Thursday, December 8, 2011

Doing the Right Thing This Holiday Season

Every year, the time around the holidays seems to get more and more crowded. Things to do, people to see, even with fewer people to buy for this year, there's still a lot of shopping. One thing hasn't changed this year--I have to pick and choose what's most important.

Decorations are slowly going up. Shopping is 99% done and what's left is relatively painless (gift cards for teachers, that sort of thing). But, I have a manuscript I want to finish drafting before we start visiting people and having company all the time. Really? I'd like to get edits on PRT 2 done as well so I can send it off. But I'll settle for the draft.

What that means is, time is precious. I let the blog slide during NaNo, so I don't really want to skip it this month (plus, really, blogging doesn't take that long as long as I know what to write about). I haven't done cards yet and I really should. I always do cards, but if I don't get them out soon, they may not get where they need to be.

On the other hand, the extended family Christmas party is this weekend. My grandfather turns 100 in March. He's almost a freaking century old. My mind still boggles when I consider it. But, I'm also a realist. Anything could happen between now and March. So... cards are taking a backseat to something more important.

You see, my grandmother used to make these cookies. They were really the only kind she ever made, and they are... an acquired taste (most of the kids in the family acquired it because... hello? Only option at grandma's house). My grandmother died quite a while ago, and no one in the family could duplicate her cookies. Truth is I'm not sure how many people bothered trying. You see? They are a pain in the ass. Your kitchen is devoted to those cookies for two days. Might as well not plan on doing anything else in there. And, if you don't do it just right... they don't turn out. Easy to burn. Easy to under mix. Easy to over flour. There are so many ways to screw them up.

A few years back, I decided I wanted to surprise my grandfather and I made them. That year I discovered that the special flour on the recipe? Yeah. It doesn't exist anymore. So... I tried with the closest I could find. The cookies didn't look quite right, but they tasted okay, if a little bland. (It was also the year I found out that you need 4-5x as much extract as you need if you use essential oil instead.)

Then I made them the next year. They still didn't look quite right (the flour I found was more yellow than the special flour), but by cutting them the night before, the edges baked better. Plus, I used the right amount of extract. Now, they still didn't taste exactly right (the flour problem), but damn... they're close. And grandpa asked about them the moment I walked in the door that year.

I've made them for every party since. Last year, (in addition to the special box for Grandpa) I packaged up the leftovers for my dad... and my cousin took them. That boy is going to get an earful this year. Anyway... Cards? Or cookies for my almost-100-year-old grandpa? That's a no brainer.

Maybe I'll find time for cards next week. Maybe not. I hope if you expected one from me and don't get it, you'll understand that I had to make a choice... and agree I made the right one.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

1 comment:

  1. You Definitely made the right choice! Grandpa comes before anything. Grandma did make other cookies but you were probably too young to remember - but the Springlers had the best taste! We All thank you for making them (you packed me a seperate baggie, right?)
    Luv ya sis


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