Cookie Day

By Jackie Reedy

(PHOTO/ Jackie Reedy,

Smells of pine, cinnamon and chocolate chip cookies fill the house. Six-feet-3 inches tall, Dad stands with a red apron tied around his waist, two eggs in hand ready to crack the yolks into a mixing bowl. I sit to his left, peeling wrappers off Hershey caramel kisses and placing the naked chocolates in a dish. The Kitchen Aid mixer whines as it swirls butter and sugar, the eggs and flour into light and fluffy dough. Bags of macadamia nuts, pecans and M&Ms line the kitchen counter. Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas” blares from the computer speakers. Nicole and her friends sit at the kitchen table, wearing green and red aprons as they decorate angel, snowman, Christmas tree and star-shaped sugar cookies using icing, sprinkles and red imperial candies. Mom washes the measuring cups, cookie sheets and mixing bowls at the sink, getting them ready for Dad’s next recipe. Neighbors and friends stop by the house to witness and join our epic family tradition. It is a brisk Saturday morning in December.

Cookie Day started out as a father-daughter occasion back when we lived in Maryland. I was eight years old and Nicole was five. “Your dad just decided to do it,” Mom says. “He wanted to have his day with his girls.” Mom would go shopping, run errands and get her nails painted while we stayed at home baking Grandma Jo’s famous sugar press cookies, Neiman Marcus’ signature chocolate chip cookies and Betty Crocker’s chocolate toffee nut crunch bars. Mom would come home to a kitchen covered in flour and crumbs. Now she stays home and cleans throughout Cookie Day but remains clear of the actual cookie baking.

Hardworking, intelligent and reliable, Dad is a successful businessman. He is a senior vice president for the world’s largest printing company. Unlike many businessmen I know, Dad separates work from home. He by no means lives for his job; Dad lives for his family.

Each year he finds a new way to improve our annual Cookie Day event. Dad’s first major development was refrigerating the sugar press cookie dough to make its consistency easier to push through the cookie press. Another year he learned that taping parchment to the kitchen countertops dramatically minimized clean-up time. Cookie Day reached a new level of seriousness when Dad bought an electronic Betty Crocker cookbook. His latest concern has been baking order. “Really the hardest part of Cookie Day is timing everything so that everyone always has something that they are happy to be doing,” Dad says. “The sugar cookies have to be made first so that there is something to decorate.”

In September 2001, Dad’s job moved our family to Atlanta. As I entered high school and Nicole middle school, Cookie Day exploded into a free-for-all. While Nicole, quite the teen socialite, invited all of her friends, I remained loyal to my position as Dad’s assistant. I sifted flour, melted chocolate and cleared the cookie cooling racks. However, as I grew older, I too became less interested in the cookie making and more into Cookie Day socializing. I handed over my assistant responsibilities to our family friend’s little boy. Dad did not seem to mind the transition, though, he says he is always just happy to spend his day with his girls.

Now that I am in college, Cookie Day has a deeper meaning for me. Last year I invited my college friends to take part in my family’s annual event. Wine and holiday punches made their way into the Cookie Day festivities, but the family-oriented atmosphere remained the same. Dad, a little older now, put down black rubber rugs to stand on and alleviate pressure on his knees. He baked from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Seeing my friends’ admiration for him and his Cookie Day made me realize how blessed I truly am to experience such a grand event each year. Dad has already set the date for this year’s Cookie Day. It will be December 19th.  All are invited, and I hear that he and Mom bought chef hats for everyone.



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