ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And now a second helping of a Found Recipe.
MARILYNN BRASS: I'm Marilynn.
SHEILA BRASS: And I'm Sheila.
BRASS: We're the Brass sisters.
BRASS: The one and only Brass sisters.
BRASS: And we love old recipes.
SIEGEL: So much so that they will use the technique of gentle interrogation to secure a coveted recipe or two. Today's story is an example of that and though it's one that they've told us before, we think it is sweet enough to hear again. It's about their Aunt Ida and her poppy seed cookies.
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BRASS: We used to spend every Friday night with Aunt Ida at her apartment on 10th Street in Brookline, Mass. We would have a bagel and we'd have turkey, and we'd chit chat and she'd criticize the length of our hems.
BRASS: The color of our lipsticks.
BRASS: Yes. And it was wonderful because she loved us.
BRASS: And we loved her, too.
BRASS: We miss her every day. Now, Ida was a special person. She did the most wonderful baking.
BRASS: She did not know how to cook or bake before she got married so she was self-taught. And I have to tell you that her poppy seed cookies were like manna from heaven and I don't mean to be disrespectful.
BRASS: They crunch, they munch. You can't have just one of them. You can have one, you want another. You can have another, you want another.
BRASS: Now, one night, Sheila took an old birthday card out of her purse and I said Auntie Ida - I never called her Ida - you know, put the fear...
BRASS: She was so intimidating.
BRASS: ...the fear into me. I said, how about that recipe now? And Ida said, a little grumpy, oh, all right. Hold on a minute. And she went to her card box and she got it out.
BRASS: And we wrote the directions down. Time went on and we have to say that we no longer are able to spend our Friday nights with Aunt Ida.
BRASS: When Aunt Ida passed away, we decided we wanted to do a tribute. We typed up her recipe for poppy seed cookies and Sheila will tell you about the paper we used for printing. It had a beautiful aqua sky-blue background.
BRASS: And then, wonderful clouds.
BRASS: White clouds. It was like heaven. And we brought them to the funeral so that all the people could have a copy, all her children and her grandchildren.
BRASS: And friends.
BRASS: The place was jammed with friends.
BRASS: Yep. And we baked. Oh, boy, did we bake.
BRASS: How many dozen, 12 dozen?
BRASS: Oh, at least. It turned out that the family and friends sat around talking about Ida during memorial week, reading her recipe for poppy seed cookies and crunching those wonderful cookies. We just think that it would be wonderful at this holiday season if you did do that gentle interrogation of the elders and if you were able to make Aunt Ida's poppy seed cookies, it would be a tribute to her and to all the home cooks that you know who have wonderful recipes that should never be lost.
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SIEGEL: Marilynn and Sheila Brass, the Brass sisters, you can find their Aunt Ida's recipe for poppy seed cookies on our Found Recipes page at NPR. org.
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