Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Proving Once & For All That I Am Your Grandmother



And As Your Grandma, I Get To Rant About Things Which Are Absolutely None of My Business, Anyway

As I have mentioned before, I don't watch TV. Before my visit home at Thanksgiving, I was able to say with complete sincerity that I had not watched TV since the presidential elections.

The result of all this not-watching-of-tv is that I am like your extraterrestrial cousin when the tv is on: it is all weird, and fascinating, and I cannot help but comment upon the unusual customs of people on planet television, usually out loud, usually at the crucial moment. Okay, I'm not that bad, but I do find certain things which others may take for granted both novel and horrifying:

Blonde-haired mom and daughter in kitchen. Everything soft yellows and pinks. Girl kneeling on a chair. It's the holidays, everyone's in dresses and bows. Mixing bowls, cookie sheets. Mom opens a small box, and with the help of her daughter, peels pre-cut trees and other festive shapes off a sheet of pre-made cookie dough. Together, they place the shapes onto the cookie sheet, and put them in the oven to bake. You can almost smell the warm, homey aroma filling their kitchen. Voiceover about holiday memories.

Um, what holiday memories? I realize time spent with your young ones is precious, and the activity itself may not be that important, but do you really think the kids are going to sit around reminiscing about the 45 seconds they spent peeling pre-cut, ready-to-bake Christmas cookies from the packaging? (The ones I saw advertised were slightly different from these Pillsbury cookies but I can't remember the brand or product name (effective ad, huh?). Anyway, same idea).

I know baking is not everyone's thing these days, and that's perfectly okay with me. But why try to create a "memory" around something you don't enjoy and aren't good at, by purchasing some product? Baking cookies isn't actually all that difficult, time-consuming, or expensive (instructions below), so if you really want to give your kids this memory, why not buy the stuff and try? Worst thing that will happen is the cookies will melt/burn/taste like spinach/look really funny, and if you ask me, that's going to make for much more interesting holiday memories, and your kids will remember that you were willing to try and fail spectacularly for their sake. Which is a good thing for them to see (not to mention that you can have the kiddos help make the dough and learn all kinds of thing about reading recipes, measuring, and finding their way around a kitchen).

Or you could find another parent with kids your age who DOES like baking, and offer to trade kids: one weekend, s/he takes all the kids and does the baking thing while you go shopping, the next weekend, you take all the kids and do some other holiday-themed thing that you enjoy and have a knack for while s/he goes shopping. Believe me, your kids will enjoy the change in routine, the cookies will come out good, you'll find something to do with the kids that is more meaningful than faking a "Christmas cookies memory," and you'll both get your shopping done.

Or for heaven's sake, if you don't want to make cookie dough from scratch, go ahead and buy the pre-made stuff, but at least allow your child to cut out the cookies him/herself - buy 3 or 4 cookie cutters and let them choose to make 22 trees and no angels, or to make the gingerbread sister and brother hold hands, or whatever their creative little minds might come up with. I suppose the company thinks that letting the kids squeeze pre-colored frosting out of little soy sauce packages is enough of an opportunity for creativity, but if you look around Pillsbury's site you will find other cookies that come with little "frosting stickers" - I can't think of a better way to describe them - that you just peel off and place on the cookies.... Anyway, I find the whole thing alternately silly and disturbing, depending on how seriously I take it as a commentary on modern life.

Next post: my mom's sugar cookie recipe.

5 Comments:

Blogger posthipchick said...

I totally agree. I mean, you can't whip together a little butter, sugar and flour and put it in the oven? Really?

9:28 PM  
Blogger Lady Strathconn said...

These are the sad pathetic little cookies to which you refer. They don't even taste very good (my mom made them).

I will admit that sometimes I grab the break and bake cookies (no kids at Chez Strathconn), but I do also make a mean batch of oatmeal cookies and chocolate chips laced with cinnamon.

I can't wait for your mom's recipe!

10:14 PM  
Blogger bev said...

Ah...reminds me of a similar discussion I had with my sister in law regarding Fettucine Al Alfredo. Her contention: it's easier to whip together the salt and fake garlic stuff from the "mix." My contention (after I picked myself up from the floor after the realization that there was an Alfredo "mix;") it takes longer to boil the noodles than it does to whip together the cream, butter and parmesan to make the sauce, so why not make it from scratch?

She was shocked that I even knew what went into the recipe.

I'd have a similar discussion with her about made-from-scratch biscuits versus mixes, but I think that'll just make me sound crazy.

Our Christmas cut-out cookies included hearts and a whale...I think. And sprinkles. Lots and lots and lots and LOTS of sprinkles.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Muriel said...

We don't have precut holiday cookie dough over here.
I don't have any kids,but friends of mine that have 2 always stay with me the week before Christmas. It's become a tradition for the kids and me to bake Christmas cookies from scratch and use the cookie cutters they choose for the shapes. I wouldn't imagine it any other way.
Its weird how our society seems to lead us away from traditions in an effort to sell us standardized, commercial products.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

Yes, ma'am!

The kicker for me was when Toll House developed already formed cookie dough balls that could go straight from the fridge/freezer to the oven. What? It's too much work now to get out a knife and *slice* yourself a pre-fab cookie?

Don't get me started!

1:00 PM  

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