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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Cooking/Baking (not recipes) (10/16/08)

TITLE: Yuletide Bakers' Break-up
By Angela M. Baker-Bridge


This is unthinkable. Christmas is only a few weeks away and she decided to put me out. Now of all times, how can she break-up our thirty-one year baking relationship without any remorse? I thought she was different, that she valued my loyalty. I cannot believe she’s just as shallow as everyone else, hung-up on exterior appearances. After all we’ve been through together, she says she’s embarrassed over how I’ve aged? Okay, so maybe I’m slower than I used to be, I’ve even slipped a few times, but I’ve proven myself to be more than just a pretty face, or so I thought.

Who else would’ve been such a dependable productive workhorse for her? Maybe she’s forgotten who helped her climb her social ladder, but I haven’t. She’s been a successful hostess and chef because of my support. Forget about all I’ve done for her throughout the year, what about every Christmas season?

Each Yuletide I’ve labored relentlessly preparing her family favorites. If I had my say we’d have stuck to the classics, but she always insisted on trying some new concoction from her magazines. True, some were delectable, but others caused me to choke and spit, fearing I’d never be rid of their awful taste.

Our tradition was to begin preparing her Christmas delicacies the day after Thanksgiving. Each morning we reviewed the day’s recipes while she spread out the ingredients. We used tons of butter, flour, and sugar – granulated, brown, and confectionary. It’s impossible to estimate how many dozens of eggs and gallons of vanilla we went through. Additional extracts included almond, anise, lemon, orange, peppermint, and rum. There were pounds of almonds, pecans, walnuts, and candied fruits. I also incorporated dozens of bags of chocolate, butterscotch, and peanut butter chips. These ingredients were just the basics.

Her baking ritual was always the same. The first week we tackled classic fruitcakes. We spent the next week on several varieties of Italian biscotti and pizzelles. As Christmas drew closer, we turned out wedding cookies, rum balls, oatmeal-scotchies, peanut-butter blossoms, chocolate-chip-macadamia clusters, coconut macaroons, lemon bars, pumpkin rocks, magic bars, thumbprint jam-filled butter cookies, pecan tarts, spicy nuts, and fudge. We produced mini loaves of sweet breads the following week. Finally, we used the holiday week to tackle the meal, hors d'oeuvres, soup, main course, and entrees. Is it any wonder that I’m worn and aged?

One Christmas season she hosted a party for fifty college athletes. She invited several inexperienced coeds to join our baking ritual, intending to provide baking lessons. Flour coated the entire kitchen like freshly fallen snow. Eggshells added crunch to the dough. The stench of burned cookies overpowered the sweet aroma of our labor. The cheerleading ballerina was useless except for comic relief. I watched the others devour more cookie dough than they dropped on the baking sheets. What a nightmare.

During another Christmas season, we prepared cookies for two-hundred Christmas Cantata attendees. Our lone volunteer was eager to learn the art of baking Christmas goodies. She turned out to be a foreigner to basic baking ingredients.

Scrunching her nose while looking at the vanilla extract, she blurted out, “This is weird. I can’t believe you actually keep this stuff in your pantry.”

When asked what she thought went into cookies, she grinned, “Well, like flour and sugar.”

It was a long night.

Throughout the years, we’ve seen it all while I remained faithful. Sadly, she’s never expressed any appreciation. I was taken for granted. As vital as I was during her Christmas baking binge, when company arrived, I was pushed aside and hidden out of sight. I’ve endured humiliation, a lack of respect, and the never-ending assaults from her children. How many times did they lick me then toss me aside as if I was disposable?

If she wants to replace me, so be it. She may silence my inner bearings this Christmas, but she cannot wipe away the years of joy we brought her family and friends. After all, didn’t we bake and give all those sweet treats as a symbol of what the Christmas story is all about … giving our time and love?

At least my memories will go with me as I’m placed on the Kitchen Aid Electric Mixers’ shelf at the local Thrift store. I only wish I could see the face of my old baking mistress when she discovers the price tag on those new sissy colored models. Maybe then, she’ll appreciated what she had. Ho-Ho-Ho.

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This article has been read 762 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sharlyn Guthrie10/27/08
I love the voice and your slant on the topic! I can relate. I have a well-loved mixer that probably won't last much longer, but doesn't owe me a thing. Your story made me a little sad for it. :)
Betty Castleberry10/27/08
Super creative. I really enjoyed this. At first I thought it might be a stove relating its experiences. Well done.
Seema Bagai 10/27/08
Angela, it's not cheesy at all. It is unique and a fun read. I'm still laughing.
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/28/08
I liked your creative entry. I kept guessing the pov character--thought stove or other objects. Very clever--not cheesy!
Celeste Ammirata10/28/08
I think this is cute. Not cheesy. I did get pretty early on that it was a mixer or beater or something like that. But, this is a well written, fun read.
Beth LaBuff 10/28/08
LOL -- I love your humor. Your food list is …over the top. This is great, "the price tag on those new sissy colored models…" Then the sarcastic "Ho-Ho-Ho" at the end is so funny. :)
Marijo Phelps10/29/08
Loved it! The POV was super! Creative piece.
Joanne Sher 10/29/08
Oh, SO cute and fun. Love the voice of this, Angela. Not sure what I would have titled it, either--but your story is super for the topic.
LauraLee Shaw10/29/08
Oh my, you are so witty. Wowzer. Great fun to read. :)
Lyn Churchyard10/29/08
Ho-ho-ho... so clever. Loved the unique POV. Angela, you're a whiz-bang story mixer :)
Leah Nichols 10/30/08
Ho-Ho-Ho - what a great line! I love this idea....I thought it was the stove, too. Great work - very creative.
Joshua Janoski10/30/08
I had a suspicion that this was a kitchen utensil talking, but I wasn't completely sure until the end. I love how you ended this with the mixer talking about the price tags and the ho-ho-ho. Haha. Really fun and creative stuff here. So good to see you back in the challenge, Angela. :)