Monday, December 19, 2011

The Danger Zone

"Do I smell cookies?"
It's baking day.

Every year I vow that I will not do it again--that I will go to the Pepperidge Farm Broken Cookie Outlet for my holiday treats, steal them from an orphanage, anything but go through this annual ordeal...but in the 365 days between, I forget and willingly sign up for another "big bake."

While I am, indeed, sitting here with a cookie and a cup of coffee, the ice pack pressed to my lower spine is shifting and I awoke with a head ache and a sugar hangover.

Here's the script for a standard holiday baking day...

Start with a clean, tidy kitchen.

Put on favorite retro Christmas music CD (the one without "Santa Baby") and, feeling like Martha Stewart right after she was sprung from the clink, assemble supplies and ingredients.

Feel in control for about five minutes.

Try to find Seth to pull out the marble pastry board that your mother gave you when you got married but he cannot be located. Learn later that he was in the garage, performing the all important pre-holiday task of organizing his hammers. 

Knowing you should not attempt to move this thing yourself, in the name of both expediency and martydom, lift it out of the closet yourself with a dramatic grunt. Acknowledge first twinge of pain.
"Give me those cookies, Iceman!"

Work begins routinely...

Singing along to your holiday CD, stop only to pet Buzzy and yell down to ask Seth, who has reappeared and put on his DVD of "Top Gun," whether he's gone deaf because the TV is so loud that you cannot enjoy " It's A Marshmallow World" by Dean Martin.

Remove first batch from oven and, despite some breakage, slide them good-naturedly from tray with spatula and admire. Taste. Continue.

Open fridge for more chilled dough and only curse moderately when bottle of Hoisin sauce leaps from shelf and opens on floor. Smell batch in oven burning while cleaning sauce from grout. Drop everything and remove cookies.

While not yet actually burned, they are "crisp." Remove from tray and, despite continued breakage and first wave of frustration, maintain composure.
"I will share my cookies with you"

Continue working. Interrupt rolling and cutting only with unsuccessful attempt to put brand new elastic Santa hat and little jingly collar on Buzzy.

Observe cookies accumulating on counter as lower back pain starts to build not unlike a flower bud, in one of those slow motion sequences, opens. Note that temper shortens in proportion to pain. 

Locate and take four Advil in pre-emptive strike.

Walk to front window and see neighbors strolling by. Envy their freedom as timer goes off indicating another batch is ready. Nearly fall on way back to kitchen trying to avoid tripping on -- very ironically -- Cookie, the cat who has waddled into your path. Ask her what she thinks she is doing and, since you're in the vicinity, ask Seth again why the TV is still so loud down there.

Ignore him when, in response, he demands to be addressed only as "Maverick" from now on.

Remove next batch and return to rolling and cutting. Slide next tray into oven and try again to convince Buzzy that a jingle collar is a good idea. Go to bathroom to wash wound and find bandaid.

Ask Buzzy, reproachfully, what is so disturbing about a little jingly collar. Seth wears his all the time.

Observe gratefully that you are almost done but when cookies break again when sliding off tray, let loose with a torrent of profanity that rouses Seth and draws him upstairs to see if you've cut off a finger.

Scream "I WISH I HAD!!" as loud as humanly possible and, as Buzzy runs away, ending the dream of seeing him in his new Santa hat at least for the time being, realize that since you have had your meltdown, baking day is now complete.
Mission accomplished.

Eat half of what you baked to the musical accompaniment of "Danger Zone" and the sound of Seth cheering.


  1. LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!

  2. This cheered me up today. It's kind of what happens at my house too.

  3. Top Gun is on my TV as I write this. Being a jet junkie, it's as close as I can get to a big rush at home without a plug in device making the scene.

    It's 4 Alleve, not Advil that'll do the job. And yes you can occasionally take that many w/o compromising your stomach. I've done it off and on for years.

    BTW- When you're done baking why don't you resurrect some old glasses from the 80's (the ones with the ginormous frames) and go be Charlie to his Maverick? Your Christmas present might come early. If you're lucky more than once.:)

    ho ho ho

  4. Baking is a great excuse for opening a bottle of Christmas bubbles... makes everything feel festive... you won't give a rat's rear if the cookies break (broken cookies have fewer calories anyway!).

  5. I am very glad to have been able to cheer you up, Josie. Thanks for the comment!

  6. How co-inky dinkal, Michele. And, trust me, if it's over the counter for pain, I have taken it. Alleve works for me sometimes...Advil others. Right now I am in a big Excedrin Migraine phase.

    As for being Charlie, wasn't she a lesbian?

  7. You are right, of course, janet...and, if you eat broken cookies (or anything) standing up,l it has no calories at all! XXOO

  8. Charlie wasn't a lesbian in that movie. After that I'm not sure. She was Amish at some point though.

    You could don a starched white cap and flip a light switch on and off, being a naughty Amish woman in need of discipline. You were talking about cookies though weren't you?

  9. Actually, she's a lesbian in real life! And I if I did any of these things, Seth would have me locked up for a very long time.

  10. I used to do the cookie day marathon. Now I do the 3-day cookie marathon, 2 types of cookies per day. My back can't take it. And neither can my kitchen. Add to that 2 new cats in the house, and we have mass hysteria.

    The cookies came out pretty damn good this year though. I even ventured into new territory, recruiting my sister to help me make my mom's nut cups. Mmmm, nut cups.

    I also did 2 no-bake cookies this year. No-bake is the way to go! Who knew!?

    I've also made a new rule of letting the husband taste test most and then popping the rest straight into the freezer until they're needed. My waistline does not need them hanging around in all their delicious glory.

    On the 25, I shall feast! Maybe I'll just eat cookies ALL DAY.

    If I don't talk to you before, have a wonderful holiday, Susan! I hope you have a wonderful day with Seth and the boys.

  11. Alicia! I actually divided the baking into multiple days but the first day was the most painful and I am still suffering. If you have any delish no-bakers, I am very interested.

    I,too, enlist the husband to taste test and do not sample, savingthe splurge for Christmas day. On that day , there is nothing too salty, sweet or rich.

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your beautiful family. The boys are both home and I can't keep my hands off them. Happy, merry, healthy to all!