Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Cooking/Baking (not recipes) (10/16/08)
TITLE: The Ugliest Christmas Cookies in the County
By Kathy Ludwig
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It was their annual Christmas cookie baking day. A tradition that started when her own children were small, now the day involved three daughters, seven grandchildren, herself and her mother, who stopped by every year just to enjoy the chaos.
The day began with cookie dough chilling, a pot of coffee perking and the kitchen table extended to its full length and covered with a colorful plastic holiday tablecloth. Carol only wished she could cover the rest of her kitchen with plastic as well. By the time everyone arrived, the oven was heating, rolling pins, cookie sheets and cookie cutters waited patiently and the children, not so patient were ready for action.
Suited up in their favorite aprons, the kids dove in. Before long, they were taking turns rolling and cutting the cookies, up to their elbows in dough and their faces streaked with flour. The adults stood by to catch any messes and referee. By lunch time, cookies were cooling on racks, awaiting the second part of the process that would finally yield the ugliest Christmas cookies in the county.
While the kids ate, Grandma Carol mixed up the frosting, sorted it into bowls and added food coloring. The sprinkles were set out along side the colored frosting and the kids attacked with renewed energy. Spontaneous contests sprang up to name the Most Beautiful Cookie, the Most Original Cookie, the Way-Far-Outest Cookie, the Most Decorated Cookie and on and on until each child won the coveted award of a spoon to lick after the cookies were frosted. By the time they lost interest, the cookies were finished and drying again on the racks.
The kids retired to the family room to watch a favorite Christmas movie while three generations helped clean and restore the kitchen. They chatted easily, catching up on each others lives and enjoying the familiar camaraderie they had developed over the years. The patina of total acceptance by the others was a blessing that nurtured honest friendship among them.
One last piece of the tradition remained. After the clean-up, they all gathered around the table to taste the fruit of their hard labor accompanied by tall glasses of cold milk. Finally, each adult wrapped up her portion of the cookies and took them and her children home. It had been a day of giggles and fun, messes and dirty faces and yes, a few tussles and tears.
Carol cleaned up the dishes and breathed a deep sigh. Time to take that quiet moment. She poured a cup of coffee and chose a Christmas tree frosted red with large yellow dots. Where the two colors bled together, Halloween orange grew, making the dots look like lopsided targets. The whole thing was covered with chocolate sprinkles. She chuckled as she sat, taking a bite. Certainly these were not the cookies she would take to the Ladies Guild meeting next week. Those would be created in a quiet kitchen and decorated by an artistic hand. However, they would not be cookies as lavish or flamboyant as the ones her family had made today. She sighed, leaned back, closed her eyes and prayed fervently that her holiday cookie jar would always hold the ugliest Christmas cookies in the county.
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