Artwork from Amelie vintage cafe in Patras, Greece.
Courtesy of the author’s friend Kykeon.
I may not have been the typical "merry" girl, but I recall that the pre-Christmas season was indisputably the most joyous and festive of the year. There was so much action in every home and no time to get bored with all the shopping thrill, the decoration of the Christmas tree, sending cards, taking care of the gift lists, and--last but not least--preparing the sweets. Baking was my favorite thing in the kitchen and I could never get enough of that kind of custom. A few weeks before Christmas my mother and I were fully engrossed in making traditional Greek desserts for the holidays, melomakarona and kourambiedes, which are basically enhanced variations of cookies. The recipes were nearly the same every year, while minor changes were attempted according to the previous year’s degree of success or failure. Most of our attention was given to uniform shaping and the proper baking, as well as the precise immersion in the sweet honey syrup, so that they wouldn’t become too drizzly or too crispy in the end.
Away from my comfort zone and my mother’s brilliance in the kitchen, I still enjoy those baking adventures, even though I now need to take all the blame for any unfortunate creations coming out of the oven. It’s more of a valuable moment of privacy now, when I get the chance to clear my head from the daily worries and slip away to a delicious and odoriferous experience.
This holiday season could serve well as a complete renaissance and a good reason to step into the kitchen and bake, especially with the company of children. Even for the littlest aspiring cooks, the making of cookies is certainly a safe way to start and have fun. If you happen to be fond of honey and cinnamon, take my word and try the recipe for traditional melomakarona sweets. Good luck!
Girl Museum Inc.