I am conflicted about baking this holiday season. No one really needs the treats and fewer and fewer people (wisely) indulge.

I like baking but have pretty much stopped doing it unless I know there is a large enough group to share with. Comes in handy that I can usually invite neighbors & their children over when I feel like making a cake or some such thing. But often as not some goes to waste.

Holiday baking is loaded with family baggage. My mother showed her love with food, not words, and you accepted her love by eating. Christmas in her house meant 10 – 15 kinds of cookies, fruitcakes soaked in rum for 2 months and assorted pies. Much of it was packed up in pretty tins and given away to priests, friends and family.

The only cookies I miss are the ones we used to call Italian Death Balls, because they are rolled in powdered sugar that, when inhaled, made the cookie eater choke and cough. Hours of sibling amusement.

She sugared them when they came out of the oven and then again when she layered them in the storage tins. Butter and sugar, what can be bad? No commercial ones I have tasted were ever the same.

I asked my daughter if I should make any cookies this year and she said just a few cut outs (the butter cookies with icing) and maybe some brownies. But not too many. So there you have it. I should be able to finish that in one afternoon. Food does not = love to her, which is a good thing to quote Martha.

I think I will invest in some lovely, expensive vodka and spend my extra time perfecting a new holiday cocktail.