Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Doughy Truth - A Christmas Story by Diane Bator

The Doughy Truth

            The gingerbread dough was too dry and crumbly that year, which hadn't happened in all my years of cookie baking, at least not with my gingerbread, and it made me crazy. Every time I'd pick up a chunk to knead velvety smooth, it fell apart in my hands then litter the table with crumbs. 
            I thought I'd followed the directions explicitly just as I did every year before we'd moved two thousand miles from "home". I blended the molasses, sugar, water and shortening together before adding the flour, baking soda and spices. I worked it into a huge cracking ball of over-floured dough, which should have been my first clue there was something not quite right, before covering the dough with plastic and stashing it in the fridge overnight. Just like every other year. Filled with dread, I decided it might turn out once the dough sat for a while.
            In the morning, I worked the could dough and fretted over the crumbles falling out of my hands. I willed the dough to take on the same smooth texture as years past so the boys could make the cookies they had bugged me about for days. I didn't want to let them down now.
            Despite the technical difficulties, three smiling faces perched around the our glass-topped table to happily cut snowmen, teddy bears and Christmas trees. The dry, cracking cookie dough did little to dampened their determination or their enthusiasm.
            I shook my head, amazed at their reaction then realized it wasn't the dough that made this the fun activity and I'd worried all night for nothing. The dough was merely the magnet that drew us all together. My three boys were just as happy with crusty, stubborn dough as they would have been if it was as velvety smooth as usual.
            They were baking cookies with me.
            Of course, the fact we'd all ended up covered in flour and gingerbread crumbs only made things that much more festive. Their laughter and cheer came from knowing most of their creations would be given to friends and teachers. Each cookie, no matter how imperfect, was filled with our love and the gratitude of being blessed for all that we have. Each other.
            While we are thousands of miles from our families each Christmas, we are constantly surrounded by people who love us and who have become as close as family over the years. Those same people who receive our cookies and homemade treats in their packages will know they were made by hands and hearts that care and are grateful for their presence in our lives.

            They are truly the greatest gifts we could ever receive.
Merry Christmas to All....