Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Hurrieder I Go....

It's been a busy few weeks.

Work presented me with a complicated patient situation that was emotionally and physically draining, but it is completed.

I was able to spend a rare afternoon at The Shop with Holly and Steph to de-stress. I'm not able to do it nearly enough. The "Irregulars" are a group I care about a lot-- and I miss them when I can't hang out with them. (The aforementioned situation kept me at work very late one night and prevented me from attending a gathering that I was really looking forward to-- Why is it that events collide like that?)

I was able to go home to the Midwest for some wonderful time with family, and a very long day of cookie baking.

A bonus was that Dad's birthday was on Friday. It was also the first night of Hannukah.

Although we are not Jewish, we've had latkes on the first night for many, many years. The Daughter asked one year, when she was quite small, if we could celebrate the Feast of Lights, and I thought a modified celebration would be just fine. The Latke connection is through Gramma (Dad's mother), who made the best potato pancakes ever. As years progressed, we were never able to find any that compared, either homemade, purchased, or in a restaurant.

I came to the conclusion that the downfall of the latke was the widespread introduction of the food processor. The potato shreds are shorter and blunter than the hand-shredded ones, so they don't get as crispy around the edges. So I shred them by hand, and although they're not as good as Gramma's, they're not too shabby. And in honor of Dad's favorite dessert, we had strudel from Trader Joe's. Again, nowhere near Gramma's, but a passable (and I must admit, more reliable) alternative.

And so, to the cookies. We do this every year, and come from far and wide to make the cookies that my dear Gramma used to lovingly bake for us. Sister #1 was able to spend time with her to learn the secrets of her success, and as the years have passed, we use technology and make minor adjustments. But the Flaky Cookies, the Bird's nests, the Almond Crescents, the Brownies (these are not your ordinary brownies, believe me!), the cutout butter cookies, the gingerbread cookies-- all from scratch, and all unbelievable. We've added Mexican wedding cakes that Sister #1 perfected, as well as some really fun chocolate and pretzel snacks.
The sisters bake:

the offspring decorate:
(and bake if so inclined-- they're so happy to be together that they spend a lot of the time just hanging out),

the brothers (and Dear Ol' Dad) watch football and old movies and refresh the beverages. And The Parents watch over it all with love and support.

I'm so fortunate to have such a terrific family, and I don't for a moment take it for granted.

Knitting wise-- yes, that's what keeps me sane, right? I've made some progress. I'm working on casserole mitts for sisters, a stocking cap for The Son, socks (always) and have a few other projects in the wings.

Coming Up
I have one day left to get ready for Christmas. Then to work on 21,22 and 23. I'm actually off on Christmas Eve and Christmas, then back to work on 26,27 and 28.

Then off to Blacksburg for the night, and on to Atlanta for The Chik-Fil-A Bowl. (The Siblings have come up with a bunch of other names, since this is a bit different from The Peach Bowl, which is what it used to be. "Boneless Chicken Bowl" "Fried Chunk of Chicken Bowl" -- You get the idea.) From there we go to The Parents for New Years' Eve. And then back again.

I'll have to put together some thoughts on a 2006 retrospective. See you then

1 comment:

Ann said...

I have a very severe case of kitchen envy after seeing your pics.

Merry Christmas! Hope to see you soon!