At a very young age, along with my older sisters and cousins, I made Christmas cookies with our grandmother. She had a special recipe that my entire, extended, enormous family still uses though she died many years ago (1997) at the bright age of 100. I still see her hands rolling the dough, patiently helping me place the cutters, the kids pouring the sparkles all over everywhere—and can smell that hint of burned sugar. Making the cookies meant Christmas was here.
Mamie and Mickey at the edge of Carnegie Lake, Princeton
This year, however, I broke the tradition. Livia decided she wanted to make more elaborate cookies, cookies we would paint and glaze and color and luster dust and pipe and flood and blow with sanding sugar—terms I’d never heard of. She found this cookbook:
So we got to work Saturday afternoon and worked into the evening,
trying to replicate the pictures in the book.
With all the flooded icing and sugars, I wondered who’d ever want to eat them.
Though this art will take many years to master, I was wrong about who’d want to eat them. Both the sugar and gingerbread cookies were delicious—just as good, or almost, as Mamie’s.