Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Different Christmas

I've made good use of this longest night by spending it in my kitchen since the sun went down many hours ago. I am having two dinners, for both sides of our family, but it's a different Christmas this year. A young man we've known a long time, just a freshman in college, lies in a coma after a car accident 10 days or so ago. My mother's sister lost a cruel battle yesterday and left us much too soon. I cannot attend her funeral, at the other end of the state, because one of my children is under a careful health watch this week. So I spent this solstice evening baking and thinking about my friend's son, and my aunt, and what to make for dinner(s), and acknowledging that we have moved into winter. 

 But mostly, I baked. DD made her favorite chewy chocolate cookies from this Martha Stewart recipe. I made peanut butter tastycakes, a family favorite (and the second batch of the season) and molasses cookies. The shortbread turned out, as always, to be something that should be locked in a vault. The dough for piparkakut, which sounded delicious in a New York Times cookie article, is resting in in the fridge until tomorrow, along with a batch of good old sugar cookies. I ground whole cardamom for the first time tonight and the scent brought people into the kitchen from all parts of the house.

This, my friends, is a purely gratuitous picture of chunks of chocolate about to be melted.

Peanut butter tastycakes. Can't beat 'em. They are the disappearing treat around here.

Everyone will be happy about the shortbread, which was just scored here, before being returned to the oven for a long bake.  Hopefully I will have another baking session in the next few days, but if not I will bake some other things next week. 

The things that are unfolding around me are way beyond my control. The sadness of a death, the uncertainty of an injury, and the concern over a puzzling illness are realities on this longest night of the year. I have prayed, and helped, and nursed, and planned, and administered, and cried, and remembered...and then I baked. I took comfort in the peace and calm of the kitchen. I would have gathered everyone into it, if I could have.

1 comment:

Jeanny House said...

Oh, my friend, you leave me with tears in my eyes as my heart is heavy with the news received today of a friend's cancer diagnosis. I want to come into your kitchen.