NO CHRISTMAS COOKIES THAT YEAR!
By the time my first son, Michael, was five and his brother Steve was two, we were living in a rented house in North Hollywood and it was while we were living atthat house on Kittridge street that I began collecting cookbooks—and was really into cookie baking by that time. I had acquired a lot of Wilton decorating tips and began learning how to make little flowers, like violets, with royal frosting, to put on cookies. Just before Christmas in 1965, I embarked on asugar cookie baking marathon. I planned to give cookies to friends as well ascoworkers at Weber Aircraft where both Jim and I were employed. After hundreds of sugar cookies were baked and cooled, I began frosting them, one night, like an assembly-line, coveringall the table and counter tops with trays of frosted cookies. When at last the cookies were all decoratedwith butter cream frosting, I left them out to dry overnight. I collapsed in bed around 3 am.
The next day, I got up to discover that Michael had eaten the frosting off of everysingle cookie. Every – single –cookie. Needless to say, no one receivedgift tins of cookies from the Smiths that year. To add insult to injury, Michael didn’t even get a tummy ache from all that sugar. So, even though I may not beable to describe the many different cookies I made for most Christmasses overthe past 50 years, I can certainly tell you the story of the year no one received cookies from us.
In a homemade recipe journal I found in a used book store in the mid-60s, I was impressed with the author’s lists – lists of guests for parties, lists of everything that had been served – and lists of the cookies and confections she cooked and baked to give to friends for the holidays. So, I began keeping lists also. I’ve kept a Christmas notebook for years—it helps me remember who received what so that I don’t give that person the same thing two years in a row. So for whatever it’s worth- here is a list of my Christmas cookies for 1981:
Chocolate cut out
Butter cut out
Mexican wedding cakes
Oatmeal ice box
1 dough 8 ways *bon bons
Almond icebox slices
Sun giant raisin
Truffles, 2 kinds
Peanut butter balls
Texas fruit cake
What this list tells me is that not much has changed in thirty years. Many of these recipes are the same ones I’m still baking! And the mint walnuts became afavorite when my penpal in Oregon sent me small bottles of mint oil, from their mint crop. (although any kind of mint oil will work). Those are really not a“cookie” but what you might call a confection.