Wednesday, December 14, 2011
This past Saturday the Ashburys perpetuated their newest Christmas tradition, now three years old: grandmother-granddaughter cookie baking day.
My youngest granddaughter, the one I help care for on a regular basis, loves to bake. 11 is an interesting age for a girl, don’t you think? Half child, half adolescent, 11 is a time for sometimes forgetful/clumsy/emotional moments, and sometimes amazingly adult and insightful ones.
At least I have found it to be so with Emma.
One moment she’s bemoaning the fact that not getting her way is just not fair [stamp foot here]; the next, she’s using her fork as a pointer at the dinner table when she tells my beloved, “Remember, Grandpa, happy wife—happy life.”
Emma’s mother isn’t a baker, and so she comes to me and her other grandmother, for the chance to indulge her culinary creative side.
I happen to know that I don’t let her do as much as her other grandmother does—she informed of this on Saturday—but then she admitted that her other grandmother makes cakes, not cookies that have to be rolled out.
I am immune to the efforts of children to apply guilt.
I rolled out the dough – and this year I cheated and bought pre-made sugar cookie dough – and she cut them, put them on the tray, and then collected the cooled cookies for decorating.
We have fun, and I try and teach her how to do things “the old fashioned way” [read, by hand]. It’s a good time to talk about anything under the sun. Mostly, she talks and I listen. I like to think that when she’s a granny, she’ll look back on these times with a smile.
I made the icing for the cookies but she did the rest, with icing and sprinkles and a pretty good job she did, too.
We ended up with a few dozen sugar and gingerbread cookies, all of which she took home with her. I did promise that she could help me in a couple of weeks when it’s time to make my mother’s steamed Christmas pudding.
She and her brother love this traditional dessert almost as much as their father did. He was a crafty one, coming to me at the beginning of November every year, a solemn look on his face. “I’m worried that you may have forgotten how to make it,” he would say. “So I think you should practice by making one now. We’re all willing to be your test subjects. After all, you wouldn’t want to serve a flawed pudding to guests.”
After such a creative plea, of course I had to make an extra dessert ahead of Christmas. And yes, it did get a two-thumbs-up.
Keeping in mind Emma’s complaint—that I don’t let her do as much—I think I’ll get her to grate the carrots and potatoes for the pudding. She won’t mind doing the work, she never does when we’re baking. She’s just a typical 11 year old, anxious to get to the part where she gets to eat her creations.
Of course, in the case of the sugar cookies, Emma can see no reason to wait for the whole baking/decorating process. She spent a good deal of time begging for little bits of raw cookie dough to eat.
That, I’ve been informed by the child in question, she gets from her mother’s side of the family.
With the permission of the parents, I have posted a family photo here on my blog. This was taken last month when we went out to celebrate the November birthdays [they have them the same day] of my beloved and our second daughter. This, of course, is only half of my family. My son and his brood live in another city. I’ll try to nab a pic of all of us with them on Christmas Eve.