Cooking Ladies: Ginger Treats and Yard Art

March 5, 2012

At the Visitor’s Center in Kosciusko, Mississippi, we asked what we “must see.” We were directed to Oprah Winfrey Road, the church that Oprah attended as a little girl, and to L.V. Hull, an artist. A leaflet described L.V. Hull’s Ethnic Yard Art as an unusual sight.

We parked in front of L.V. Hull’s tiny house. Her front yard was filled with television sets, shoes, purses, plastic ducks, mail boxes, egg cartons, hard hats, old telephones and tires, all of them painted in bright colors, many accented with red, yellow, pink, purple, white, and green polka dots. There might have been a lawn mower in there somewhere but it would have been turned into a work of art long ago.

L.V.’s living room, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom were filled with polka-dotted things too. Along the path through the middle of her living room we found a pile of ceiling-fan blades. L.V. had painted each one with polka dots and a message. One of them hangs in our motorhome. It is inscribed with the words, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” Perfect philosophy for someone travelling in an RV and looking for adventure.

If L.V. were with us in the kitchen, we’re guessing she would bake these cookies, and rather than top them with mini marshmallows the way we did, she would cover them with an assortment of Smarties, squeezing on every color possible, because as she said, “I am an artist. I do the L.V. to whatever people bring me.”

Ginger Treats
(Makes 24 servings)


1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
1/3 cup (80 mL) brown sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1/8 cup (30 mL) molasses
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) orange extract
1/8 teaspoon (0.63 mL) salt
1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons (6.25 mL) ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon (0.63 mL) ground cloves
1 1/8 cup (280 mL) all purpose flour
24 mini marshmallows

In a bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar. Mix well.  Add the egg, molasses, vanilla, and orange extract. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine the salt, baking soda, ginger, cloves, and flour. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Mix well. Chill 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C). Roll the mixture into melon baller-size or heaping teaspoon-size balls. Place the ginger balls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Keep the balls 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Place a mini marshmallow in the middle of each ball.  Bake for 10 minutes or until the marshmallow is lightly browned.

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