The closest I get to real Christmas cheer lately is making cutout cookies. I prefer the drop-type of dough. The satisfaction of eating a warm cookie, or even the raw dough, is as immediate as it gets with something cooked.
Yet, somehow, for Christmas I get the stamina and patience to mix the dough, wait three hours for the concoction to chill, roll the dough to 1/8 of an inch thick, instruct the children how to cut out the dough, and then wait for the cooked buggers to cool enough to frost them with confectioner's sugar and milk. How this change occurs in me I have no idea, but it happens.
The kids had requested gingerbread cookies. I pulled out the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that my mother gave me as a wedding present (let's discuss that at a later time) to find a gingerbread cookie recipe. Yep. There it was on page 118. Oops. I didn't have ground cloves, molasses, or white vinegar (and I was pretty sure that red wine or balsamic vinegar wasn't appropriate).
My sister offered to walk to the grocery nearest us for these supplies. What's 12 blocks? For cookies? For Christmas cheer? Nothing.
In the store, she found most of what she wanted, but vinegar eluded her notice. Another man appeared intent on finding an item, too. He asked my sister, "Do you know where the jars of gravy are?"
"No," she answered. "I'm looking for vinegar, but I can't find it."
The two wandered separate directions in search of the elusive items on their short lists. A few minutes later, my sister spied jars of gravy. She grabbed one. As she rounded the corner, she saw the man again.
"I found the gravy."
He held a bottle of vinegar towards my sister. "I found the vinegar."