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We canceled Christmas Eve dinner for we weren’t really hungry. Throughout the day afternoon we nibbled on imperial tidbits to the point we were crapulous. [1] Not even a long dog-walk to see the lights helped create an appetite. We disassembled the menu, placing some things for Christmas Breakfast and some other things went to join Christmas Dinner and what items were freezable went into cryogenics.  Although I had planned the dinner for weeks, this cancelation really wasn’t a disappointment. It feels good knowing we can do as we please and not feel pressured into any ‘should’ statements. 

Although we canceled dinner I do want a piece of that cake I made this afternoon for Baby Jesus. This year’s Geburstag Kuchen is a gingerbread cake from a recipe circa 1750. It is served warm with some cream on top. [3]

It is only 7PM yet it feels much later. Fifty may be the new thirty but 9PM is the new midnight. Once upon a time I would stay up with excitement to attend midnight mass. Ah youth! I suspect we will soon snerdle with dreams of sugar plums etc. and wait for Santa or somebody like him. [3]

There isn’t really anything to do between now and bedtime so I am doing that rarity of events: sitting still and not doing nuttin’. Oh the joy! All is calm and all is bright. I am sitting in the dark with the glow of several burning candles in sight. I am by myself yet I don’t feel alone. My mind is presently circulating the world Kris Kringle-like dropping in on all my friends and family wishing them a Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year. I don’t need anything else. 

I wish Spo-fans near and far a quiet lovely Christmas. May this day and the days to come be marvelous for you.


[1]  Someone made meatballs; we ate them with relish. 

[2] I hear many churches no longer do midnight mass as the attendance is down. The oldsters can’t do it and the youngsters don’t want to. 

[3] Add some cognac and that’s all the Christmas eve victuals I want  hohoho.  

[4 ] Snerdle is a verb meaning to wrap up cosily in bed.

Many of the holiday food traditions for Spos originate with my maternal great mother Eloise. Conversations via FB with my first, second, and third cousins revealed many of us are doing  the same cookie called an “S” cookies. It is a simple cookie; it is easy to make, it not too cloying, and with simple good flavor – like my men.  However whenever I make S cookies they don’t seem to come out as well as Mother’s. For years I attributed this to lack of maternal magic – until this morning. I asked Father to send me her recipe as I was suspicious something wasn’t right.  He sent it and my worse fears were realized. In my version of the recipe there are three – count’em – three! – sizable errors in measurements. On the positive, this explains why mine don’t work so well and the matter is easily corrected.  Oh the relief.

On the other hand ‘why’ my copy is corrupt is a dark and sinister question. Rationalists in the house think I merely copied the recipe wrong.  I wonder if Mother purposely gave me false information so I would have to rely on her to provide proper cookies. Another explanation: the gremlins who rearrange my perfectly edited blog entries after I press the publish button also rewrite my recipe cards in their spare time. 

This is a humble reminder that recipe measurements are there for a reason: they make for the best turnout. When cooking something from a recipe I often want to wing it and/or cut corners. As Rocky says to Bullwinke this trick never works. Tomorrow when I make “S” cookies I will follow Mother’s recipe to the letter.  

Even more humbling than the lesson to follow the directions is the axiom Mother Knows Best. 

“S” cookies – the precise recipe no rubbish version. 

1/3 cup margarine **

1 and 1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 Tablespoons  cinnamon

2 and 1/2 cups of flour

1/2 Tablespoon of brandy

3 large eggs

Rub butter** into sugar; add eggs, brandy, and the dry ingredients (flour; baking powder; cinnamon).  The dough will be firm. Flour your hands and make small dough-balls. Roll these into small fingers and curve them into S forms . Lay them on an un-greased baking sheet.  Bake @ 375 degrees for 7 minutes.


**Despite what I wrote, I am going to use butter. I can’t imagine great grandmother at the turn of the 20th century had/used margarine. Later into the recipe it says rub butter not margarine.  I will tell you how it comes out. 


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December 2018

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018