« memo from the desk of asv | Main | that's the spirit »

cookie tossing

If you are here for the Pizza for IDF fund, please look to the right in the sidebar, and thank you!

It's that time of year. Every day, my office becomes littered with memos and notices about holiday parties, holiday breakfasts, holiday luncheons, holiday drinking binges.

I'm not a social butterfly. I don't mingle. I don't start up conversations with people I don't know or people I barely tolerate on a day to day basis. I don't do the fake, cheery holiday smile thing very well. So I avoid most of these get-togethers, choosing to just attend the annual luncheon that the judges throw for the secretaries, which really isn't about their secretaries at all, but about roasting each other until someone gets insulted. I don't mind because I get to hang out with my sister and Bonnie and we get a nice meal and some free drinks and honestly, most of the judges are fun to hang out with.

What I hate more than anything, though is the way some of my co-workers will come bouncing through the hallways, begging people to join in their group shindigs as if they really liked everyone. Cookie baking groups and craft sales and caroling for the courtrooms all make a cold shiver run down my spine. Ok, I made up the caroling for the coutrooms thing. Deck the Halls just wouldn't go over well with someone who is about to see six months in prison. Deck the Cells? Hmm...

Any day now the woman in the office upstairs will send around a memo about the cookie sharing party. It will go right into the shredder. Why? Glad you asked, because this post has all been just a lengthy introduction into a repeat from last year:

c is for god damn ugly stupid cookies

I cannot bake. I can cook - I can whip up a gourmet meal at a moment's notice. But baking leaves me frustrated and in a foul mood. So generally, I don't do it. I leave the baking for the Martha Stewart wannabes in my family.

So why did I find myself standing in my kitchen tonight, elbow deep in flour and frosting? I'll tell you why. It's my sister's fault.

I work with my sister. She, like me, is a bit of a misanthrope, yet manages to be the social butterfly of the workplace at the same time. You accomplish this by making friends with a few select people, and hating everyone else in their department. Then you vocalize that hate. Loudly. Me, I just sit in my office and mutter death threats under my breath.

Anyhow, it came time for the annual cookie trade-off lunch. This is where all the secretaries get together for a holiday lunch, and bring a dozen home-baked cookies for each person attending. This is my fourth Christmas in this job, and I have avoided the cookie exchange every year so far. My sister would have none of that this year. She enthusiastically signed me up without asking. Why? Because she is a sadist. She knew I would now have to combine my hatred of baking with my loathing of my co-workers all in one day. I suppose I could have e-mailed the head cookie cutter and offered my apologies, but I decided I would give in instead. Maybe if I do it this one year, they will leave me alone for the next three.

Now, there are two people at work I like. One is the sadist sister of mine, and the other is my good, dear friend Bonnie. Bonnie was also "anonymously" signed up for this cookie brigade. I despise the other women who are going. The woman I hate the most is joining us, and she has the nerve to say she is coming for lunch and not baking cookies! What the hell? If I am going to stand in my kitchen and curse the cookie gods, so are you, bitch!

I had an option in regards to the cookies. I could cheat. There are various ways one could cheat when it comes to cookie baking:

First degree cheating: Go to bakery, buy fresh made, gorgeous, incredibly delicious cookies. Put on throw-away Christmas plate, wrap in something festive and pretend like you slaved over a hot oven all night making them.

Second degree cheating: Buy the Pillsbury slice and bake cookie rolls. No fuss, no mess. Just chop the roll up, stick in oven and proceed with festive wrapping and lying about the recipe.

Third degree cheating: Buy a pre-made cookie mix, follow same method as above for wrapping and lying.

I opted for third degree cheating, sugar cookie style. Have I mentioned I suck at baking?

First I followed the directions carefully. One rounded teaspoon of dough per cookie. Well I did that and the cookies were the size of a baby's toenail. 6 cookies wasted. I made them a little bigger; somewhere between a tablespoon and a scoop. Apparently they weren't rounded enough and came out looking like lumps of brown coal. Finally, I decided to throw some flour into the mix and roll out the dough. I had no cookie cutters, but I found the cover to one of my nephew's bottles and used that to cut the dough into large circles. They came out the perfect size and shape. I was on my way to Marthaness.

I couldn't just give plain sugar cookies, could I? They had to be decorated. I was ready with green and red colored sugar and some Christmas tree shaped sprinkles. So the cookies are out of the oven, a bit cooled and I sprinkle the sugar on. It rolls off. I press the sugar on. The cookie breaks.

