There were LOTS of sales to go to today, but I decided not to go to any. The weather helped me with that decision -- it was snowing and slippery, so there was no reason to drive 20-30 miles to look at stuff that wasn't even calling my name.
She lived with us from just a few weeks after I was born and was my main caregiver, because my mom worked. Ning was one of the best bakers around! Yesterday was her birthday (she was born in 1891) so I've been thinking about her a lot. Her mother died when Ning was only 13, and she became the 'mom' at her house, in charge of the cooking & housekeeping for herself, her dad and her brother. Her father sent her to Fleischmann's (the yeast people) cooking school, which wasn't like a culinary school would be now, but more like a high school home ec class would be. I still have the cookbook that she used there.
|Fleischmann's cooking school book|
I think part of the reason we all love Christmas cookies so much is that they connect us with the past. When I make different cookies I remember the people I loved who liked those cookies best -- my dad liked Hermits (if you're not German, you might not know what those are), my mom liked Mexican Wedding Cakes and Ning liked Springerles (also German). Baking them sort of keeps them alive in my memory.
|My family's original Hermit recipe, cut out of the paper in the 50s -- it's the one I still use|
I also use some of the old implements I grew up with! This nut grinder is the same one I used at home as a little girl 'helping' to make the cookies. Turning the crank was my first helper-job, just as it was the first job I gave my boys when they were little. My guys thought it was really funny when we'd go to antique malls and they'd see the nut grinder we had at home for sale as an 'antique'.