This post is about a first-time MWC holiday event. We’re going to get together to toast the season and each other with something sparking and nibbly AND we’re going to have a COOKIE TABLE. This will be at 4pm on Wednesday, December 15th. The general idea is that you should show up and bring some cookies with you (and a bottle of something sparkling if you want!) – you can make the cookies, you can buy them, or you can bring some that your Aunt Tilly whipped up. We will have containers for everyone to take home up to as many cookies as they shared on the table. More information (of course!) on cookie tables below but the point here is that cookies are teensy baked bundles of care, optimism and good will – and what could be better to share during the holidays?
In Pittsburgh, no matter how elaborate and grand the wedding, the real star of the show (after the bride, perhaps!) is the COOKIE TABLE. I first read about cookie tables in a 2009 NYTimes article (CLICK HERE TO READ) but then quizzed Pittsburgh and Midwestern friends who were very familiar with the custom. After the dinner and dancing and toasts, most weddings have a dramatic reveal of a large, long table laden with cookies brought by the guests. Different guests have different cookie specialties and sharing them is a way to bring a collective, personal touch to a formal occasion. Each guest is given a box to select as many cookies as they brought.
But why limit cookies tables to Pittsburgh weddings? Some of us during the holidays would just as soon forget the presents, forget the tinsel, forget the tree – just give us a cookie box. I once had a relative who during a time when she was between jobs decided to make a selection of cookies. When several years later she was well employed and was eager to buy presents for us all, we said, “WE WANT COOKIES!” Since then I’ve been a bit cookie-obsessed during the holidays.
This was thrown into overdrive a couple of years ago when the NYTimes did a four page, open-fold photo presentation in their print edition of the most amazing cookies. The pictures here are from that spread. Both the cookies and the art direction were by Susan Spungen, a true cookie wizard if ever there was one. CLICK HERE for a link to the that article and accompanying videos (I’ve saved mine from the print edition!) – honestly, they’re worth saving! The videos of the cookie-making process are particularly helpful but if you can view only one, I recommend the Royal Icing video, which until I saw it I had never gotten quite right.
So, can cookies save the world? Probably not. But they CAN make us all feel a little better about it – and each other.