My Mother was a fabulous baker. In an attempt to keep her here with us, to keep her lovely visions of Christmas alive, I have stepped into her apron and kitchen, dug through her massive collection of recipes and wielded her wooden spoons.
To almost no avail.
The spicy rocks are mud pies. The gingerbread bars are under done. The stollen is a complete disaster, with its 6 hour intensive effort and all 5 loaves in the trash. The singular saving grace are the thumbprints, as yet unfrosted because that part makes me nervous.
There have been tears and laughter and texting with a culinarily-superior cousin for advice. There have been lessons learned; do not over blend the cookie dough, no 2 ovens are the same, yeast is ruined if dissolved in water above 110 degrees. And my love for raw batter has remained unchanged since childhood, yet my body can no longer process such gluttonous intake.
There may be the requested rum balls still to come. They require no oven, so I cling to slim hope they pass muster. Aside from them, I am done. Spare time has run out and I have had enough success at failure for one season.
The past is truly the past and the sweetness of memories will have to do. How lucky am I to have so many of them with a Mother who loved to bake.