I’m Thankful for our Holiday Cookie Tradition
Check out Debbie Reynold’s 12 Days of Thanks Giving 2017 ActiveRain Challenge, that began November 12 and ends Thanksgiving Day. It’s all about sharing why we are thankful, with some bonus points thrown in for fun! There’s still time for you to share your thoughts, and lots of wonderful posts to enjoy!
This post is about good old fashioned cookie-making, our holiday tradition at Thanksgiving time, usually on the Friday or Saturday after the big food fest.
I was introduced to my wife’s German family tradition when she and I first started dating, then lived together in Ohio. Of course with that step it was time to meet her parents.
Kay’s Mom was a wonderful cook and the holidays were a particularly joyful time for cooking and baking at their Lansing, MI home. The cookie tradition, making about 15 dozen Honey Lebkuchen, has been around for a few generations.
What I really love about our long-standing tradition is it can involve the whole family, or friends. Kay and I have been making them personally for 39 years (not a year has been missed), even before we got married, and at about 15 dozen per round that’s about 7,000 cookies.
It’s a fair amount of work, both preparing the batter the day or two before (my job, other than the year after I fell and injured my shoulder), and making the cookies (Kay is expert with the rolling pin). And once our girls were old enough they enjoyed putting a blanched almond on each cookie before baking, then glazing them once they came out of the oven (of course you get to taste the frosting that way!).
The cookies are kept in tins for a few weeks to season and soften, but of course who wants to wait too long before testing them out – after all, I have to be sure they are good enough to share with others. The flavors develop over time (cardamom, citron, honey), so in addition to having a wonderful flavor after they sit for a while, they are a joy to share with family and friends…and hopefully they last until Christmas Day and maybe beyond.
The tradition has shifted a little now that the grandkids are getting old enough to help. So now we make ½ the cookies at home, then head to Los Angeles on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to make cookies. This year we could very well have 3 helpers (Giada, 6 1/2, Enzo, 4, and Ella 2 1/2), and with both daughters, their husbands, and our newest grandchild there it will be a special day indeed.
We have some other traditions but this is one I am most thankful for because of the family involvement, and making something we share with family and other people. We’ve also had friends over a number of times to make them as well when our kids left the house, and I can’t imagine a Thanksgiving or a Christmas without this long-standing family tradition.
What traditions are you thankful for and enjoy?