Ordinarily, I did not do things like this. But once or twice a year something came over me, so I did it. I invited a houseful of children to come for a morning of cookie baking.
Why would I do that? Don’t know. Just did.
It started with just one child when my son was five or six. I called the mother of his little friend at school to invite him to bake Christmas goodies. Being much- less-than-astutely observant, I had no idea this boy had serious behavioral problems. But it didn’t take long for me to figure out that I was going to be in ‘way over my head for the whole cookie-baking morning.
Undeterred, I continued the cookie madness until it became a family tradition.
Over the years we invited friends, neighbors and kids of most sizes, shapes and temperaments. We always enjoyed it. Maybe it was the sugar; the large variety of sprinkles, icings and toppers; the aromas; the fact that I didn’t care how much flour they spilled or put in each other’s hair. Or maybe it was just being together in the kitchen for the best taste-testing ever! I’m not exactly sure. I just know that I kept repeating it, and the kids kept turning up to participate. There was a whole lot of baking going on.
I was prepared. I was loaded up with gigantor cookie sheets, a rolling pin, huge mixing bowls filled with cookie dough I had pre-mixed the night before, and an odd selection of cookie cutters. I didn’t concern myself with keeping the kitchen tidy (it would have been a losing battle anyway). I just let the children create their culinary masterpieces in “managed chaos” with an emphasis on fun.
We baked several varieties of sweets: Chocolate chip cookies (of course); sugar cookies rolled and cut into stars, Christmas trees, reindeer, angels, bunnies, diamonds, clubs, hearts and spades; gingerbread men with red cinnamon-candy eyes; lemon bars; pfeffernusses; almond crescents; peanut butter cookies with a Hershey’s kiss in the center.
After slathering on a thick layer of blue, green, yellow, or pink buttercream frosting, we sprinkled them liberally with red, green, white and powdered sugars; black jimmies; candy sprinkles; chocolate chips; silver balls; cinnamon red hots; pastel flower dots; licorice; and anything else riddled with sugar and empty calories.
Each child left with a box of cookies under his arm. They took home a dozen of each kind to share with their families.
There’s always one kid that comes to mind when I think of the “happy cookie times”. His name was John. He lived across the street from us. It was January — a “Snow Day,” and schools were closed. Their parents were working, so I invited John and his older sister to come over to bake cookies.
On his way home little John was balancing his box of cookies as he tried to slog through the icy ruts and drifts of snow that came up to his knees. That’s when his dog spotted him.
He was so happy to see John that he jumped, barked, licked and otherwise distracted him until the boy, the box and the baked goods were spread evenly across the slippery street. Of course once the dog smelled the cookies, he forgot all about John and started gobbling as fast as he could.
Watching this through our picture window, I called to my children to pack up another box of goodies for John and to help his sister get him safely into the house before the tears streaming down his face froze into icicles.
“At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God.
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:18-19 (NLT)