Coming home from work the other day I opened the front door of my house and felt that this was a special afternoon, as the heat from the oven and the pungency of spices created a multi-sensual effect that told me this was Cookie Baking Day. My wife sets aside the better part of a morning and evening to create many dozens of cookies as part of our holiday celebrations, some to be given away and others to be consumed by guests and, of course, me.
There is more to the baking of cookies than mixing together the requisite ingredients and stuffing the shaped doughballs into the oven. At the risk of sounding clichéd, the most important factor is love, and my wife is a veritable reservoir of this necessary element.
There is family love, to be sure, that works its way into these cookies, as Christmas and New Year's feature gatherings of our extended family. Yet my wife also exudes a love of the season, and supplies a selfless love of the happiness of others that is contagious.
Even in this year, in which the spirit of Christmas did not take hold especially well in me, even I could not avoid the infectious love that is exemplified by the love baked into the cookies. Sure, I might grouse about the overkill of 24-hour Christmas music on local radio, or the obscene commercialism of shopping malls, but my cynicism melts as I bite into a homemade ginger snap cookie.
Yeah, some of this good feeling might be chemically-induced, or could be attributed to a sucrose rush, but a warm cookie on a cold winter night conveys much more than flour, sugar, and seasonings.
Maybe you have to eat one to really know.