In a few days, it will again be Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday of mine. I have never “made” the holiday. I like to tell people, “I do not do American holidays.”
Last year I decided to bake cookies to bring to my children’s home for Thanksgiving. In the “old” days, I would begin baking cookies as soon as my children left for school and finish just a few minutes before they arrived home. I always made a double batch of each recipe. When I was finished, I had dozens and dozens of cookies.
I would put newspaper on all my counters and on the entire kitchen table. The cookies would cool on these papers until I put them in freezer bags and stored them in the freezer. (According to sources on the Web, it’s safe to eat cookies cooled on newspaper. Ink is nontoxic.)
I loved surprising my family with thumbprint cookies, chocolate chip cookies, rum balls and oatmeal raisin cookies, to mention a few. However, everyone’s favorite was “devil dogs.” I was given this recipe by my friend Lillian Heiman Mendelowitz. As a very young woman Lillian was a great baker. Over the years she gave me several wonderful recipes.
Back to last year. I combed the web for new and different cookies to surprise the family. When I was done, I had chosen 12 different cookies to make. I prepared a shopping list and purchased the ingredients, put a day in my head that I wanted to bake and was ready to go.
Baking day arrived; I washed my face, brushed my hair and teeth, put on baking clothes and into the kitchen I went. Flour dust flying, measuring tools jingling and mixer whirring. Two hours into the project, I started to feel a little tired. But I pushed on. Another hour-and-a half, my feet began to ache. One more hour, and my lower back was in major stress.
I now had to assess the situation. I had managed to make 10 of the 12 cookie recipes. I always clean as I cook so the kitchen was not as bad as it could have been. I cleaned up, and I was done!!!
As I limped into the living room and threw myself on the couch, Howie said, “What were you thinking?” To which I exhaustedly replied, “I was thinking I was 30 years old.”
MAY-RONNY ZEIDMAN is executive director of the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center.