Ah, the smell of Christmas cookies baking in the oven. Who doesn’t love Christmas cookies and all the other baked goodies the holidays have to offer? “Where’s the cookies, Mom?,” ask my boys when the sweet scent hits their noses. Oh, hmm … uh – sorry, that’s just my favorite candle burning.
For better or worse, you will never find homemade Christmas cookies or massive quantities of baked goods at my house. I realize most women feel obligated to fulfill their motherly duty of making dozens of delicate rosettes, rice krispie bars, Russian sandies, chocolate covered pretzels, frosted sugar cookies, etc. Slaving away in the kitchen for hours and hours on the weekend or week nights, spending precious grocery money on pounds of butter, humongous sacks of flour and sugar, mounds of chocolate chips and tons of nuts. It’s a badge of honor, and with a definite sense of smugness to say you did your Christmas baking already.
I listen as women moan that they have to stay up all night or spend the whole weekend baking because they HAVE to make their Christmas cookies and treats that their families expect. And for what? Once all the baking is done, they give away most cookies to everyone else! Or participate in a cookie exchange, or serve them at a family gathering or bring them to the office. It’s a never ending cycle of baking treats for someone else, so you end up with someone else’s cookies that you don’t even like, or even worse – inferior quality cookies.
Where’s the sense in this?
God forbid we actually eat all those darn cookies because we’ll gain 50 lbs, raise our cholesterol to the roof and bust a gut because we can’t help ourselves. Eating those wondrous sweets reminds us of the sweet moments of childhood when mom or grandma baked their specialties just for us out of pure motherly love.
Well, bah humbug, I say. I chose a long time ago to forgo the baking of fattening, unhealthy, high calorie, fat-laden Christmas treats. Because, well …. baking is stressful for me. Measuring, timing, greasing, stirring, sifting, dirtying 10 bowls, 20 utensils, burning the cookies and then ending up with a kitchen from hell because I’m famous for creating a mess with foodstuffs. And I hate cleaning even more than cooking!
In all honesty, I envy women (and men!) who enjoy the baking, do it patiently with their children, pass on a tradition and share their baking skills.
But it’s just not my scene.
What’s your favorite kind of Christmas cookie?
Joanne Jensen lives in Big Lake, MN.