As I recall, for whatever reason, I don’t think I did much baking at Christmas last year. I made up for lost time this year, having baked several batches of biscotti, a couple of rounds of shortbread, some chocolate peppermint cookies (that were YUM), peanut butter blossoms, and my personal favorite — M&M cookies (which become Christmas cookies when you use red and green candies. I don’t think that’s cheating. I’m firm on that.)
We’ve sipped eggnog (well, I sipped eggnog; Bill drank it in about three gulps and had a second glass), and we’ve enjoyed our morning coffee in holiday mugs. I heard a performance of Handel’s Messiah. We’ve enjoyed our own and others’ Christmas lights. All-in-all, it’s been an enjoyable holiday season thus far. I, for one, am happy about the fair weather. I can live forever without a white Christmas, I don’t care what Bing has to say about that.
Yesterday I did a Christmas activity that really reminded me of my dad, and the bakery at Christmastime. I baked Swiss Butter Braid. Butter braid is a traditional braided loaf that the Swiss call Zopf, and that my dad sold a lot of at the bakery during the Christmas season. I learned about Zopf via lots of time spent on the internet. I had trouble finding it. The problem was that any time I would google butter braid, google would feed me recipes for braided coffee cakes. My dad’s bread isn’t sweet. It’s just good and buttery.
I frankly can’t remember how I finally stumbled upon a recipe for Zopf. It was several years ago. I tried it at once and was not awed by my result. But this year I gave it another try. Bill’s nurse happened to be sitting at our kitchen table yesterday when I pulled it from the oven. As I was doing so, I explained to her that bread baking wasn’t my strong suit. She was unconvinced, and here’s why…..
Because friends, it turned out to be a perfect loaf of bread, and I’m pretty sure my dad was smiling down on me. And my mom was gritting her teeth, recalling just how many yards of crinkled ribbon she had to curl to close the bags.
By the way, I also recalled my dad yesterday as Bill worked diligently to get my new computer up and running. We bought a program that transferred all of my data from my old computer to my new so that it would be exactly the same. And it mostly is except that web sites like Facebook or Pinterest require me to sign on again which means I have to remember passwords. This is where my memories of dad came in— in my complete and total lack of patience. Bill is so kind and patient, and he had to remind me on numerous occasions that we would get it all figured out. And I’m sure we will. But I am simply not a fan of change. I had to remind myself again and again that I was the proud owner of a BRAND NEW COMPUTER, as well as that Santa was watching my little mini temper tantrums.
By the way, while trying to figure out how to access Facebook on my new computer, I somehow managed to create a whole new account in addition to the one I already have. So unlike those FB messages you see explaining that they have been hacked, I am forced to admit that I have hacked myself. Like Scarlet O’Hara, I will think about it tomorrow. Just don’t be surprised if you get a friend request from me. And then, just ignore it. You don’t want a friend as cranky as me anyway.