Taking the cake
While we're on a Van Der Leun roll, see this (otherwise, the following may not make a whole lot of sense).
Gerard, I envy you. Not only did my mother not bake the Holy Cookies, she didn't even bake. But I can still identify with the Quest. My brother and I easily found my mother's hiding places for sweets--in her case, candy. She was nowhere near as creative as your mother at stowing the stuff away.
But in our house the real prize was cake. My parents entertained a lot, and they liked to have impromptu gatherings--a few good friends coming over for the four c's of cards, cake, coffee, and conversation--lively talk and laughter that made it hard for me to do my homework as the sounds drifted up the stairs and straight into my room. I was usually allowed to come down and join them for at least little while (and a little cake).
The cake came in a variety of classic flavors--chocolate, lemon, coconut--always with thick frosting. It was purchased by my mother in quantity at a special bakery in Brooklyn and brought home in stacks of boxes, each box tied with string and then several tied together in a great pyramid-like structure. There were typically three stacks, for a total of fifteen cakes at a time, enough for a couple of months of guests, and stored in a large freezer that sat in our basement next to the washing machine (the dryer didn't come till many years later).
There they sat, frozen but nevertheless burning large holes of desire in our brains. Until one evening when our parents were out and, maddened by greed, we decided we just had to eat one of the cakes. Like most thieves, we knew we needed to be quick about our work (who could predict the hour of their return?), and so we couldn't take the time to defrost it. But we found, much to our astonishment, that frozen cake is really good. Really, really, really good.
After that, we had our m.o. down. Over the course of a couple of weeks, we would eat just a few of each batch, disposing of the boxy evidence by ripping it up and taking it to the outside garbage cans. My mother, I'm sad (or happy) to report, was none the wiser. She didn't seem to keep count. When she noticed the stack in the freezer had dwindled, she just figured it was time to go back to the bakery to replenish it.
As for cooking, I ended up teaching myself, since my mother--although she had many other wonderful qualities--was not going to be any sort of guide in the kitchen, except for what not to do. And, having gone the Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie route (and sorry, Gerard, but Crisco is heresy in my book), I am here to report that the right way, the only way, to eat them is warm from the oven, with the chips still slightly soft and oozy, and the cookies retaining a slight give, crunchy on the outside but tender on the inside.