I’ve never been much of a cook. There are a few things I can make pretty well (only a few) but I follow directions really well, so I can fake my way through just about anything with a good recipe (the simpler the better). It’s always been the eating part of cooking that I enjoy the most, so if someone else volunteers to do the actual cooking part, I’m happy to oblige. Really, the only time of year I get excited about being in the kitchen is Christmastime.
I have one recipe (stolen years ago from a Pampered Chef cookbook) for cranberry orange crescent rolls that I make every year for Christmas. Everyone in my family likes them (I think) and I make them every year — either for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or, in my most industrious years, for both. This year, I skipped them. First, cranberries are harder to come by here than I expected, but also, it just didn’t feel the same to make a whole big batch just for the four of us (besides, Benjamin isn’t a big eater, and Liam isn’t big). Also, it felt a little like a show of solidarity with my family at home that since I wouldn’t be able to make them for all of them, that we wouldn’t be having them either. I’ll save those for the next time we’re together for the holidays.
But I did decide to make Christmas cookies this year — we do need to leave some out for Santa. I wanted to go for maximum fun for minimum effort, so my mom found a recipe for rolled cookies. Benjamin was very excited to help. We made the dough yesterday evening — he helped me measure, and he was in charge of pouring all of the ingredients into the mixing bowl. He wasn’t very enthusiastic about stirring, but he did a great job as taster. Today, we rolled the dough and used our cookie cutters to make the cookies. Benjamin is a good flour-sprinkler (what he lacks in aim he makes up for in thoroughness) and is an enthusiastic (if a little scary — had to watch my fingers!) cookie cutter outer. He helped me decorate the cookies and, again, was lead taste-tester. Liam even supervised a little (and helped with the tasting).
My kitchen is a mess. There is flour everywhere. We completely used up 3 mostly full colored sugar shakers (on 30 cookies — yikes). We had a great time. As an extra treat, my mom made the same cookies at her house this past week, so even though we’re far apart, it’s something we all kind of did together. The cookies turned out pretty well (if a little structurally unsound — I don’t think I let them cool long enough on the cookie sheets) but sharing the experience with my kids, and with my mom, is my favorite part. (And the eating. That too.)