While I was baking cookies - sand tarts, lemon bars and sugar cookies along with cheese balls this week, lots of memories flooded me of all the years I've been doing this.
My mother seldom cooked, so this tradition wasn't handed down. I believe it began when the kids were in school, money was tight or non-existent, and the kids loved to help in the kitchen.
We would start around Thanksgiving and make "goodie" plates for the teachers, the mailman, good friends and anyone else that we wanted to say Merry Christmas. It was fun. There would be powdered sugar everywhere. Sprinkles and dough stuck under fingernails. Flour on the floor.
But, oh, how much fun. The kids loved it.
It seemed the people who received these goodie plates did also. In the past they were larger and full of things like fudge, Mississippi fudge cake, little pecan pies, along with the things that are now there. The favorite of everyone was the buttermilk pralines that were made. I haven't made those in years.
Each child, even while off at college would contact me and say, "Now we ARE going to make?",whatever was their favorite. I had possibly decided not to make that that year, but I never told them that, if they asked to make it with me. So the whole repertoire continued.
Exit adult children. Enter grandchildren. The same dough everywhere along with flour etc. In fact, my oldest granddaughter, Jessica was on the front page of the Houston Chronicle Food Section one year with the old mixer, the beaters and the dough. I had mentioned our family tradition of making cookies together and the Food Editor, Ann Criswell dispatched a film crew. I think Jessica was in kindergarten or first grade at the time. What fun that was!
So, here I am, doing this alone. No grandchildren to be with me to build memories and traditions.
Not a happy time. In fact we've been told that we won't even get to see the children on Christmas to give them their gifts.
However, I'm soldiering through and making things that I hope a few friends will like. Not as extensive as in the past.
Still made with affection and love however.