Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cookie Marathons and A Festive Kitchen


There's nothing quite like the smell of cookies baking, the scent of Christmas candles burning, and the festive atmosphere of a busy kitchen during the holiday season.

For many, many years my Mother and I would reserve 3-4 days in the weeks before Christmas for our annual cookie marathons. We would spend two days baking cookies and then one day packaging the cookies for our friends, loved ones, and several senior centers and nursing homes.

Every year we would select the cookies we would be baking from our list. For the most part we kept making ones that we knew were really good. Once in awhile we would add a new cookie, but it had to be exceptional to bump another cookie off the list. Sometimes we added fudge and chocolate candies that we'd made.  We knew that our cookies were good - how could they not be with many, many years of experience honing our cookies? As our list continued to grow we even had people asking to be put on our list.  So, of course, we added them and the list continued to grow and grow.

During this period we really took over the kitchen, the dining room, the family room and the sunroom. Let's face it during our cookie marathons we basically took over the house. There were tables everywhere for cooling the cookies or cookies on cookie sheets waiting to go into the oven or tables for the bags of finished cookies. Everywhere you looked there were cookies, but the smell was irresistible.

Of course, the rest of the house had already been decorated with Christmas decorations. We'd have the Christmas music playing in the background and the moods were bright and cheery. After three days of cooking we were always tired, but that never dampened our joy or the festive atmosphere.

It was usually during this time that hubby would try to get some of his Christmas shopping done and when he did he often would come home and surprise both my Mother and I with Christmas pins.  Christmas pins was a tradition started by my Dad a long time ago and continued by my sweet hubby.  I've written about his several times on my Linda's Blog.  If you'd like to read my posts please CLICK HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Sometimes my Mother would come with a surprise.  One year she came with a tiny little girl caroler.  What made this little caroler so special was that she was sitting with her hand in the cookie jar eating as many cookies as she could.  What a perfect gift for our carolers scene and cookie marathon.  She's the little girl sitting in front of the fireplace in the picture below.




So, with kitchens and cookies in mind I thought you'd like to see some of the decorations we would be looking at during our cookie marathon.

Standing at the stove while baking we had full view of our carolers scene......


There was a miniature tree on the counter......


And, a happy Santa wreath on the wall saying "Christmas Cheer Is Welcome Here"......


And a sleigh filled with boxes......


A festive scene on the wall.....

A festive tree that was a present from hubby one year.......


Bright and cheery yuletide logs on the shelves.....


Elegantly wrapped boxes and trees above us.....


And, all along the top of the cabinets......


Even the kitchen canisters got in on the act......


Don't forget the soap dispenser for washing all those dishes - and there were a lot for a 3-4 day cookie marathon.......


A miniature pine-cone tree was always cheery to look at......


Don't forget the Santa & Mrs. Claus magnets on the refrigerator.....


The wooden church was there, too.......


And, during a cookie marathon the gingerbread kept a watch on us.........


And, while washing all those dishes we got to look at miniature Santa's carved on wooden spools......


I will always keep warm memories of my Mother's and my cookie marathons.

It was a good thing we both were really organized and had similar kitchen styles for baking, washing, and cleaning up. While one was putting the cookies in the oven the other was taking cookies off the cookie sheets for cooling on the racks. While one was adding new cookie dough to the cookie sheets the other was washing some of the dishes. While one was mixing new dough the other was adding the cooled cookies to the plastic storage bags.

Two cooks in the kitchen spoils the brew was never a true adage during our cookie marathons.  It was more like a Mother and daughter so in-tuned with each other they would be reading each other's minds at exactly the right moment.  Knowing exactly what to do without speaking a word.

Oh, what fun we had.

What warm memories to last a lifetime.

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