December 22, 2019

Baking Day

In Cedarfield tradition, the Pastoral Care Team created this compilation of holiday memoirs by team members and residents. We will share one a day through the holidays. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Margaret Ernstes, Team Member

When I was a child, Christmas baking day was a virtual explosion forthe senses: cookie dough squished between fingers, mouth-wateringsmells from the oven, tasty treats, and a visual mess from floor to ceilingand wall to wall. My parents and I lived with my father’s oldest sister, a modernwoman, who worked in a business office. She never learned to cook anything.She did, however, love to bake Christmas cookies.

I loved annual baking day because I got to spend the whole day with her in thekitchen, and she gave absolutely no thought as to the mess we created. My motherwould drive off into town for the day, and my father stayed outside in the barn orhis wood shop. But you couldn’t pry me away from the kitchen, my aunt, and allthe fun we had.

Out of the cupboards and pantry came the rolling pin, cookie cutters, nut choppers,mixing bowls, flour, sugar (powdered and regular), chocolate chips, pecans,and food coloring. We donned aprons to protect our clothes. We probably shouldhave spread drop cloths on the floor, but we didn’t. The day’s work began. Wemeasured and mixed, rolled and cut, and baked and sampled.

Hours later as we sat nibbling on pecan rolls and several varieties of cookies,we reflected on how great the day had been and even considered the possibility y ofmore frequent baking days. We would then notice that the kitchen sink was full ofdirt y bowls, pans, spoons and spatulas. Ingredient containers were everywhere.The floor needed sweeping, dishes needed washing, and tins needed packing.The walls were in desperate need of a good power wash. How DID battersplatters and flour get on the walls? And if that didn’t discourage more bakingdays, the look on my mother’s face surely did when she came into the kitchento cook the evening meal.

Quite a few years later, when I decided to begin this tradition with myyoung daughter, vivid memories came flooding back as I began Christmas bakingday from an adult perspective. We limited the number of varieties of cookiesto be baked in one session, and we cleaned up the mess as we went along.

I learned two lessons from baking day – the most fun and meaningfulthings in life are shared experiences, and never dump a big bowl fullof sifted flour into the batter bowl all at once.