Sweet tradition

There is the warm glow of a crackling fire, the smell of evergreen wafting in the air, sparkling lights in a rainbow of colors, along with holiday music and laughter as family reconnects. These are all sights and sounds of the Christmas season. But wait, one thing is missing – the mouth-watering aromas associated with one of our favorite holiday foods. Where are the cookies?

For many it’s not Christmas without cookies, and it’s tradition for some families to bake and decorate them together. Children leave cookies out for Santa, and just about everywhere you go during the holidays, there are plates of these delectable treats. And, there are special ones we may only see during the holidays.

The cookies we most enjoy may or may not be the very best by critics’ standards, but they are near and dear to our hearts. They likely invoke those special memories of holidays’ past. Some may have been passed down from mothers and grandmothers, while others are just family favorites.

In tribute to holiday cookies, the employees of the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives share with you some of their family favorites. While some may sound familiar, others may be new. Either way, perhaps they will become a part of your family’s tradition.

Click here to explore this month’s Finest Cooking and cookie recipes.

 What are your favorite Christmas memories?

“Scrambled eggs and cinnamon rolls on my wife’s side of the family, and lebkuchen and minced meat pie on mine. But most importantly – Christmas Eve midnight service.”
Bryce Cramer, Murphysboro Office and Member Services Manager, Egyptian Electric Cooperative Association

“Our big soldier still likes to be a little girl! Maren and my wife Kate almost always sit down together and read ‘The Littlest Angel.’ Maren cuddles as Kate reads. Maren waits for the part when Kate always cries. It’s where the angel sends God’s messenger down to Earth to get his box. It contains, among other things, the collar from his dog who ‘lived as he had died, in true and utter devotion.’ It gets her every time!”
– John Lowrey, Editor, Illinois Country Living

“We always had an Advent calendar, gingerbread house (I loved eating the green jelly Christmas trees first), a Christmas village, and Santa only brought one present which magically appeared fully assembled in front of the tree on Christmas morning.”
– Jen Danzinger, Web Developer/Graphic Designer, AIEC

“My grandfather and father would always make Corv, what my grandpa called poor man’s sausage. As I was growing up, there was always some leftover meat after filling the casings, so my dad would fry up Corv patties. I think it was primarily for me, but it grew to something that was done every Christmas Eve. My father has passed on, so I’ve tried to keep it alive hoping one day my son will want to do it too.
– Kevin Bernson, Vice Pres. of Media and Public Relations, Shelby Electric Cooperative

“I loved my grandmother very much, but not her ‘special treat’ for us on Christmas Eve. She would make oyster stew, which I’m sure was expensive and a delicacy to her because oysters weren’t as readily available some 40 years ago. The oysters tasted awful to me as a small child, but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so I’d turn away from her and swallow them whole! Needless to say, that’s not a tradition I carry on today.”
– Nancy Rhoads McDonald, Marketing Administrator, AIEC