Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rolling cookie dough before dawn

First time I ever set my alarm for 5:45 so I could bake cookies, but it worked. The kitchen was cold, except for the preheating oven. The dough rolled easily without getting sticky.

Dad has requested cut-out sugar cookies like his mother used to make. He wants them thin and brown, the way we both prefer.

I'd hoped to make cookies for Dad when I was in Lincoln over Thanksgiving. Even if I had found Mom's cookie cutters, I could hear her warning the kitchen was too warm to roll cookies.

In December Mom would also be frustrated when the kitchen was too cold to bake houska or cardamon braid, our traditional Christmas breads. The yeast needs a warm winter day to rise -- a steamed kitchen.

Found my cookie cutter collection odd. The butterfly, hearts, squirrel, and roller skate cutters went for clay art projects long ago. The bell and other Christmas forms must have gotten too rusty.

Dad will be getting a package with a few reindeer, helicopters, brontosaurus, and one ghost (of Christmas past). There will be boots and pine trees, and several states of Texas. And there will be lots and lots of owl cookies. He should just pretend they are arctic snowy owls.

My grandma would arrive for the holiday on the Greyhound bus. She would climb down carrying two cardboard shirt boxes tied with string. One would be full of sugar cookies. The other would hold prune and apricot kolaches. I hope my little mailed tub of cookies gives Dad some taste memories.

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