There are a lot of endearing things about my kitchen. It has tinned ceilings original to the house from the early 1900s, it gets beautiful light, it's very large by New York City standards. But there are a lot of things I hate about it. It's old with largely unreliable appliances, its counters are covered with a horrible off-white laminate littered with coffee stains, it has a freezer that doesn't freeze when I'm trying to make ice cream sandwiches. But it's my kitchen, and I'll always love it even if I don't like it.
A typical Christmas with my family consists of a full day's worth of Chinese hot pot. Three meals (and snacks in between) of beef, lamb, fish balls, squid, napa cabbage, taro, tofu, seaweed, noodles, and my mom's famous dipping sauce. Cookies, especially home baked cookies, are usually nowhere to be found. Not exactly your typical American Christmas, but it's what I always associate with the holidays. It's what makes me nostalgic; what all the lights and buzz remind me of.
It's been a few years since I've spent the holidays with my family, life takes you in other directions sometimes. So last year, yearning for a piece of home, Phillip and I went out for hot pot in Chinatown on Christmas day. It wasn't as good as mom's, but it did ease the homesickness a bit.
In a change from tradition, this year there will be lots of cookie baking and no hot pot (only because I already got my fix last week). However, I still want to honor the non-typical ways people can celebrate Christmas, so I present to you a slightly non-typical cookie in the form of chocolate dipped rhinos.
Remember a few posts back when I let you in on the news that I would be starting a job outside of blogging? Well, it's been about a month since my first day, and guys, I'm effin' beat. How do you work a full time job while having a dedicated side project at the same time? Especially a project that submits to the will of the fickle sun, who likes to start setting shortly after lunch these days. Tell me your secrets, how do you manage everything? (Really, I want to know).
Take Thanksgiving for example. Did you know that it's my favorite day of the year? A day dedicated to making a buttload of food, eating, napping, watching TV, then eating some more. Of course you didn't. Because reading my blog, it's as if that day doesn't exist! Though I made a whole 14 pound turkey and 5 different sides for a measly 3 people + 2 cats and we stuffed our faces silly then ate leftovers for days, there was not the faintest glimmer of Thanksgiving here, I couldn't even scrounge up a roasted brussels sprouts recipe for you all, and for that and I am sorry. I failed.
But I'll be damned if I miss the rest of the holiday season, which is why I'm here to make it up to you with these festive linzer cookies. With their ruby red jam and a dusting of snowy powdered sugar, is there a more quintessential winter cookie? I mean, besides gingerbread men, but I don't really consider those Christmas cookies so much as Christmas...decorations. Do people actually eat them?