I put a fresh batch in and a light bulb goes off in my head. I sprinkle the sugar on before they bake! They come out looking like someone threw up in my baking pan. I bake a fresh batch and come up with a new idea. I have to somehow find something to put on top of the cookies when they are cooled that will make the sugar stick to them. Frosting! I only have pink frosting, though. I recruit Natalie to mix some red food coloring into the frosting until it looks Christmasy. She stirs and pours and stirs and finally the frosting is red, but the consistency of water. At this point I don't care. I remind myself over and over that I don't even like the people who will be eating these cookies.

I take each cookie, smear it in blood red frosting and then pour the colored sugar over them. They end up looking like a kindgergarten craft project. I'll give it one more try. What is wet enough yet not distasteful that I could put on top of the cookies to make the sugar sticks? And then I see it, right there in my cabinet. Pam no-stick spray. Buttered flavor. Of course.

I spray each cookie with a little Pam, hysterically laughing to myself that I have reached so low a point. I take each non-stick coated cookie and turn it upside down in a pile of red and green sugar. Voila! I have Christmas cookies. I have baked.

They are the ugliest, worst tasting cookies this side of dog biscuits. I don't care. I made them. And I will laugh all this week at the fact that those stupid, lazy, slacking, bitching, gossiping women are eating cookies whose main ingredient is no-stick spray, and which may or may not have fallen on my kitchen floor. I'll never tell.

And people wonder why I'm anti-social.


I agree with everything!

No wondering here...you're my hero!! ;o)

I love your new Dorkin pic.M&C are a fave of mine.

Oh. lord.

I can bake and cook, I just tend to set things on fire or burn my hand while doing it.

There should be some sort of help organization for us.

Good thing you have great boobies!

Dreck the halls with gouts of folly
Fa la la la la freakin' la.

Psst! Nestle toll house cookie dough - premade, next to the Pillsberry stuff - it tastes really close to homemade. (I'm a chocolate fiend - I add extra chips.) And if you roll the sugar cookie premade dough into balls and then roll em around in a bowl of cinnamon and sugar and then bake - people also will not recognize them.

I got roped into this kinda thing before.
This is NOT considered cheating.

Oh and don't even get near the frosting unless you have some kind of assembly line - hey, wait - you have kids - aren't they able to be guilted into helping? No wait, I mean, told that it's fun! Whee!

i can bake, but i cannot cook. i tend to burn things a lot, whether i'm baking OR cooking. there always just seems to be more interesting things going on somewhere ELSE in the house. we have 2 rules for cooking at the RatHouse.
#1-NEVER LEAVE THE KITCHEN. i don't care if you're boiling water or making a grilled cheese sandwich. NEVER. LEAVE.
#2-LEARN TO FAN THE SMOKE AWAY FROM THE SMOKE DETECTOR. that loud, bleating noise always scares the shit outta me and really pisses me off.
p.s. i did that cookie-trading thing ONCE, never again.
p.p.s. don't EVEN ask me about the years i made 13 gingerbread houses, from scratch, for my daughter's christmas-birthday parties... bleah.

If I go to the trouble of baking cookies, I'm keeping them!

I'm lucky -- our office is all guys other than me (and the new office assistant) so there's no socializing. They all have to socialize with their wive's office mates. We don't even have an office Xmas party.

I love to cook and occaisonally bake. I have reasonable success at baking but the advice to never leave the kitchen is spot on.

A couple of other rules:

1. Cooking is like jazz. A little variation here and there, small variations permit a great degree of personal expression and as long as you know what you are doing, it will seldom be bad and occaisonally great.

2. Baking is like refining petroleum. It is both chemistry and physics, an engineering degree is highly recommended. Every thing must be absolutly precise. Read the recipe three times and measure everything twice.

3. When raising a yeast dough on the day before Christmas in a cold climate and you're thrifty, the oven may be used on its lowest temperatuer. Place a lucite cutting board beneath the bowl to prevent the underside of the dough from being cooked.

Punch down the dough, finish kneeding, place on the baking sheet, place back in the oven, finish raising. When the dough has reached the appropriate level, remove the dough. Get distracted. Turn up the oven to baking temperature.

Hmmm, something smells funny. Oh my god! Run to oven, turn off, go pull down smpke detector, open front door, return to oven, pullout rack with molten lucite and throw in front yard.

Leave front door open next two hours. 26 fahrenheit isn't really that cold.

Michele, for some bizarre reason (maybe confined to my computer and browser and no one else's) I still can not see your sidebar. If I mouse over it, some, but not all, of the links appear. This happens consistently with this new site, and I have not experienced the problem with your old site, or with others.

I'll be donating pizza money tomorrow.

Hmmm. Remind me to bring my own cookies if I'm ever at your house.

Personally, I think you should have left the frosting pink. I am, however, biased towards pink cookies. wink