The View From Mrs. Sundberg's Window

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Mrs. Sundberg's Recipe Collection - 12 tried-and-true--one for each month of the year--featuring an introduction and tips from Mrs. Sundberg herself

There's frozen pizza in the kitchen. Have at it.

December 18, 2007

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I'd spent a good part of the afternoon on the phone with an old friend from high school. Sonja Chatfield was her maiden name, and she called out of the blue to say hello. She was making a roast for a dinner party and couldn't decide how to season it and remembered how I won first prize in our Home Economics class' annual recipe contest for my "Home for the Holidays Roast." Her request for advice surprised me as Sonja had become a home economics teacher herself. She was like that, always doing things other girls envied a bit. Like marrying a man who would become a high school principal, playing xylophone at church picnics, and moving to Bemidji. Anyway, she called and talked and I listened and told her I'd do my best to dig up the recipe but I haven't thought of it for years, and yes, I'll call back, and Merry Christmas to you, too.

I don't recall much of the conversation, to be honest. Between the show and the snowballs hitting the window above me, I was a bit distracted. And, on top of all that, I had the flu. Which is why I was stuck there on the couch, radio at my head, pillows at my feet, and a stainless steel bowl and towel on the floor at my side. Just in case. When in doubt, grab a bowl.

The whole ordeal lasted longer than 24 hours. It began sometime on Friday as an odd, queasy, tingly feeling which led me to the couch, and peaked Saturday night with chills and sweats and what felt like delirium. (I could swear I awoke sometime past midnight to see Mr. Sundberg standing in the doorway in a Captain Marvel uniform.) I was still on the couch Sunday evening, but coherent and able to eat and drink and sit up without tipping over sideways. Calls to mind last week's little rant about how nothing gold can stay. Nothing crappy can stay, either, and thank the good Lord for that.

The one good thing about being sick as a dog is that everything gets pared down to the basics. Hot or cold. Hungry or thirsty. Ice or heating pad. Holler or let 'em be. Live or die. What's really important becomes, gradually, crystal clear: water, warmth, sleep. Forget the trampoline and the ice cream and the Bing Crosby cd. Don't bother with the mail, and there's frozen pizza in the kitchen. Have at it. Rules disappear and crumbs don't matter and something, somewhere, is humming but it sounds rather pretty and let's just let it be.

And the one other thing, the most important thing, is the soft, cool palm of the hand of someone who loves you resting gently on your forehead, then your cheek, then your forehead again, and two small lips pressed to that same forehead, and a whisper in your ear, "I love you, Mom. Get better." And you will. And you do.

These cookies are one of the staples of the holiday season. My mother made 'em, her mother made 'em, her mother's mother made 'em, and so on. I've adjusted the recipe a bit by substituting almond extract for vanilla. And if you've got an old press around the house, the kind you twist, use it. Works better than the shotgun-type deals they're selling today.

Mrs. Sundberg's Perfectly Good Spritz
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 t salt
1 cup butter
1 egg (measure with water to 1/4 cup)
1 t almond extract
Sift dry ingredients together.
Cut in butter until you've got fine lumps.
Add egg and vanilla. Stir well.
Divide and add food coloring as desired.
(Mix in with hands.) Chill dough a bit.
Fill press.
Form cookies and decorate with cinnamon imperials
if you are so inclined.
Bake at 375 on ungreased sheets
for 10-12 minutes.

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