Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Operation Christmas Cookie Hell

So, it occurs to me that we know only one neighbor near the country house and that it's about time we met the people around us. The country is a quiet, desolate, dangerous, wild animal-dwelling place. I need re-enforcements.

So, if I'm going to scream for almighty help when a crazed, rabid raccoon corners me in the garage and tries to eat my left ovary for a snack, I want people to come running. Best to get on the neighbors good side from the get-go. Lest someone need to stand over my withering, blood-spurting body and give me CPR as I utter my last, choked words through all the gurgling in my throat, "My husband made me...buy this...damned c-c-country house".

Thus, Operation Christmas Cookie. An effort to woo my new neighbors.

This strategic operation also doubles as a project with the kids. And what a project it is. Making Christmas cookies is an unendurable act of torture. The CIA should retire that tiresome water boarding they do and focus on making convicted terrorists make dough, let it set, roll it out, cut the cookie shapes, decorate with sprinkles, bake and then, make scratch frosting, after they've been forced to go to five supermarkets searching desperately for the ever-illusive mernegue powder, and then delicately drizzle said frosting on the cookies, so that the little trees look they have wafts of snow on their branches.

You want these guys to give up Bin Laden? Well, I have four words for you: HOMEMADE CHRISTMAS COOKIE HELL.

That said, the end product turned out pretty great. But still, not so great as to justify all that work. You bakers out there, I am in awe of you. Really.

And we made labels.

And bought pretty boxes.

And pasted the labels on.

See? This stuff is grueling. I have no idea how Martha Stewart does this.

I packed up the kids and the boxes into the red wagon and we went house to house offering strangers our cookies and begging them to call 911 if ever they hear screaming from inside our house.

This whole endeavor, this wrestling with dough and sprinkles, cost me, like 36 hours of my life. And I still have six mounds of dough in the fridge, ready to be fashioned into my next big idea - which sounded pretty good when I dreamed it up, but now seems like driving hot wooden spikes through my eyeballs and into my brain - which is, gifts of cold, hard dough in wax paper, tied up with ribbon like a tootsie roll, with packets of sprinkles and little Xmas cookie cutters.

I am a glutton for punishment.

xo YM

PS: If you get a chance, head over to visit the very talented Jennifer Perrillo and donate to her cookie campaign to end childhood hunger, "The 12 Days of Sharing Virtual Cookie Jar". Here's her post on what inspired her to get the cookie jar started and how you can participate. Although I haven't gotten a chance to meet her yet, Jennie's reputation is golden in these parts and if she's involved, it's a good cause. Also, there is still time to post your own cookie recipe and help get the word out.



Unplanned Cooking said...

I wish I were your neighbor.

MrsWheelbarrow said...

I think your cookies look great. I never do cut out cookies - they are so much harder than they seem to be. Thumbprint cookies are really easy to make, and a great way to use up that extra sugar cookie dough. Kids love to make them, esp. when you press a hershey's kiss into the thumbprint. Happy Holidays.

Anonymous said...

That's why I don't bake!! ha ha - I can just imagine you trying to decorate the cookies wondering what you got yourself into. They do look delicious though and bet the girls had a ball. You're such a good mom. xxRita

Cheryl Arkison said...

Your gift idea with the remaining dough really seems like a way to share the hell. Very smart.

Lauren said...

Seriously, you can move in next to me anytime. Did the girls enjoy it?

The Yummy Mummy said...

Mrs. Wheelbarrow - thumbprint cookies were, as you suggested, easy and delicious, and all the extra Hershey Kiss eating was a nice bonus. Next time maybe you could make that suggestion, you know, before I actually start baking :)

Cheryl - I read your comment on my phone in Central Park and burst out laughing. Some jogger running by thought I was cracking myself up. Gave me a weird look. Let's not be so clever in comments, kay? :)

Lauren - The girls have been having a blast. They have been so excited that there seems to be an endless supply of dough coming forth from the fridge. Edie is actually quite talented and proficient at cookie making. She is relentless and focused and can wield a cookie cutter like no one's business. It's been lovely to watch her excel at it.

That said, Lucy just likes to eat the raw dough and make "sculptures" of people out of it. She is also not above hurling it across the kitchen, screaming "Bombs away!" I don't see her joining "Ace of Cakes" very soon.

I'm glad we did it, but I still want to impale myself on a cookie cutter and end it all.

Warner (aka ntsc) said...

My wife enjoys making Xmas cookies, although as we now have a diabetic grand-nephew there were not as many as in years past. They also disappeared while he was here and we didn't send a package home with them.

This is probably not good for his older sister.

RecipeGirl said...

Love the story- we do the same in our neighborhood w/ the wagon delivery method :) How did your neighbors react? Were they delighted with your cookies??

The Yummy Mummy said...

Recipe Girl - You know, it was amazing. People had been wondering what was happening with the house and who was gonna be there, so it made the neighbors feel more at ease to know what was happening. We also met some very cool people NYC/weekenders that we hit it off with immediately and will hook up with over the holidays.

Also, our next door neighbor is this old man, Mr. Parker, who admitted to us in the first 5 minutes of conversation that his wife had died of cancer and he was quite lonely. And the woman two doors down, Mrs. Eastland, also is a widow and lives alone.

That made me feel more resolved about sending dinner over when we are there for the weekends and extending an invitation for our holiday celebrations, so no one is alone on Christmas. I wouldn't have known that had we not done this little exercise.

I already feel more at home there..

Winnie said...

I'm here for the first time and I have already fallen in love with your blog. Love your voice. Great story. Your kids are adorable and your cookies look great...I'll be back again soon!

molly said...

Oh, man, I am laughing through my tears. I am RIGHT THERE, RIGHT NOW, right down to cookies done but not packaged, labels waiting to be printed, and radio flyer needing to be excavated in the (twelve degree) garage. Yeah, complete with that unrolled dough. Best, Molly