I am grateful for little bits of inspiration, little things that inspire hope.
So many of my friends have recently posted photos of their holiday baking exploits with their children. All kinds of holiday cookies and cheery faces and stubby little hands covered with icing or sprinkles or flour. I want so badly to be in their number, but I’m not. I can’t. It’s so hard to believe that it will be almost another two years before we have a child who’s old enough to participate in those kinds of activities. Two more years, when his or her older sister should be turning four. Shit.
But today, I was standing in line at Whole Foods and this magazine caught my eye. It was America’s Test Kitchen’s Holiday Cookies recipe book. Before this summer, I had never heard of America’s Test Kitchen. But in June, my dear friend Megan (with whom we’d visited in Chicago about a month before Hudson died, when they caught our girl on this sweet video) came down for a weekend visit and brought with her one of their other magazine-cookbooks, from which she made the most delicious browned butter chocolate chip cookies. Megan loves to cook and bake. This is a girl who used her dorm room toaster oven to bake her boyfriend (now husband) cookies for Valentine’s Day. She is hard core. And she is therefore to be trusted in matters of cooking and baking.
When I first saw this magazine on the stand in line today, I looked away without thinking twice about it. And then I looked back. I saw HOLIDAY COOKIES in big block letters on the front. And then I looked closer and saw the America’s Test Kitchen logo. “Hmm… Megan would approve,” I thought. I picked it up and started thumbing through it. Just looking at the pictures made me feel a little bit festive.
It is so hard during these first holidays without our sweet girl to imagine there ever being a time again when we will feel any joy at all between October and January. But when I looked through this cookbook, I started thinking about Christmases in the future, when I will have children around to bake with. When I’ll have kids fighting over who gets to lick the bowl (but no raw eggs—what were our parents thinking?). When I’ll have loads of pictures of silly kids pouring too many sprinkles on their cookies or eating them before they get decorated.
I bought the cookbook. When I got home, I opened the front cover to read from the beginning. Guess what the first recipe was?
Chocolate Turtle Cookies. When the time comes, I think we’ll start with those.