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Cures for a clean kitchen

5 lbs all-purpose flour
4 lbs confectioner's sugar
1.5 lbs butter

Add vanilla extract and other standard cookie ingredients for a kitchen that is soon anything but clean.

The second sheet of shortbread hearts, moons, and stars is about to come out of the oven...correx: the second sheet of shortbread just came out of the oven. Two batches of dough for Mary's Sugar Cookies are chilling in the fridge, and will most likely be rolled, cut, and baked on Tuesday. Or maybe Wednesday, depending on whether Joe brings Baskerville here, or I drive there to pick her up. It will be good to have such an amiable dog around the house for a week or so.

My larder is still only semi-stocked, as I discovered yet again tonight. Couldn't make snickerdoodles, tangerine drops, or several other recipes that call for a mix of shortening and butter. I suppose it's a testament to a healthier diet, but I've somehow managed to live here for seven months without any shortening. Or, good grief, any lemon juice! I might have been able to substitute clementines for the lemon in the lemon cheese pressed cookies, but that just didn't sound like the right tang to me. (And, no, I don't have any Tang in the house, either, but I don't see any reason to add it to my shopping list.)

Even after sifting confectioner's sugar, and creaming it with butter three times over, the kitchen isn't quite as white as it is outdoors. That's because seven inches of snow fell this morning. It's winter at its best: enough freshly-fallen snow to transform the landscape into wonderland mode, yet not so much as to be an ordeal. The guy who plows my driveway was here shortly after the snow stopped falling, and getting up and out this afternoon was reassuringly easy. He plows the 275-foot part of the driveway that goes up the hill; I shovel the flat concrete apron in front of the garage. The landscaping is such that there's no place for a plow to easily push the snow there. I'm just as glad; I've been shoveling snow for 40 or more years now and rather enjoy the activity. In moderation, that is. There's less than half the shoveling I had at Toad Hall, and even less if I decide to clear just a path into one side of the garage rather than the entire concrete pad.

If I were in Minnesota, I'd know it was going to be a white Christmas. Here, that's anything but certain. Something about the 52-degree high and rain that's forecast for Thursday may well rinse the countryside clean of tonight's snow cover. I'm still recently enough of a Minnesotan to be thoroughly amused by a weather forecast that identifies a mid-December day with a high of 29 degrees Fahrenheit as "cold." Right. Here in Massachusetts, they think "frigid" is when the temperature drops into the single digits. Above zero! I chuckle. I laugh. But I still put up the 3M window plastic to reduce drafts and save on my heating bills.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
smofbabe
Dec. 21st, 2004 05:01 am (UTC)
I'm still recently enough of a Minnesotan to be thoroughly amused by a weather forecast that identifies a mid-December day with a high of 29 degrees Fahrenheit as "cold." Right. Here in Massachusetts, they think "frigid" is when the temperature drops into the single digits. Above zero! I chuckle. I laugh.

It was about a high of 54 degrees in much of the Bay Area today. We were all bundled up and complaining about how cold it was. Most people were highly envious of my trip to summer tonight :->
fredcritter
Dec. 21st, 2004 07:33 am (UTC)

If I were in Minnesota, I'd know it was going to be a white Christmas.

Not necessarily. Had it been last night/today, it would have been a freezing-drizzle Christmas.

I know you've only just recently moved away from here, but when I check my memory very carfully it really does seem to me that the real staying-snow doesn't really start until mid-January or so. True, we have the traditional Thanksgiving snowstorm and the occasional New Year's Eve blizzard (and that amazing Halloween blizzard a few years back), but those don't tend to produce snow that stays on the ground. For the past mumble years, anyway—it seems like it was different when I was a kid but I think there's been a season shift (meaning the snow now stays longer in the spring that I remember too).

cakmpls
Dec. 21st, 2004 01:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, what fredcritter said. It looks like this Christmas won't be white--much to not only my disappointment, but my bro's and niece's. They're here from Calif., and they thought they could at least have a white Christmas if they had to have such a cold one!
minnehaha
Dec. 21st, 2004 02:21 pm (UTC)
Well, we have some whiteness this morning. But it's so pitiful it barely counts. Not even worth shoveling.

B
gerisullivan
Dec. 22nd, 2004 08:07 am (UTC)
I'm sorry I wasn't clear. In my experience, if it had snowed 7" in Minnesota on December 20th, I could be sure there would still be snow on the ground on the 25th. Though, yes, the pattern changed during my 25 years there. The only year I was disappointed by a lack of snow was 1979, my first Minnesota Christmas. That taught me quickly not to count on it, and later brown years held their own blessings.
pameladean
Dec. 21st, 2004 08:24 pm (UTC)
Crisco makes a shortening without trans fats. It works in pie crust, so it should work in anything else.

As for the weather, I just want to say that the whole time we lived in Massachusetts, Minnesota had snow, and when we moved back, the East Coast was favored with it instead. I feel cheated.

P.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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