Tomorrow afternoon, I plan on baking cookies -- and Debby has agreed to be my sous chef. It's all part of my annual celebration of Chrismanukah.
For years, I've made cookies at this time of year, and now, the season wouldn't be complete without them. The association started in high school -- either my junior or senior year. Whenever it was, it involved boredom and a decision by my best friend that we just needed to do something. (Of course, this same kind of boredom involved us planning a McDonald's kids birthday party for her for her 18th birthday, and making goodie bags for her 20th birthday that had kids' toy plastic sherriff's badges.) I don't even remember what kind of cookies we made, but it started a tradition: Baking cookies and watching The Life of Brian.
Our freshman year of college, we hung out in my parents' kitchen and did the same thing. That year, my mom helped us, and we made shaped sugar cookies. Unfortunately, the little men and women shapes kept breaking -- so we put the body parts on in, uh, interesting ways. (Depending on the batch, they were x-rated or horror movie victims.) From then on, my siblings and my mom were involved, too.
One year, when I was in law school, we found a hippo cookie cutter and made "Happy Hannukkah Hippos" -- iced gray, of course, with blue lettering. (We couldn't actually fit the whole "Happy Hannukkah Hippo" on each cookie, so we abbreviated them "H.H.H.") My best friend's now-husband thought we were insane (but he married her anyway).
One of the sad things about moving away from everyone was the loss of the tradition. Still, I usually bake cookies to take to holiday parties. And two winters ago, for New Year's, I went to go visit my best friend and her husband in New Orleans where we spent a little bit of time baking.
Look back here tomorrow, where I'll post our recipes.