Wednesday, December 2, 2009

'Tis the Season

I love lists, and I haven't done one yet.  So, for the early part of this week, a Top Ten List of things I want this Christmas.

Dear Santa,

I know you're probably slammed this Christmas, what with the rising costs of Chinese labor due to an emerging middle class, and you may not have time to address the items on my list. (Though you may consider helping to bring back American manufacturing jobs by sending some of that work here - we sure could use it.)

Anyway, I can already sense that this Christmas's offerings are going to be pretty poorly constructed if the trailers for that new Hugh Grant/Sarah Jessica Parker movie are any indication, we're in for some pretty shoddy merchandise this Christmas.  Nevertheless, the annual "Letter to Santa" is a tradition, so I'm telling you what I'd like this holiday season:

10.  Please return Heather Locklear's marginal acting ability.  She's never been able to do much other than convincingly play a bitch, but apparently her visit to Meg Ryan's Plastic Surgeon robbed her of even that talent.  If Michael Richards can pull off Kramer again, then Heather should be able to do Amanda Woodward without making me cringe.

9.  Please explain why there is a new Boyz II Men album?  Please also explain why they are not called Men II Grandpa at this point?  They're middle-aged!

8.  Sales of consumer electronics are up, but men's apparel is down.  I can only imagine this is why we're burdened with the tragic

7.  If people are going to send me food towers from Harry and David, can you ask them to avoid including those ginormous mushy pears?

6.  Lucky Charms.  More Lucky Charms.

5.  No more housewives.  No more real housewives.  No more people who want to be real housewives and end up chewing up four news cycles with something that IS NOT NEWS.  No fake housewives.  The only kind of housewives I will accept are Desperate Housewives, and then only if Dana Delany successfully offs herself.  Her character has gotten boring and the storyline is wasting her talent.

4.  Can we please avoid that fake "War on Christmas" that seems to bubble up every year at just about this time?  You know, where Republicans accuse Democrats of being anti-Christian because they say things like Happy Holidays.  We're still at war in two places that 99% of American high school students can't find on a map (the remaining 1% being the illegal immigrants Lou Dobbs is always so riled up about.)  Every one is broke and unemployed or worried about being either, or both, except the bankers, who are crooks.  And people working for our socialist Big Government which also somehow manages to be in the pocket of Big Business.  And despite the fact that this totally makes no sense, I - a reasonably intelligent person - am actually seeing the merit in it.  What was my point?  Oh yeah - War on Christmas.  We don't need a third war - grow up and shut up.

3.  Speaking of Christmas, can we just let everyone have Christmas.  I'm so tired of getting flack for celebrating Christmas with the energy and fervor of a North Pole Elf simply because I'm Jewish.  So was Jesus, and since this holiday celebrates his birth, a time when he was certainly a Jew, we should get the holiday, too.  Plus, the guy created a whole religion and got millions of people to follow him, and it's lasted two thousand years.  What Jewish mother wouldn't brag about that?  But no, my mother gives me flack for celebrating Christmas.  I'd rather be unfavorably compared to Jesus than some Orthopedist whose mother plays canasta with mine.

Can we just agree: Christmas = Cool holiday with tree and presents; Chanukah = lame depressing holiday about arson celebrated with brown food and low-tech "top."  Also, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas is still more upbeat than "Oh! Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made you out of clay."

And if we're attacking Kwanzaa here, too, can I just say it stole the pageantry from Christmas and the length of Chanukah to create an utterly new fake holiday.  You can't just make up a holiday!  Otherwise I'd take the month-long Ramadan and Christmas candy and create a holiday called Chramadan where I can spend the whole month of December eating chocolate.  Oh, wait - I do.

2.  I'm still waiting for my own show...

1. ...and those calorie-free French Fries I've been writing about for three decades.  Whenever you're ready.



Well, that made me feel better.  And now - here's a gift for you, my dear readers.  Every posting this month will include one of my favorite holiday recipes.  You may not know this, but every December, sometime around the 20th, I enter a fugue state and bake 10-14 varieties of Christmas cookies.

Today's recipe is a holiday favorite: Gingerbread People.  So easy, low in fat, and fun to make with kids.

Whisk together:

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Set aside.

Mix at medium speed until well-blended:

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
1 large egg

Add to egg mixture:

1/2 cup molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until well-blended and smooth.  Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic, and let sit at room temperature (room temperature is NOT the temperature in your kitchen - especially if you live in an apartment, if the oven has recently been on; the room will be too hot.)  The dough should sit for at least 2 hours and as long as 8 hours (it can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days.)

When ready to bake, preheat over to 375.  Grease cookie sheets.  Place one portion of the dough on a lightly floured board.  Roll to 1/4 inch thick, flouring the rolling pin and board as necessary.  Cut the cookies using 5-inch tall gingerbread boy or girl cutter.  Transfer to cookie sheets with a spatula, spacing them about an inch and a half apart.  Bake 7 to 10 minutes until the edges just barely darken.

Decorate with piped icing.

Bite their little heads off.

1 comment:

  1. I am STUNNED! I totally expected the Gingerbread reference to be you ranting about how gingerbread people are something akin to a fruitcake and that no one REALLY likes them But no! A recipe!
    You forgot the Do this, Don't do that part, but that's ok. Ending it with "bite their little heads off" is PERFECT. :)
    PS - I LOVE lists too.