This past week has taught me several things! Christmas is going to be here in just a little bit over a week, and ready or not, there is nothing I can do about it. I sat and sewed masks, using Christmas themed fabric, almost all day yesterday, as a friend and I were opening our Hospital gift shop last night so at least some of our night shift workers would get to shop. We didn’t have a lot of customers, but they enjoyed themselves. Last year, we served cookies, hot chocolate and had a coffee pot going this year due to the virus we couldn’t do that. Next week the Hospital is having a “drive thru” breakfast, serving tacos for the employees and we will be open again beginning 30 minutes before they start serving and finishing up around the time we would open normally. I also learned I’m getting way too old to pull an all nighter! We opened at 11:30 p.m. and closed at 1:30 a.m. and it was hard getting up this morning. Also, the fog was horrible, it was already thick when I left home at 11:00 and got worse by the time we closed. It’s been a long time since I had to drive using the white line on the side of the road to guide me home! And, thanks be to God, at that time of the night there was no traffic. The sun is finally out, the fog is burned off and it looks as if it’s going to be a beautiful day.
This week, my thought was to give you something a little different, so instead of a bunch of recipes, I’m going to give you the story of the Partridge in a Pear Tree. Most of you have probably already heard of it, but when someone sent it to me last year, I hadn’t heard it before.
1. The partridge in a pear tree if Jesus Christ.
2. The two turtle doves are the Old and New Testaments.
3. Three French hens stand for Faith, Hope, and Love.
4. The four calling birds are the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
5. The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of The Old Testament.
6. The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.
7. Seven swans a-swimming represent the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership and Mercy.
8. The eight maids a-milking are the eight beatitudes.
9. The nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control.
10. The ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.
11. Eleven pipers piping stand for the eleven faithful disciples.
12. The twelve drummers drumming symbolizes the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.
So, there is your history lesson for today.
By the time most of you are reading this, it will be only seven or eight days until Christmas, and just in case you need another cookie recipe, here is one of my favorites, and it’s one my grandchildren, neighborhood children and my great-grandchildren and I have made many times. The best part is that you “paint” these cookies before baking and the designs are baked onto the cookies! I do miss those days of getting to bake and decorate cookies with them so very much.
Another thing in favor of this recipe is that you don’t have to chill the dough. You can mix it up and start rolling it out and cutting out the cookies!
1 1/3 cups shortening
2½ cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Thoroughly cream together shortening, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla. Add combined dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Roll out 1/8 to ¼-inch thick on lightly floured* board and cut with cookie cutters into desired shapes. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, sprinkle with granulated sugar (if you did not previously paint them,) and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Liquid or paste food coloring (paste will give you more intense color)
Clean, plastic egg carton
Small, inexpensive craft paint brushes
Decorative sugars, nonpareils, etc.
Pour about 1 to 1½ tablespoons of the milk into each of several of the cups in the egg carton. Add a few drops of coloring or paste to each on until desired color is reached. Paint unbaked cookies, decorate as desired and bake in preheated oven. Remove from sheets and cool thoroughly.