|I have been making entries in Our Cookie Journal|
for nearly 20 years.
We all have recipes for special foods that evoke memories of bygone kitchens and baking sessions with beloved family members. For me, Christmas would not be Christmas without cookies. My sister and I have always baked them and we became better and more experienced every year. A lot of the credit for our success has to go to the blank journal that she gave me years ago. She suggested that we keep notes on what we baked, particularly what we liked, what we learned, and what new recipes that we discovered.
Even though Christmas cookies have been a big part of many families’ traditions, it was nothing like it is today. You couldn’t Google recipes; there wasn’t a dedicated aisle in Target filled with baking supplies and equipment; and people didn’t have cookie swaps.
Recipes were handed down from grandmothers and friends, and I still cherish my tattered copies (which I have now transferred to Evernote!). And I still break out Our Cookie Journal before I start my bake-a-thon every November (yes, I start extra early!).
I wrote both our names — Kevin Baker and Lisa Carr — on the front endpaper and the date was Dec. 18, 1993. We kept it going year after year, with me writing the bulk of it and her writing a bit of it. Some years were extra busy with jobs and children, and I would scribble notes on bits of paper and transfer them to the diary in quieter moments. Sometimes I wasn’t as diligent and we had to rely on our memories to create bare-bones entries, just so we never skipped a year (journaling — we never skipped baking).
At first, we relied on the traditional Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe on the back of the yellow Nestlé Chocolate Chip package; Grandma’s Criss-Cross Cookies; Sugar Cookies from The Joy of Cooking; and recipes we found in magazines.
As the years passed, we kept track of our favorites, noted our occasional failures, and made suggestions for the next year. Eventually, I started adding a photo or two (pre-digital, of course). And since it was a journal, it included more than recipes and photos. It became a treasured history of our family and I can’t start the holiday season without it.
Last year, I decided to make a digital copy of the journal on my computer (just to preserve it) and reckoned I might as well share it as a blog too at ourcookiejournal.blogspot.co.uk.
Since this year marks the diary’s 20th anniversary, I’ve decided to publish it as an ebook — mostly for friends and family. But I’m hoping that other bakers will be inspired to keep their own treasured memories in a similar format to enjoy, share and pass along.
I hope you enjoy Our Cookie Journal and that your Christmases are always filled with cookies and the joy they bring!