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December 20, 2003: Delicious

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What with being sick and tired and lacking any energy I have been seriously lacking in getting all of my Christmas baking done. Since we are hosting the coffee hour after church tomorrow I knew I couldn't put it off any longer. So this morning I got up, and after coffee and breakfast, I stirred up the dough for the gingerbread men while Richard made a trip to the grocery store.

By the time he got back I was halfway done with the gingerbread cookies and had the first few ingredients in the pan for the first batch of fudge. Unfortunately the can of evaporated milk turned out to have been lurking in the cupboard for far too long, so off he went to the store again while I stayed behind to finish the gingerbread men and stir up the dough for the teacakes and the cookie press cookies. Back he came, this time with fresh cans of evaporated milk, and he set to making both batches of fudge while I continued with cookie duty. Then he and I traded off using the cookie press to squish out little almond-flavored white snowflakes and green trees onto the pans.

The cookie press I now have used to be my mom's. A few years ago I got one of those new types that works somewhat like a gun, with a trigger, and I hated it. I could never get it to work right, since I am just enough too short to get the right kind of pressure on it from above, and usually had to have Richard crank them out for me. I think it was last year or perhaps the year before that my mom mentioned how much she really wanted one of the newer cookie presses because she didn't like hers. My ears perked up, and when she got her new one, I got her old one. I love this thing. It's metal instead of plastic, and the cookies come out with just an easy turn of the handle at the top. No squeezing; no having to stand on a stool to press down on the pan. Just a little turn and poof out comes the cookie. They don't make them like this anymore.

Fudge mixed and poured, cookies pressed and baked, and teacakes baked and rolled twice in powdered sugar once right when coming out of the oven, and again right before packing them into a tin and we were finally done. The house smelled deliciously like chocolate and cookies. There were one or two of each kind that broke, or didn't come out quite right, which meant we each got a few nibbles as they cooled. All of these cookies, however, are all best when they've been allowed to sit for a day or two, to let the flavors meld.

And then, once all the cookies were packed away into the lovely metal round tins I bought last year, we finally went off to see Return of the King . The theater was packed, but that was no great surprise. There was applause when the introductory credits started to roll in the beginning. There were wild cheers and raucous applause at just the right moment in the heat of the battle. And there was even louder applause when it was all over. There was the pretty elf boy to sigh over, and poor wretched Gollum to pity, and creatures horrid and nasty enough to make me cringe, and then all the endings which wrapped up all the stories, one after another. I cannot believe that this was the end.

It's been a nice day. I got all the baking done. I finally got measurements for my nephews' heads so I might finally be able to finish their hats. We saw the final episode of one of the biggest fanboy/girl trilogies ever to be put onto film. And we finished all that off with a pivotal episode of season 5 of Buffy. Neither the dull ache of sinus pressure building up in my head, nor the fact that when we got home we were faced with yet another incursion of ants wandering aimlessly across the floor in three rooms can make it any less of a nice day.

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