Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tradition

We were a strictly “real tree” household growing up. A fake tree was never to cross the threshold of our home. We were on Charlie Brown’s side every time Lucy tried to peer pressure him into getting a plastic tree. Of course, getting a real tree was always a miserable ordeal. We would march out to a freezing gravel parking lot and inspect a hundred trees, mystified by the names like “Douglas fir,” and eventually picking one out to be wrapped and strapped to the top of the car. By this point, everyone was unhappy and our nasal passages were frozen shut. Then there was the process of getting the tree into the house, which traditionally entailed a lot of cursing and stomping.

Once the tree was wrestled into a stand and the needles had been vacuumed from the carpet, everyone calmed down and we returned to our jolly holiday selves.

Cookies were another essential tradition in our house. Mom would load the pantry up with peanut butter, sugar and AP flour weeks ahead of schedule and when the time came, baked up a flurry of sugary, fatty delights. No-bakes, peanut butter kisses and snickerdoodles were usually on the roster, with a few variations from year to year.

Last year, Alex and I had been dating for only a few months when the holidays rolled around. We decided to celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas all in one evening. Since I was in the overachiever stage at the beginning of a relationship, I agreed to make two kinds of cookies and do the latke frying all at once in his tiny Clifton apartment. I was ready to whip up some no-bakes and a pan of snickerdoodles, but Alex whimpered,

“Can we make cut-out cookies and decorate them?”

Who am I to deprive a Jewish boy of cut-out Christmas cookies? They weren’t traditional in my house, but I didn’t want to let him down, so I nixed the snickerdoodles and found a basic sugar cookie recipe. They turned out pretty well, considering my roommate and I had to beat the dough within an inch of its life to get it to roll out to the right thickness (no rolling pin).

This year, I do have a rolling pin, and Alex and I did the holiday thing all over again. I went back to the same cut-out recipe and we made them on Saturday night. This time, we did the latkes earlier in the month around the first few days of Hanukkah and saved the cookies for another day. And much to Jeff’s dismay, we used store-bought icing to decorate our, well, non-traditional traditional Christmas cookies.

5 comments:

Digival said...

you made yulenicorns too!!! yay!!!

Nathan said...

That's what Anna did this year for some Christmas treats. SO. GOOD. I'd eat them for breakfast, and have.

Ila said...

Nice of you to indulge the boy with the cookies. They look yummy.

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