Monday, December 24, 2007

'Tis the Season To Be Baking

Pumpkin bread, chocolate zucchini bread, cookies, pie, coffee cake… I’ve been in the kitchen a lot the last few days, and I’m not done yet.

If I had more time, I’d bake more stuff, too. I actually like baking. I’m not wild about cooking in general – that “What’s for dinner?” question drives me up a tree, and I’m usually the one asking it. But I enjoy baking, as long as it’s an easy recipe. Anything that requires more than 6 steps, calls for any ingredients that have to be purchased from an indigenous farmer selling them from the back of a yak, or that involves a double-boiler or spring-form pan gets knocked off my “try this someday” list in a hurry. I just don’t have that kind of patience.

But I do like coming up with new recipes for baking without eggs, milk, or nuts, especially at the holidays.

On Friday, I took several mini-loaves of pumpkin bread to school to give to my son’s teacher, the principal, the school secretaries, the “lunch lady,” and the school maintenance man. To each loaf, I attached a recipe card that showed the bread was without eggs, milk, or nuts. I wasn’t “making a point.” I was thanking them.

All of those people make the school safe for my son and the other kids with allergies – and I make it a priority to remember the maintenance man and the lunch lady, who I think most parents forget in the flurry of teacher-gifts. These folks go out of their way to keep an allergy table safe at the school. They enforce the “no snacks in the classroom” policy. They pin up photos of the allergic kids in the lunch kitchen so everyone remembers to be careful. They contact us when a food issue is coming up at school to make sure our kids will be okay.

I am SO grateful for these people.

So I baked pumpkin bread and took it to all the adults at the school that have a hand in keeping my son safe. And I made it without the most common allergens that kids in our school suffer from. Everyone seemed thrilled to receive the bread, and my son got a hug and a big thank you from each of them.

Now I’m baking just for my own family. We’ll make cookies today, because Santa will be expecting them tonight, you know, and we aren’t sure if he’s allergic to milk, eggs, or nuts, so we’ll make them safe just to be sure. And tomorrow morning, my coffee cake will be on the breakfast table (barring any disasters, like dropped bowls of dough, mis-read recipes, broken stoves, or forgotten timers and burnt results – all of which have historical precedents).

So keep your fingers crossed for me that my cookies don’t burn, my coffee cake doesn’t flop, and my pies don’t bubble over, and I’ll keep mine crossed for you that all of your holiday endeavors turn out beautifully, too.

And don’t forget to watch Santa’s progress around the world today and tonight on the Norad radar tracking system:!

Happy Holidays!

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