The Christmas cookies
December 5, 2012
Temperature dropping, people shopping and hopefully you're enjoying goodwill.
We'll enjoy festive cookies shaped like Christmas trees and stars, adorned with colorful crystalline sprinkles and accompanied by palette-pleasing cups of eggnog sprinkled with nutmeg … yum!
These treats usually come from family, friends or even Raley's. Calorie-laden bliss is felt regardless of the provider. One-day cravings for yuletide confection manifest; caution gets thrown to the wind. You rationalize that caloric indiscretion can be neutralized at New Year's; what's that holiday without resolutions? Plus, there's a fitness center in the neighborhood.
Despite cooking about as well as Lucy and Ethel work a candy conveyer belt, you decide to test the culinary waters. Cookies, how hard could it be? You wrestle the remains of a Martha Stewart magazine from a child's new teething puppy and spot a recipe. Before you is a beautiful yet slobbered-on picture of your desire — homemade Christmas cookies (was that the "hallelujah" chorus in the background?). There's an ingredient list but missing are the mixing and baking directions. You let out a disgruntled sigh and glance at the puppy's happily distended belly.
You rationalize that caloric indiscretion can be neutralized at New Year’s; what’s that holiday without resolutions?
Do you have the needed ingredients? Checking pantry and refrigerator; they're all there — down to sprinkles. So what if they're pink? However, you still need directions how to properly use these "raw" materials. Pore over a cookbook, scour the internet, or call a life-line? These require time and effort. Our flesh is impatient and we want things "now!" You don't see the necessity. A shrug and resolve, "I'll wing it! I can do it on my own. Now, where's that bowl?"
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Ingredients are placed on the table. What comes first? In haste, you just throw them all into the bowl one after the other. Eggs, butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon, vanilla, oil and salt — of course don't forget the sprinkles!
You stir. Hmm? A kind of clumpy and chaotic concoction! Maybe once it's baked?
What began as gentle whispers in the ear are now panic inducing, headache producing screams demanding satisfaction. Realizing we're living in a "microwave" society you conclude that's the ticket and you've got one of those doo-dads. You succumb to a perceived means of speeded up gratification. Your fingers flurry on the keypad. After the "ding" comes out the plate with sort of a cooked, yet not baked, glop — that in no way, even with the wildest imagination, resembles the tantalizingly desire seen in the magazine's soggy picture.
Through tears you cry out, "I just wanted cookies; I had all I thought was needed! What happened?"
We're blessed with everything we need in life; at our disposal are lots of ingredients, but sometimes we don't think we need any directions. The results of unguided use don't always turn out as expected. Want the good news? God is able to un-mix ingredients, even when used improperly or in wrong order, He can even un-crack an egg — we just need to ask for help.
That, my friends, is a true gift.
Anthony D. Rabak lives in Alta Sierra.