My cousin mentioned in an e-mail describing various plans they had for holiday celebrations that she had decided to make Russian Tea Cakes.
Russian tea cakes!
It is the rituals or the traditions, if you prefer, that we participate in -- either as children in the family home or those that we have created ourselves as adults when we formed out own families -- that serve as the foundation to the memories we have of holiday celebrations, whether cultural -- such as Christmas or Thanksgiving, or personal, such as birthdays or anniversaries.
One of the traditions that developed in out family for Thanksgiving when I was living there was that I would get up very early with my Dad, while everyone else in the house was still asleep, to prepare the cranberry dressing for the dinner later that day. He would get out the big metal food grinder, the kind that clamped to the counter. It had a hole in the top and an augur that connected to a crank which was turned round and round. We would feed the cranberries, oranges, and other ingredients into the top and take turns with the crank.
I remember only a few of the presents I received for Christmas as a child. What sticks in my mind the most was driving to get the Christmas tree, and my father getting down the large cardboard box filled with shredded paper in which were buried the Christmas ornaments and and lights and the fun of decorating the tree.
And then the thing we looked forward to as much as anything was the arrival in the mail every year of the box from my Aunt Betty, which contained a decorative tin filled with homemade cookies. My Aunt was a very good baker -- she used real butter -- and her cookies were wonderful -- especially the Russian Tea Cakes. I loved them most of all, I think.
It is only on very rare occasions that I make cookies. I learned over the years that I have no self-control in the presence of cookies and cannot resist gobbling them up. But, after reading my cousin’s e-mail and remembering the wonderful Russian Tea Cakes my Aunt made. Well… I just had to make some.
Knowing my difficulty in this area, I only made half the batch that the recipe called for, probably about 2 dozen cookies.
Now, Russian Tea Cakes are supposed to be nice, round little balls covered with powdered sugar. That’s what the ones my Aunt made looked like.
Mine, on the other hand, were misshaped lumps...
I gave half of the batch to my dearly beloved. Although I intended to dole mine out to myself—half at lunch with the after lunch tea and half at dinner with my after dinner tea—I consumed all of mine within about an hour after they came out of the oven.
Richard commented on how wonderful they tasted, and then this morning, he said he had a lot of goodies to eat, did I want what was left of his half?
I certainly did.