My great-great Grandmother Schneider emigrated from Germany to America
over one hundred years ago.
Like all immigrants, she didn't carry much with her
but the clothes on her back
and the information in her head.
In the Schneider family, winter meant sugar cookies.
The recipe traveled from Germany with my great-great Grandmother.
Family legend holds that my great-Grandmother discovered
that the children ate more of these sugar cookies when she frosted and decorated them.
(And being German, we very much want the children to EAT.)
My Nana learned that children will help bake and decorate the cookies
if doing so was a condition for getting to eat them
(Or, famously, "If you don't help, you don't eat.")
My father learned that if one disregards the called-for amount of vanilla
and instead just pours in a whole darn bottle,
the cookies are much richer and tastier.
I learned that if one replaces the called-for margarine with
(probably the originally called-for) real butter, the result is richer and tastier still.
In 2009, are these cookies different from the day they made the trip over from Germany?
Are they that much more delicious?
For all their changes and embellishments,
these are, more than ever,
the Schneider family cookies.
Very much different from the original
for the frosting, vanilla, and real butter, yes,
but they are ten times that rich
for the generations of love and care that was poured into making them.
Personally, I can't imagine any way to make these cookies any more delectable.
But I'll guarantee you that my boys will -
and this is only the beginning.