Monday, December 2, 2013


I love baking, and always have. Once when I was about four years old, I got in trouble and my mom offered me a choice of punishment. Either I forfeit baking cookies with her or I take a spanking, and not from her, but from my dad. I chose the spanking.
I don’t need an excuse to bake, but Christmastime gives me the excuse to do it even more, and I take full advantage. I like making cakes and cookies in many varieties, and I experiment on my friends with new recipes from various cookbooks. My favorites are my Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters cookbook and my Betty Crocker cookbooks from the 50s and the 70s, which focus on comfort foods and classic goodies. I gravitate toward chocolate items,
but for the sake of others, I also make things without the most amazing ingredient ever discovered.
I have never been a fan of sugar cookies, but I don't mind making them. I bought a collection of cookie cutters on Black Friday and used them to make my husband some cookies. I am proud to say he said they were perfectly cooked, not to overdone but not too soft. (I have to thank Betty Crocker for the recipe.) 
One great holdover from the Halloween/Thanksgiving collection of recipes is pumpkin pie. Some people like pumpkin to be incorporated into everything from coffee to donuts to cookies, but I like the traditional pie. I refuse to
buy them pre-made, partly because I love baking so much and partly because the store-bought pies are not the same. My mom makes the best pumpkin pies, and when I began baking for myself, I asked her what her secret was. I should have known; my mom is obsessed with cinnamon, from candles to french toast, and also pie. She doubles the traditional measurement of cinnamon. Everything else is the same as the recipe on the can, but that extra cinnamon makes it taste a million times better. And don't forget the Cool Whip. None of that non-sweetened spray can whipped cream for me.

RADIO: Cinnamon Bear “Inkaboos”, Jump Jump and the Ice Queen “Traveling to the North Pole”, Jonathan Thomas and his Christmas on the Moon “The Valley of the Three Dwarfs”
MOVIE: Like most elementary school teachers around the holidays, my teachers used to show Christmas movies in December. One that I remember seeing several times in the classroom was Prancer, a movie I haven't heard much about since. 
I watched it again this year to see if the reason I never heard anyone talk about it was because it was really bad or really childish. It surprised me because it wasn't either of those things. The little girl is a bit over-the-top, which is established immediately by how loudly she sings in her school play, but her overbearing personality makes it realistic that she would take it upon herself to care for an injured reindeer. If you're an animal lover, you'll enjoy this film.  
SONG: "All My Bells Are Ringing" by Lenka 
GIFT MEMORY: When I got married, I wanted to be the perfect wife, and my idea of a good wife comes largely from old movies. I'm an old fashioned girl, and what was a wife expected to do well in the 1950s? Cook for her family, of course! 
Growing up, I was a very picky eater. However, my husband and I often went out to dinner and I began to like a lot more different kinds of foods. But because of my limited palate as a kid, I didn't know how to cook very many things. Therefore, I needed a good cookbook to help me get started.  
My mom had just the one I wanted, a Betty Crocker New Picture Cookbook from the 1960s with lots of information on basic meals including detailed information about the various cuts of meat and how to cook them. But even though she almost never used it, she refused to give it to me, saying her mother got it for her when she first got married. So I put it on my Christmas list. 
Last year, my amazing husband went to my favorite antique store and found a later edition of the cookbook for me. It was in excellent condition and the pages were in a three-ring binder. I use it frequently, especially for baking. 

No comments:

Post a Comment