make their grandmother’s family cookie recipe in the early 1990s.
December sets me thinking about the sweet smells from my mom’s kitchen on chilly Midwest winter days. Mom really didn’t like to cook, she told me in her later years, but with six kids and a husband, it went with the job. So she tied on the apron and stirred up dinner — no grumbling.
One kitchen activity she did enjoy was Christmas baking. She had cookie recipes passed down from her mother and grandmother (Irish and German) that she made with love and remembrance. She savored having her kids all around her in the kitchen, helping spread the icing and toss the sprinkles.
It was a holiday ritual that I remember fondly.
Now that mom is gone and our families have scattered around the country, making or inheriting new holiday rituals, my husband and I often find ourselves on our own, eager to mix memories of the past with experiences of today.
His family is Catholic, mine is Protestant and with friends from numerous faiths (or of no faith) and cultures, the holidays are often a colorful confetti mix of foods and activities. We’ve seen or done everything from Hanukkah lights to midnight Mass; from roast pork to the feast of the seven fishes; from candlelight caroling to long walks on the beach at sunrise.
All are part of some family’s tradition and all are worth experiencing, sharing and celebrating.
I have sampled foods from other cultures, cradled babies that do not look like me and observed the prayers of others. Each of these experiences has made my life richer.
So, from all of us at The Coastal Star, we wish you a December filled with fond tradition, a wealth of new experiences and at least one cookie passed down from a recipe written long ago and frosted with love.
— Mary Kate Leming,