Thursday, December 20, 2007

Memories of Christmas Cookies

I enjoyed this recent article in the N.Y. Times. Perhaps you will too. The article drew me in from the very start:

The daughter of an interfaith marriage, I chose Judaism, but Christmas cookies chose me.

. . . This year I reconsidered the cookies of my youth, baked each Christmas by my grandmother. I had neglected those recipes in recent years . . .

Many recipes were titanic and laborious. The royal fans required washing the butter, a throwback to the days when most butter was salted, and carefully pinching the dough to shape the creases, each painstakingly painted a different color.

. . . Even though I fashion my gingerbread into dreidels and menorahs, as I bake from her recipes I feel close to her arms, crepe-thin and marked with pronounced veins, working the dough.

These days my grandmother is suffering from severe dementia and lives in a nursing home. I called the other day to discuss white bark balls, but she kept speaking about the beach. I don’t know where this beach of her mind exists, but I’ll bet they wash butter there.

At one point, the author refers to "chocolate ginger snaps." Those could either be really good or really disappointing. I love ginger snaps so much I'd almost be too afraid to mess with a good thing.

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