A lot has been happening here at the homestead. I’ll call it post Thanksgiving madness with shopping (online and in stores) wrapping flurries, cleaning up flurries, with occasional writing flurries (current WIP @ 37K), all topped off with holiday parties to attend.
This weekend I’ll bake Christmas cookies with mom, as I’ve done since I can remember. Back in the day we used to bake eight varieties. We would get started at around 7:00 a.m. and go until 10:00 or 11:00 that night. When I think back on it, I remember how sore my hands would be the next day from the mixing, kneading and dish washing. I would be tired for two days. But, oh, the smell! I would go home reeking of butter, vanilla and chocolate. Like that Yankee Candle I took a whiff of the other day, called Christmas Cookie. Yeah, I smelled like that.
One of my favorites was Spritz.
YUM! (photo courtesy SouthernPlate)
I sort of learned that you can’t eat Spritz after you eat any of the others. For example, what some call a Wedding Cookie, and some call pecan puffs, they are those little round cookies with pecans, cinnamon and they’re coated in powder sugar. If you eat one of those, then eat a Spritz, the Spritz falls flat. If you start off with Spritz, you can distinctly taste vanilla and butter. Otherwise, it tastes kind of like Playdough. 🙂 Anyway, we would bake Spritz, sugar cookies, fudge, pecan puffs, peanut butter balls (Buckeyes), some sort of bar cookie (more pecans, chocolate galore), these little candies like Mounds, and peanut butter cookies – which we made more festive my sprinkling red and green sugar on top.
To say we’ve scaled back is like telling someone to cut the heat down and later on you go by the thermostat and it’s so low, it might as well be off.
This Saturday we will still do the peanut butter balls – but I won’t be bringing any home. We will do peanut butter cookies, and sugar cookies too. Those I will bring home. Mom will make fudge and give me a few pieces because she knows how much I love it. But I won’t bring a whole tin home like before.
One reason for the change is Hubby. After years, and years, and years, what do I learn? He’s not a big cookie fan – peanut butter and sugar get a thumbs up – but he would just as soon eat a plain old rice cake as to eat the others. For a while there we were baking all these cookies like crazy, until I noticed I was hauling it back here, tin after tin loaded with goodies, and eating most of it all by myself.
Finally, one year, I got a clue when this conversation took place:
“Here try some of these, they’re so good!”
“Nah, I’ll just eat the peanut butter ones.”
“Oooo, these are my favorites! Try these.”
“Nah, I’ll just eat some of the sugar.”
“What? But, these are the best!”
“I don’t really care for them.”
Mouth. Open. And not to put a cookie in.
Well darn. So, I tell Mom this, and we have adjusted as time went on. Besides, with Dad not there to gobble them up almost as fast as we make them, she has lost some heart for doing a lot of baking anyway.
Brooke (my daughter) will be there as she has been for years now, too. And so, this tradition of ours will continue, minimized as it is, because it remains very special to me – and to Mom. Even if we only baked ONE kind of cookie, it wouldn’t matter. It would never be a wasted effort if one considers the human aspect of it, other than consumption.
You see, I try not to think too far ahead, because honestly, it’s too much for my heart. It isn’t for the love of cookies at all, but for the love of Mom. For who she was with Dad, and who she is now.
It is very different this year, and yet, we carry on.
Do you have traditions you’ve long held with someone special?