Pistol Packin' Presbytera

Presbytera, in the Greek culture, is the wife of the Father, or parish priest.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas Cookies Across the Generations

I can remember my mother baking Christmas cookies -- my most vivid memory is of the Springerle drying overnight on the ironing board. I make Springerle now too although I allow mine to dry overnight right on the cookies sheet. I would love to show you a picture of these hard anise cookies but alas, they have gone the way of most all of the cookies....they are consumed!

Another family favorite is Aunt Gerty's Ice Box Cookies. Here is a picture of the recipe written in my mother's hand. Aunt Gerty was actually my Great Aunt Gerty, sister to my maternal grandmother. To me she was always a very frail short woman who had a ready smile and hug whenever we would visit. She and another maiden aunt, Aunt Della, lived with my Grandmother so when we visited Grandma, we also visited Aunt Gerty and Aunt Della. The recipe dates from the days of iceboxes -- way before my time : ) These are among the favorite cookies of my sons. If you look closely at the ratio of sugar (3 cups) to flour (4 cups) I think you'll get an idea of why they are popular. To my grandchildren, these would be Great-great-great-Aunt Gerty's Ice Box Cookies.

When we first got married, my dear sister-in-law, Mickee and I got together to bake Christmas cookies. I know my mother-in-law was there and probably one or two other sisters of my husband. We played carols on the stereo (yes, it was a stereo then), baked and split a treasure trove of cookie cutters. That tradition continues today although now I am baking with my daughters-in-law and their children. Here they are gathered around the KitchenAid mixer as we start our 2 day marathon cookie baking extravaganza. We ended up baking over 60 dozen cookies. They were split between our 3 homes, our head Pastor, several neighbors and plates for parties we would be attending.

My mother-in-law joined us this year and slept for the first several hours....I have a similar picture of her son, my dear husband, in the same pose : ) After her rest, she did enjoy lunch with us and the hustle and bustle of her great grandchildren playing under foot. Of course, she also enjoyed sampling the many kinds of cookies.

Here are some of the cookies which have survived this long. Great Aunt Gerty's cookies are in the very center of the plate. If you stop by, I just might let you taste one : )

Friday, December 01, 2006

Grandmas' Delight

Notice that the title of this blog entry is in the plural. This past week, Lily, Marina and I took a little trip to pick up Naomi and Saranita from South Bend. They went there for Thanksgiving but Nick had to return home to work. His girls stayed a little longer visiting Oma and Opa Rhein. Before we came back to Cleveland, we took the opportunity to take a Grandmother pic : ) Needless to say, Saranita was never in want for someone to hold her. In addition to one mother, two grandmothers and two cousins, she also had her Godmother, Tante Maggie and her Godfather, Unkle Nat all in attendance.

She is interacting more when she is awake and she rewarded me with this wonderful smile!

Here she is thoroughly enraptured with whatever Marina is saying to her. Of course, Marina is thoroughly enraptured with holding her dear cousin.

My three Granddaughters are beautiful together, aren't they? They are (some of) the joy of my life!

Hello December

December arrives here in Cleveland with quite a mix of weather. On the way to exercise this morning it was gently raining and 54 degrees. 2 hours later I headed over to chauffeur my newest grandbaby to her 2 month checkup and the sun was shining and the skies were blue. On the way to the doctors, the wind kicked up and almost blew us into the building. An hour later on our way home, it was hailing. The wind continued to race and rock the van. Now the temperature has plummeted and I am just waiting for the snow : )

My December mug was given to me by my mother-in-law who is always on the look out for things with cats so she can give me the purrfect gift. She certainly did with this one. My seasonal cup is covered with cat-angels and many, many stars. It's also very tall to hold a double shot of coffee on cold December days.