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Good ol’ St. Nick…

December 5, 2010

Richie and I are staying up late because we’re taking the day off together tomorrow.  I’m baking a gingerbread cake while he serenades me.  He’s cycling through his usual songs, plus working on new stuff.  New rhymes and whatnot.  It’s a pleasant atmosphere- both kids sleeping, just a few lamps lit, the smell of ginger and cloves in the air, his voice and the hum of Judah’s sound machine blending into a late night soundtrack.

Christmas is coming, and it’s a complicated thing, you know.  I mean, it doesn’t have to be, does it?  We could all just do whatever we feel like doing and treat each other the same way we always treat everyone because we could just always treat people really nicely.  I could bathe and comb and snuggle and sing and mix and bake and laugh and whisper every single day, right, instead of just now.  And, then, we could celebrate every single day the miracle that is lifelovefamily and family could always just mean just what we mean by it with no implications or complications or regrets.  Couldn’t it?

***

We’re going to Roanoke for Christmas this year, for the first time in several years, the first time with children.  We’ll be spending most of our time with Richie’s Dad, David, and I am really looking forward to working with him in his kitchen.  I’ve known for some time that David likes to cook, and I’ve always really enjoyed his stuff (mainly: steak, baked spaghetti, french onion soup).  Last time he visited, or maybe the time before that, we got inspired and decided to cook Steak Diane together.  Neither of us had ever made it, and we had to improvise with the ingredients we had.  I remember I was especially impressed at how David thought to add the butter we’d cooked with some clams for an appetizer to the Dianne sauce- it was a great.  Anyway, the food was delicious, but the collaboration was what I loved.  (Richie and I have discovered a similar ability to collaborate in the kitchen and did it for Thanksgiving.  More on that glorious success soon…)  I’ve been getting closer and closer to David, slowly, for some years now, but we seem to know each other best in the kitchen.  Our jokes are funny there.  I’m looking forward to spending a few evenings cooking with David, and laughing at his jokes.

***

I’m staying up late to decorate the gingerbread cake and then, tomorrow, I will tell the kids all about Sankt Nikolaus Tag!

Honey Gingerbread Cake with Lemon-Cream Cheese Icing (adapted from Homestyle Gingerbread)

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup light unsulphered molasses
1/4 cup clover honey
3/4 cup hot water
1 stick room temperature butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Icing

8 oz. cream cheese (cold)
2 sticks cold butter
4 cups 10x sugar
juice from one lemon, plus zest if you like that

(I whipped it on high for just long enough to combine, and I didn’t really use all of that sugar.  I chilled it for a long time before piping with it. )

Line two 8-inch round baking pans with parchment paper.  Heat oven to 325°.

Mix all the ingredients together, in a mixer it takes about 4 minutes on medium and then medium/high speed.  Divide the batter into the two baking pans.  Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes until the cake bounces back and the toothpick thing works.

Ice it real good, I say. 

 


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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 6, 2010 10:57 AM

    I think I get you on the “we could just do this all year” … I definitely think we should love each other as much as we do on Valentine’s Day, celebrate each other as much as we do on birthdays, be as generous with each other as we are in December.

    But then there is something special about a single moment in time that is reserved to be different from all the others. So just pile on more love, celebration, generosity. And the best part? All the stories that pile up through the years that can be told through the narrow, little lens of these memories …

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