Sunday, December 8, 2013

Baking Solstice

These days, I take nothing for granted. Not the weather, not my health nor my energy. And while I don't think I ever took people in my life for granted, I know that with so many precious ones who passed this year, I realize that their leaving is not predicted by their age.  They left behind a rift in the lives of their children, parents, friends and family.

The aftermath of death in families can sometimes bring people closer and sometimes drive them apart because of the grieving process. Its worse for some reason, during the pressure and stress of holidays.

With another shift in my consciousness on this topic, I came to realize that we are all wounded by something, and its how we react to the person or thing wounding us that defines our own healing. I see so many of us bringing our wounds to the feasting tables where the slightest word can set someone running to the other room in tears. 

A lot of the holiday movies poke fun at families, leave us agreeing that we dislike attending those events and yet, every year we are drawn to them for the same kind of play.

I think more about the children around me who must deal with what the adults in their lives choose. They move, switch schools, playmates, and have to rediscover their sense of place. They hear what goes on, even in whispered rooms with closed doors. Kids can have a sense of wonder at this time of year, yet, partnered with a sense of fear.

Although I live so very far away from them, like many Grandparents, I provide a sense of ....what?....stability, comfort, tradition, humor?

I started making the dolci to send back to the Grandpeeps last week, and went at it in earnest this morning. The kids like the traditional cookies we used to make together, so these aren't really all that fancy. I will do more later and, like always, clean up as I go. 

The first batch was the Spritz. Years ago, I had a really good setup, and the side handle broke, so it got replaced with a 'new-new-new' model that will go to the thrift store tomorrow on my way to the Post Office. The batter was soft enough, but the whole thing kept coming apart either at the top or bottom. Its done. With all the wonderful cookie recipes out there, I do not need the hassle.

My next batch was the Pizzels, a very old family recipe made with Anise seed and oil. When I first learned to make these, my Gram & Mother had stove top irons that made one at a time as you flipped them over and hoped they didn't burn.  This modern iron makes two at a time and I love the ease of it.

Third to come out this morning is one of the store-bought and frosted Oreos. I do one of this type each year so that the Grandpeeps see how simple it is to make a cookie without much time or effort. ALSO, it gives me a way to use up the end of any decors left over from last year. They are quite noticeable on any serving plate.

I have at least one or two more planned today. The first is a chocolate dough with some Andes Peppermint chips...made like chocolate chip cookies with two changes in the recipe. Very easy, very lovely. Not sure about another one in this moment. 

Everything will cure today before going into shipping boxes tomorrow. If I am lucky, each Grandpeep will get about half a dozen of each one in their box, PLUS their own holiday mug rug.