On Christmas Eve, millions of kids all over the world will be leaving out cookies and milk for Santa, and many will also provide a few carrots for his trusty reindeer.
Though my family did not do this when I was little, I’ve more than made up for it since. Any holiday tradition involving cookies is fine by me, and Santa deserves the very best. 🙂
Until I read A World of Cookies for Santa by M.E. Furman and Susan Gal (HMH, 2017), I didn’t know very much about Santa in the context of other cultures. As an egocentric American, my concept of “cookies and milk” was very generic — a few sugar cookies here, a gingersnap there, chocolate chip cookies everywhere. That’s understandable when you tend to think Santa belongs only to you.
Silly me, Santa belongs to everyone, and he enjoys lots of deliciously different treats (not all are cookies) as he travels hither and yon. Yes, he swigs a lot of milk, but he’s also able to wet his whistle with tea, beer, sparkling cider, eggnog, hot chocolate and wine. Lucky man!
“INSPIRE means, Seeing what you’ve done here fills me with energy and new thoughts and the desire to now try to see what I can do!” ~ Amy Krouse Rosenthal (One Smart Cookie: Bite-Size Lessons for the School Years and Beyond)
About ten years ago, I read my first Amy Krouse Rosenthalbook, her adult memoir Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. It spoke to me because I’m an alphabet freak, and I’d never seen anyone tell her life’s story in a series of quirky alphabetized entries, a free-flowing yet carefully curated non-linear celebration of simply being alive.
I loved Amy’s penchant for cataloging ideas, recalibrating time, pruning memory. She embraced spontaneity and serendipity, indulging an irrepressible passion for making, creating and connecting. In the playground of her brilliant mind, she made the muddy, crystal clear; the cliché, passé; the ordinary, extraordinary.
After reading her memoir, I looked forward to each of her children’s picture books. Like a fairy godmother, Amy could wave her intuitive magic wand and make time-worn concepts and storylines fresh, relevant, and fun. Her joy and heart were infectious, and she had an uncanny knack for imparting advice and wisdom with a light, whimsical touch.
About twenty-five years ago, I purchased a copy of Baby Bear’sBedtime Book, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Jane Dyer. As an avid teddy bear collector, I was mad for bear books and instantly fell in love with Goldie and Baby Bear. There was such warmth in Jane Dyer’s pictures, a quaint old-fashioned charm and innocence that made me feel safe and comforted.
I’ve been a Dyer fan ever since, swooning over her work in Piggins, Time for Bed, Animal Crackers, I Love You Like Crazycakes, Blue Moon Soup, the Little Brown Bearseries, and more recently, Oh My Baby, Little One, The House That’s Your Home, and All We Know. Sweet, but never cloying, gentle and endearing, her human and animal characters are always rendered with such love.
I want to inhabit her cozy interiors with their wainscoted walls, polka dot curtains and checked tablecloths, and befriend the adorable dogs, cats, bunnies and sheep dressed in human clothing.
Needless to say, I was over the moon when I saw Amy and Jane’s first COOKIE book. Two of the very people I’d admired for so long inthe same book! Double the goodness, double the joy! 🙂
Debut author Meg Fleming celebrates the love between parent and child in a series of endearing animal vignettes. Her spare, lyrical text — just four 3-word sentences for each animal pair — captures different ways parents express love for their little ones.
We first see a young bunny snatching a carrot from a garden, then running back to a waiting parent with it — a cheerful reunion that ends with them snuggling in their burrow.
I see you.
I miss you.
I hug you.
I kiss you.
Foxes play a game of hide and seek; bears chase, frolic in the grass, then pick apples; ducks swim, hop and cuddle; birds “sway” and “swing” before returning to the nest for a song. The book ends with a doe watching over her fawn as it encounters a human child, who has just picked berries with her mother.
Backward, turn backward, O Time in your flight;
Make me a child again just for tonight.”
~ Elizabeth Akers Allen
‘Tis the season for cookies, cookies, cookies, those crispy chewy crumbly tokens of love, sweet love ❤️.
If pies are the best part of Thanksgiving, then cookies are definitely the best part of Christmas. We all have our favorites — cookies we make for gifts, parties, exchanges, or just for ourselves (because we deserve it, right?). What will be on your cookie platter this year?
Hmmmm, let me guess — sugar cookies cut in the shapes of stars, bells, or candy canes? Or maybe Chocolate Crinkles, Snickerdoodles, Mexican Wedding Cakes, rich Butter Cookies or old fashioned Gingerbread? Oh, I know! Molasses Spice! Spritz! Raspberry Thumbprints! Pecan Shortbread, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Classic Chocolate Chip? Maybe you’re into Stained Glass Cookies, Coconut Macaroons, or (you saucy minx) Rum Balls! Oh ho! 🙂
Some of you may know we love talking about Presidential Food here in the Alphabet Soup kitchen.
Whether it’s polishing off a bowl of JFK’s clam chowder, whipping up a batch of George Washington’s hoecakes, or wrapping our lips around Barack Obama’s homemade chili, learning about our leaders’ favorite foods makes them more human and accessible.
I like associating Ronald Reagan with jelly beans, George Bush with pork rinds, Jimmy Carter with peanuts. But what of the first female presidential nominee?
I guess HillaryRodhamClinton can be summed up this way: she’s a hot pepper and a smart cookie. 🙂