It's a chilly December night
My brother and I are already ready
With our two trays, parchment paper
Festive pajamas, his with a gingerbread man
Mine with snowflakes
And a bit of Christmas spirit
Made stronger by the flickering Christmas tree
The tree that inspired our holiday banter
Classic or colored lights?
I see effects of this banter
In the different ways
We make holiday treats
I stick to classic, maybe a little old-fashioned
Yet experimental shapes
He likes to put a little color
In each morsel
Less of the shape, more of the content
Vibrant hues like in Pillsbury Christmas cookies
But clear in their homemade quality.
There's warm, slightly buttery, yet powdery dough
Underneath my fingers
Each imprint I make
Creates little depressions in the dough.
It looks like the moon up close
With its craters and rusty white color
It is imperfectly perfect
Just like my technique.
My mother corrects my technique
And lends me her expertise
Learned, but also from instinct
Structured knowledge from her handwritten recipes
While free form, taking any shape
Pastry bags create crisp, elegant stripes
Like those of homemade churros from my childhood
The satisfying stamping of cookie cutters
Reveals stars, Christmas trees, gingerbread men, and ornaments.
I inhale the now-corrected, shaped dough
Taking in the scents
Formerly enclosed within
Now rising slowly
A mixture of sweet, spicy, and slightly nutty
Sugar, while a staple, is not the dominating force
It is characterized instead by subtle spices
That keep me reaching for more.
Kneading is a personal interaction
With the ingredients I use
I have grown fond of the cold nights
Making a creation
From the magic of my own hands
Or the satisfying swoosh of a mixer
A more mechanical encounter
But equally as magical
In mixing and producing a concoction.
As I put our creations into the oven
I let them sleep
For when they wake up
I know we will eat them right off the tray
Even before they are ready to decorate.