Goodnight half moon

If you’re not from Central New York, you may not understand the significance of this little bakery gem.

Not the perfect example, but a respectable effort.

It’s a half moon cookie, not to be confused with New York City’s black and white cookie, which looks similar to the naked eye, but is something else entirely.

Half moon cookies were part of my childhood. There were many shops in the Mohawk Valley that sold them, but they were not all created equal. There was one little bakery in the village of Fort Plain that made the perfect half moon. They made the éclair to end all éclairs too, but we little boys couldn’t get enough of their half moons.

I remember going to the bakery with my mother, before I was old enough for school. The ladies who worked there knew us, and they never failed to offer me a free cookie as they boxed up our order. I was a shy kid, and even though I wanted that cookie like nobody’s business, I always said no to the first offer. They knew me well enough to not take my no for an answer. I always came out with a free cookie, in spite of my hindering bashfulness.

There are no half moon cookies where I live now. For years, a requisite part of any visit back home was a trip to that Fort Plain bake shop. Those perfect half moons were the delicious taste of childhood at a small-town price that was nothing less than a steal. Then, about 10 years ago, the bakery closed down. I don’t know why, but I suspect a fragile, rural economy and aging ownership had something to do with it.

In the years since, I haven’t had any half moons. Any other bakery’s cookies would disappoint me, so I resigned that piece of my childhood to history.

A few weeks ago, I was overcome by a wave of nostalgia for the half moon. I found a bakery in a different part of the Mohawk Valley that would ship a dozen cookies to me. Emotion got the better of me. Even though I expected to be disappointed, I paid more than I should have for the shipment.

I envisioned sharing the experience with my boys, but they had no interest in the cookies. They’d never seen half moons before, and these cookies were too far out of their experience to be appealing. They wouldn’t even take a taste. So I froze the cookies and ate them one by one at my leisure. They were not perfect cookies, but they were better than my cautious expectations (even after a 3-day journey). The most disappointing thing about them was that none of my boys was interested in sharing in them. Some things must pass away with the generations.

In the end, it was my own sweet journey back in time, and another bitter revelation that you can’t go home again. Childhood, after all, is for children. And that’s how it should be.


16 comments on “Goodnight half moon

  1. Gibber says:

    Maybe when they get a bit older and understand the nostalgia for you,they’ll share in it with you.

  2. floatinggold says:

    Did they really taste good, or was it the memories of childhood that you really tasted.
    I can imagine what a bummer it was for the boys to say no to your treasure.
    But at least you had the cookies all to yourself.

  3. Just Joan says:

    This post really resonated with me. It isn’t possible to recapture a wonderful thing from childhood. Although every attempt to do so has left me disappointed, I can’t help trying. My husband does it too, taking me to places in his hometown to experience his favorite childhood treats, the world’s best burger (the Little Sister at Markley’s) or fish sandwich (Lake Erie perch at DeMore’s Fish Den). Forty-plus years later, Markley’s is gone and the perch at DeMore’s, which comes from the ocean not Lake Erie, is nothing to write home about. Kids roll their eyes at our nostagia, as if half moon cookies might be in the same category as phones with cords and walking five miles to school, uphill both ways. Your mention of NYC’s black and white cookie took me back to an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry goes on and on, using the cookie as a metaphor for black and white people living in peace, side-by-side. But when he eats it, it gives him an upset stomach and breaks his 15-year no-vomit streak. Great post, Snoozin. Keep ’em coming. 🙂

    • I once had a multi-year no-vomit streak, but once I had kids that became a thing of the past. Maybe I should feel more nostalgia for that. Even though the half moon has run its course, I still do really enjoy getting a little northeastern pizza when I’m in that neck of the woods.There still are a few good places that haven’t been consumed by chains.

  4. GoofyEd says:

    The myth of nostalgia…nothing really is what it was. And the flip side will come to you one day. That’s “what IS today, WILL BE recalled differently tomorrow” by your boys than by you when your the grandpa. Some moments are more savory in the mind than than reality.

  5. I was SO ready to head to Fort Plain till I got to the part about the bakery closing! I do love Half-Moons, but they were not part of my childhood. I guess I am fortunate that I don’t have any of those nostalgic happy memories. I can charge into middle age full speed ahead, and delight in discovering new bakeries open now! But I do not understand your boys at all. I am ALWAYS ready to sample a treat, whether I share an emotional connection or not. I thought surely young boys felt that way too (and I will call you “Shirley” if I feel like it).

    • Sorry to get your hopes up, but I’m sure there are still plenty of good treats to be had in the Mohawk Valley. Just think of all the pizzerias around you that still use real pizza ovens.I don’t think there’s a real pizza oven within 200 miles of me. My children suffer from a world of too many choices. The problem is none of the choices are quite as good as any of the fewer choices we had as kids. Anyway, good luck finding that next great MV bakery.

      • Yes, there are many treats available, and I find most of them. Hence, my difficulty in meeting my weight loss goals. Then again, it often makes for a good blog post. I wonder what I can indulge in today…

  6. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Very puzzled by your boys’ reaction, Scott, to be truthful with you. Gee, here I thought anything with sugar in it boys would go nuts over. Forget nostalgia. Boys? Really? Naw, they wouldn’t get that part at all but sugar? Anyways, the good that came out of this was you had more cookies for you. Now that’s a win-win!!

    • Yeah, they love sugar, but there are so many options available these days, they can afford to be choosy. So I enjoyed a long, last hurrah with my cookies. It all worked out in the end.

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