Thursday, December 07, 2006

My mom's Christmas cookies

My mom made the best Christmas cookies ever. She had an original recipe for sugar cookies: wreaths, Santa, reindeer, a star, all decorated beautifully with a frosting made of powdered sugar, milk and food coloring. For Santa’s pack, she added cocoa. She made dozens and dozens and gave a lot as gifts.

Her other specialties were gum drop cookies, Mexican wedding cakes (the best) and little cherry cookies. She loved cookies and as a young woman her nickname was Cookie. She did NOT like chocolate chip cookies, because she had once eaten an entire batch and became rather ill. She also made a delicious no-bake brandy ball cookie from Vanilla Wafer crumbs, powdered sugar, karo syrup and nuts as well as the brandy. These had to age for a week and were naturally hidden.

My mother also made beautiful wreaths and decorations from cones and pods. Not only was she a first-rate gardener with many ribbons and prizes, she had a creative eye for flower arranging, ceramics, stencils and even sewing.

Sad to say, as a young girl I never really appreciated her many talents. Isn’t that always the case? Now, I like to do many of the things she liked and I bake some of her cookies (except the gum drop) every year. The kids all have their favorites, and I bake my mother-in-laws, too.

My mother-in-law made the world’s best potato salad. She was somewhat superstitious and said that it was bad luck to do laundry between Christmas and New Years. She also kept a few scales from the Christmas Eve carp in her wallet which in theory would keep money in the wallet all year. I tried it once and it worked, but here we do not eat the Christmas Eve carp. I have tried several times to like it and can’t. Where I grew up we threw them back into the lake. We used salmon eggs for fish bait and I can’t eat salmon roe either.

Their funny eccentricities are what we remember most about people when they are gone. I hope I have some. Probably way too many. Random thoughts on a Thursday night.

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