• Emily Neilson

Christma(chine) in the Kitchen

Pardon the pun or the blasphemy, but that's the only way I knew how to describe myself in the kitchen today: a Christmas machine, abbreviated to Christma(chine). Here's why:

At 6:05 a.m. my alarm went off in the deepest of vacation darknesses, confusing the dogs and the Camera Man, so I could go to the store – early. I only needed a few, critical vitals: non-dairy yogurt; mushrooms.

To go to the grocery store in the dawn hours is kind of nostalgic, a trip down memory lane of sorts to pre-pandemic shopping. There were some other shoppers, but not many, and cheerful music played overhead. The store felt big, empty, shiny, and fresh. I found the vitals, and added a few more: baking potatoes; bag of carrots.

Once home, I sipped my coffee (which brewed during my trip, good planning) like it was gatorade before a big game. I tied on my bandana and apron as though they were my jersey. I really did put on my sneakers. My cooking game face was on: in the waning hours of holiday deliveries (USPS: still waiting on a few from you, thanks!), I had work to do. Two loaves of poppy seed cakes to bake, peanut butter cups to create, and a soup to cook.

As I measured and poured, whisked and folded, washed and dried, I couldn't help but feel the orchestral fun of a morning spent entirely in the kitchen, entirely focused on the here and now.

Christmas is no doubt strange this year, and if you find it feeling empty, get in the kitchen and get your hands busy. Try out one of these poppy seed cakes (option a: with non-dairy yogurt; option b: no yogurt) or the peanut butter cups – they are easy enough! And best of all: share your small baked joys with your neighbors, your friends – whomever!

Now, it's time for this Christma(chine) to put her feet up on the couch .... I need a break before I get to wrapping presents....

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