Why are “Grandma Nora’s” Fudge Sauce and Fudge Cookies so special?
Peter Stilton’s thoughts about Maison de Nora
Well, we’ve all heard that somewhat silly phrase, “it’s like dying and going to heaven.” In this case, heaven is indeed here now. I came into the family when they were living in New York and Tampa. I managed to learn many stories about their past and present. Sometimes it seemed a mix of vaudeville and the movies, studded with encounters and affiliations with Hollywood celebrities and political leaders. As in every family, there were tears with the laughter too, and I came to love each one of them for their special and individual gifts that enriched my own life. Nora was one of the most loving and caring ladies I have ever met. When I first met Jill in upstate New York, she was a student at the private college where I was a professor. I can only describe her as having an aura of graciousness far beyond anyone I had ever seen. Later, when I met Nora and Jill’s mom in Gainesville and Tampa, I knew instantly that they had paved the way for this remarkable girl! What does this have to do with the sauce and cookies? Everything!
Nora, Goldie, and Hattye were accomplished young ladies growing up in General Pershing’s brother’s house with a dumbwaiter in Omaha, Nebraska. They studied music, elocution, and all the things that would make them “ladies,”. They dressed in the latest fashions since their father owned a department store. One of the key accomplishments was to be able to entertain guests in creative ways. When the fudge sauce was served in Miami, Nora had ice cream balls of various flavors and toppings in matching ceramic pineapples (which Jill still has in our collection).
I can honestly say there is nothing like the cookies or sauce. After the business closed in the mid 80’s, I found myself scrambling for available products to satisfy my “sweet tooth”. Nothing sufficed… not in London, not in Paris, not anywhere. No wonder that House of Representatives friend of Nora’s in Miami locked the cookies in his safe, to keep them to himself! I have heard recently of people I know doing similar things! One family member in California, living next to a film star, asks Jill for the cookies whenever she cannot eat anything else. I kept thinking, this has to be available to more people on a regular basis… not just for holidays! It is, quite frankly, The Best. No wonder Bloomingdales offered so much money for the recipe years ago. No wonder Godiva’s food chemists tried to recreate Nora’s dessert sauce (I’m not making this up; we have the letters!). Of course, if you don’t like dark chocolate…, well, that cannot be helped!