The holiday season is particularly delicious. It’s the time of year when you can bake cookies by the dozen and not feel guilty, and what’s better, eat them! Of course they still will make you fat and bloated, but we manage to forget that in the moment by moment experience of the season. A favorite tradition my girlfriends and I have started has been an annual Bake Together. It has grown from a few college girlfriends to married women to married women and children. We have so much fun. I hope I can share the secrets of getting it started and keeping it rolling so you can experience the joys we have over the years.
First, it’s critical that you realize you do not have to be a gourmet chef to participate. It is also important to realize that a master kitchen is not a necessity, either. My forte is cookies, but one of my dearest girlfriend’s specialty is anything dipped in almond bark. During our last Bake Together, she attempted to teach me how to do this ‘simple’ activity. I managed to first melt a spoon on the stovetop while attempting to melt the almond bark, and then moved one to melting a bowl in the microwave after we had given up on the stove top. I never did find success with the almond bark, but she managed to slog through it and get some pretzels done. We have a great story to share, as well as some great pictures of what not to do in the kitchen.
The next step I would recommend is to set a date. A favorite quote of mine is, Fail to plan, plan to fail. This little gem applies to all aspects of life — something that took me a long time to realize! We missed one year because we did not decide ahead of time what Saturday or Sunday would be ‘The Day’. We never made that mistake again. Now we realize the best plan is to meet up before Thanksgiving, before the holidays are really in full swing, and plan to freeze our goodies (or erase the expectation that they will be around until Christmas!).
Finally, I would suggest each person select two or three recipes they would like to try. You know your limits as a chef. This is about having some fun together, so keep the competitiveness to a minimal (I think I write that to preach to myself more than anyone else. It was tough to accept that my almond bark pretzels were a failure since they are so easy…!). Now I realize that my sugar cookie recipe is a favorite, and the kids have a great time cutting the cookies when we get together. It’s your decision whether you want it to be a girlfriends-only time or girlfriends plus kids. We’ve gone both routes as our children have grown. Again, you know your situation best!