Christmas memories continue, and up next is Emily’s dad with a story that revolves around this (vintage!) tin!
My Grandpa (Nana’s father) made Chrabeli cookies (aka swiss anise crescent cookies) and springerle. My favorite were the anise cookies. They always came at Christmas – I remember them coming before Aunt Nancy was born and I got a big Texaco fuel truck. Aunt Molly got a cardboard kitchen that still makes my dad swear at how hard it was to put together. But Grandma and Grandpa were always there, it seemed, and he did the baking. Pfeffernuesse is made with a patterned roller so the tops have different designs, while anise have a puff top. Neither were like any cookie you get in the store. It was something to look forward to, and I’m really happy that Molly and Nana will make these from time to time. Nana, of course, makes those chocolate sugar cookies which are awesome but those weren’t around when I was little. I was thinking about all of this on Sunday when it was cold and I was busy all afternoon making chicken n dumplings and homemade chili that when I think of a warm kitchen, it’s always Grandma’s that I think of. Grandma and Grandpa ate different stuff (old world foods) and so their kitchen always smelled different, warm and inviting. I think our kitchen at home is more like their’s. I remember Grandma making rhubarb pie in her kitchen in Decatur. It was my first experience with rhubarb. I remember picking blueberries (or was it blackberries?) by the side of the road with a metal pail and her making pie or cobbler. That was a summer, not Christmas…
So back to Christmas and a memory – When my cousins got older, they took turns coming with G&G. John, being the oldest was first. Santa left a slot car track under the tree and I just knew that was a big boy toy so it must be for John. John, of course, was old enough to know Santa personally, if you know what I mean, so he knew it was for me. It took some convincing to get me to accept it. That was a fun toy.
Those cookies, though, were special Christmas cookies. The cookies were always kept in tall cylindrical tan colored saltine tins. You had to open each one to find the cookies you liked. they made lots of noise when the lids came off, so you could never sneak cookies. I guess you could eat them whenever, but they will always mean warm kitchens on cold days and the smell of a fresh cut pine tree awaiting decoration. I just hope they knew how much I loved them. And how much I miss them.
Thanks so much to Jeff for sharing his Christmas memory with us! Those cookies sound DELICIOUS!