Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease 2 large baking sheets with butter or vegetable shortening.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the molasses and beat until the batter is light and thick. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water. Sift the flour with the salt and ginger. Add the flour mixture to the batter, 1 cup at a time, alternating with the baking soda mixture. Mix until the batter is smooth.
Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of batter onto to the baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies have browned around the edges. Remove from the oven.
After the cookies have cooled for 2 to 3 minutes, but are still warm to the touch, use a spatula to transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
[The recipe says it makes about 48 cookies. I got more, but forgot to count. Maybe almost double. The flavor was not very strong -- too mild for my taste. -LVB]
Oct 2001. [from 365 Great Cookies You Can Bake: a delicious cookie recipe for every day of the year by Lois Hill]