Saturday, December 30, 2006
A Blue Christmas
If I had to name my favorite holiday, Christmas would not be it. Maybe it’s the busloads of tourists that invade Rockefeller Center clogging up already congested streets. Or perhaps it is the flocks of fierce and furious shoppers frantic to find a last minute present for Aunt Martha. I like giving presents to my friends like everyone else, I just don’t like feeling obligated to.
As you might have guessed, Thanksgiving is my preferred holiday, because it is a day entirely dedicated to food; the only presents given are ones that will soon to be consumed. Because of my Holiday Preference, Christmas plans tend to fall by the waist side. One year I went out to Indian Food, another I went out to a bar. Last year I went to the movies, a profane American custom in my mother’s opinion.
This year my roommate and I had decided that we would have a little Christmas Eve get-together at our place, but as the Eve drew nearer we were loosing our enthusiasm. Fifty-five degree weather does little to inspired holiday cheer, besides we would have to clean the apartment, and I would have to cook.
It was two days before Christmas and though I was setting out to attempt, for the first time, my mother’s Gingerbread recipe, I was not feeling the spirit. I put the butter, molasses, and spices in a saucepan to melt slowly on the stovetop and the mixture began to fill the apartment with a sweet and gingery scent. I closed my eyes, and inhaled taking in the aroma of my childhood. As I exhaled I released a euphoric sigh and when I opened up my eyes my roommate was standing before me. “ Are you familiar with Elks Candy Store on the Upper east side?” she asked me, her eyes full of warning. “Of course, my mother would get our ginger bread house there every year when I was growing up. She modeled her own recipe after theirs. Why?” I asked. “ Well apparently they went out of business.”
The entire day was one enormous blur of sugar, eggs, butter, and spice. I made Brownies filled with chestnut puree, and decorated the ginger bread meticulously using pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and black caraway seeds.
There were ginger bread boys, girls, and flowers, I even made gingerbread maple leafs for a Canadian Friend of mine. By the end of the day I was exhausted, covered in icing, and though I was more than a little blue about the closing of Elk’s Candy Store, it was finally beginning to feel like Christmas.