12 days of cookies project

By Christine Drew Anoka County Historical Society Volunteer

Note from Anoka County Historical Society: Here’s a story that would fit well in December, but it came to light during a recent program entitled “Grandma’s Cookie Jar” and made everyone laugh. Some stories are just too good to keep … well, in the cookie jar for a few months.

One fall day in 1996 while checking out at the grocery store, I saw a magazine article about “The 12 Days of Christmas Cookies.” Intrigued, I purchased the magazine and took it home to study. Twelve different recipes – that would be a challenge! And a learning opportunity – I never made meringues before.

I made a master list of all ingredients and supplies (cookie cutters, parchment paper etc.) so I’d have everything on hand before starting. Then I went to see my mom, a former Tupperware lady, to discuss borrowing a lot of containers (and cookie sheets). And I planned a cookie celebration party for the following week. Missions accomplished!

The goal was: 12 drummers drumming, 11 pipers piping, 10 lords a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.

Five golden rings? Easy-peasy. Meringue swans? Do you know how long it takes to bake these? Eight maids a-milking?

By the time I got to this one, I was wearing down. Whoever thought up this project didn’t have to get up in the morning and go to work. Cutting out white sugar cookies and chocolate sugar cookies – not too tough, but cutting out spots on each one and putting white spots on the chocolate cows and chocolate spots on the white cows? Who are you kidding? I flashed back to my grade school days and a favorite poem:

I never saw a Purple Cow,

I never hope to see one;

But I can tell you, anyhow,

I’d rather see than be one.

Another quick trip to the store for some purple decorating sugar, and the cows were done.

Yes, there was a fun celebration with many family members. Yes, we ate a lot of cookies, drank lots of punch and coffee and sang lots of Christmas songs. Would I do this again? Nope. But I’d gladly bake 12 recipes of peanut blossoms!