Sunday, December 1, 2019

The eatin' season

It's here.

Thursday's turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie have hardly been digested and yet Kim already is making plans to bake up some Moravian sugar cakes as Christmas rapidly approaches. She's right on time – today is the first Sunday in Advent, which means that the Eating Season has arrived.

Can Christmas cookies be far behind?

I love Kim's sugar cakes. Although she herself is not a born-and-raised Moravian, she married one. And ever since I can remember, sugar cakes have been the staple treat for the holidays. Nana Kessler used to make them as if on an assembly line, and her daughter – my mom – occasionally made them, too, although she was really the Tollhouse Cookie Queen.

But I cannot remember a Christmas without sugar cakes, even if it meant getting one or two from Dewey's Bakery back in my bachelor days.

Early in our marriage, Kim got hold of an actual Moravian sugar cake recipe from an actual Moravian, and life has been good ever since. Well, good for me, anyway.

The recipe was the old, traditional one (probably dating back to the mid-1700's) that required mashed potatoes and yeast, which meant you had to wait hours for the yeast to rise before baking actually happened. It was a time consuming process that meant she had to be on a high-priority mission to make these things, usually six to eight of them. Making and baking them pretty much wore her out.

But last year, while on an errand, we unwittingly stumbled into the Old Salem Bake Shop at the Marketplace Mall in Winston-Salem, where they offered packages of Moravian sugar cake mix. A mix! And it's the real deal. The Bake Shop features a high-end commercial bakery in the back room, which mass produces its confections for the historic Winkler Bakery in Old Salem, just a couple of miles down the road.

We had hit the Moravian bakery mother lode.

So we bought a package and Kim was able to bang out four sugar cakes from the mix. And they tasted great. It was like a Godsend (and just in time for Christmas. Imagine that) for Kim.

And like an unexpected gift, our kitchen smelled just like a bakery during this very efficient process.

So this year, we bought two packages of sugar cake mix.

Which now begs the question: What am I going to do with eight sugar cakes? (Hint: I actually have a pretty good idea...).

•   •   •

The eating season isn't just about sugar cakes.

There will be neighborhood parties to attend. And parties with co-workers. And family gatherings. We already attended a Friendsgiving foodfest last night, which I guess is another excuse to eat more stuff just hours after Thanksgiving. We've already bought our Mrs. Hanes cookies, so...

The eatin' season, indeed.

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