It is a time of year to gather.
To gather people in celebration. To gather together to comfort. To gather memories of loved ones who have passed, and gather moments and memories to recall for the future. To gather next year’s intentions.
A few weeks ago our family hosted our third annual cookie exchange here in the UK, traditionally an American midwestern practice. The last few we’ve hosted have been smaller gatherings, held at our house as we figured out how exactly it would work. This time, rather than just a few families here at our house, we opened it up to a wider community that we and our children share our days with. Though less intimate than our previous ones, the sense of strength, celebration and acceptance we felt from the experience is one that is holding me up on days like today, when the politics and the policies of the country I now call home feel so against the core of my beliefs. As are the thoughts that I still have a few cookies leftover in my freezer… Time to dip into the reserves.
For our cookie exchange this year, as I have done every year around Channukah and Christmas, I made my grandmother’s recipe for ‘Double Deckers’ a buttery rich bar cookie made with dark chocolate, cream cheese and almond extract. They were my dad’s and my very favourite of all her cookies. Now I make them to share a piece of who my dad was with those around me. It is the opposite of gathering. It is an attempt to scatter out my love for him in as many directions as possible because there is no longer a direct place for it to go.
Though I shared it a year ago on this site, I think it might be good for us all to have something sweet and decadent close to hand today, to share with those whose company provide strength and comfort.