The recipe begins –
Sift flower on table. Add powder. Make a hole in the middle.
Put sugar, slightly beaten eggs, water and salt in the hole.
Cut the cold butter and add it to the flour.
I love this recipe because it demands all of me to be involved. No bowls are needed and later in the recipe, I am elbow deep kneading the mess together on my table. I can imagine my Swiss ancestors doing the same and I feel a connection to the past. When it comes time to roll out the dough, I use my grandmother’s rolling pin. She used it for over 75 years worth of celebrations and sorrows. My buttery fingers hold the same handles and we are for a moment together again. Sometimes I can hear her say, “Ja, Ja und den vee make sure za dough isn’t too thick.” By the time I knew my grandmother, she spoke neither English nor the Swiss German from her childhood. Instead, it was a jumbled mix of both languages that she whispered in a sing-song manner. Most of the time, I guessed what she was telling me.
December is usually a time when things slow down at work. This year it was as though everything sped up. I was busier than ever and still traveling up until last Friday. I am exhausted and my family noting my frazzled existence put it all into perspective for me. “Don’t bother to show up for Christmas without the cookies.” Colleen, her daughters and even my Dad made this statement to me separately and in their own way. The cookies they want are chocolate covered macaroons and Confi Tortes which are a Linzer torte and the recipe I mention above. I laughed when they said it but will admit that it gave me the focus I needed. For the past two days, I’ve baked and dipped nearly 150 cookies. I leave tomorrow for my Dad’s house now that I have the “goods” needed for admission!
I want to wish all of you celebrating Christmas a Merry one. Safe travels to all and have fun! I’ll be back before the New Year with stories. I have stories. For now, sit back and enjoy a cookie.