking segments. Sheesh.

    Anyone follow GrossyPelosi on IG? He showed pictures of wonderful cookies the other day for some cookie exchange he participates in. I had never seen these ones that looked like cigarettes sitting in an ash tray. They looked gross, but the cigarettes were actually pretzel sticks dunked in white chocolate. I’m not sure what the rest of the ingredients were but those were new to me.

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  37. Julie Robinson said on December 21, 2022 at 2:33 pm

    Girl, no. We freeze the Kisses and put them on right out of the oven. Cookie still cracks, Kiss melts just the proper amount. Any other way, I will fight you.

    I forgot that the Mexican wedding/PR Divorce cakes are also called Russian tea cakes. I suppose Martha was also told not to say Mexican, what with all the immigration fracas going on. She could have called them melt-in-your-mouths cookies. Dennis does love them but I find them a pain in the arse to make since you have to roll them in powdered sugar both before and after baking. They didn’t make the cut this year.

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  38. JodiP said on December 21, 2022 at 2:42 pm

    Julie, your are 100% correct with the peanut butter blossom cookie method.

    Growing up we used Brach’s stars, which were silkier than Hershey’s kisses. I have been craving baking since our kitchen remodel began! I will be doing some cat care for a neighbor and she said we’re welcome to use her kitchen for whatever.

    I follow Majed Ali, a baker from the United Arab Emirates and he has an amazing cookie recipe with chocolate, dates and cardamom I really want to try. He posts on IG as Thecinnaman, and is really inspiring.

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  39. basset said on December 21, 2022 at 4:03 pm

    Once again, I am reminded of these:

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  40. Deborah said on December 21, 2022 at 5:48 pm

    Jenine, one of those painters in that link is someone I know, John Collier. He’s also a sculptor, he did the bronze sculpture of Borlaug that’s in the garden of The World Food Prize project in Des Moines that I worked on. I found him through an artist rep. He also ended up doing 4 paintings of Borlaug’s life that we turned into tapestries that are in the ballroom of the building. Honestly I didn’t really like the original paintings but after they were made into 4 large tapestries in Belgium they are gorgeous hanging on the wall. We need something for acoustic correction, that’s why they’re tapestries.

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  41. tajalli said on December 21, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    Coming in a bit late to the name game, Orchard Supply Hardware (big OSH in the sign) sold out with the new owners calling it Outdoor Supply Hardware to save on signage and probably keep the old customers.

    As far as cookies go, Trilobite Cookies are lots of fun. Got the recipe originally from a professor of mathematics but his website is no longer extant (neither is he, unfortunately) so the recipe is from another site but looks about the same.

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  42. alex said on December 21, 2022 at 10:20 pm

    Basset, I passed along that “outside the box” recipe idea to a friend who has one very outside-the-box kitty. I’m sure she’ll be tickled.

    Was hoping to purchase a three-month supply of Trulicity before the end of the year but the 3mg version is on back order until sometime next year and I had to spend my day calling around to various pharmacies to find any. I managed to score two months’ worth from a scuzzy Walgreen’s location. Earlier in the day I had my prescription transferred from my local Walgreen’s to a Walmart that had some, but by the time Walmart received the script its supply was already spoken for. So I had to get it transferred again and this time in the nick of time. Hoping to get one more box or after the first of the year it’ll cost me $900-something instead of $12 now that my deductible has been satisfied.

    I can’t believe how unhelpful some of these pharmacy technicians are. They are able to look up other stores’ inventories but no one volunteered to do so at umpteen Walgreen’s locations that I tried until someone finally did. That’s how I came by my two-month supply and I’m going to try another store tomorrow where they supposedly still have some.

    Health care shouldn’t be this fucking difficult, let alone expensive.

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  43. David C said on December 22, 2022 at 6:15 am

    I think I told the story of an elderly couple with no internet going to Walgreens for a Covid booster and getting the runaround and really piss poor service. After that I transferred my prescription to an independent pharmacy. They’re a little bit more expensive but they answer the phone.

    My niece is a pharmacy tech at Walgreens. From the way she talks the only ones they treat worse than their customers are their pharmacy techs. Basically, they’re not allowed to help. It’s made very clear that their job is to fill bottles not to waste time with customers.

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  44. LAMary said on December 22, 2022 at 8:57 am

    I’m experimenting with making what would be oatmeal raisin walnut cookies with dried cranberries and chopped pistachios instead. Red and green! Also making shortbread squares but using a jazzy rolling pin that puts a nice pattern on the dough.I’ll probably do some chocolate chip cookies too. I have some good chocolate and I’ll toast some pecans. If the in house brit insists I might cave and make mincemeat cookies, but I’m not a big fan of mincemeat.

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  45. Dorothy said on December 22, 2022 at 9:39 am

    I rest my case about the peanut butter blossom cookie instructions.

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