Christmas Cheer and Carols

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Bit of a red letter day for me today. For the first time in many years I baked not one but three cakes for the annual Choir Tea preceding the school’s Nine Lessons service. That’s Flylady organization for you.

It all began as a simple idea to invite our new next-door neighbours around to properly meet the elderly neighbour living the other side, who is 91 and had not had a change of neighbor since 1976. After weeks and weeks of struggling to find a mutually convenient date for five people, I settled for morning coffee and cake today, and half an hour of husband’s presence. I was optimistic that if I continued to pour coffee and serve cake after the first 30 minutes was up, our neighbours would not think husband’s departure was a big hint for everyone else to leave.

Producing a reasonable quantity of hospitable-looking cake was therefore critical, and I set to with gusto. Even though current dietary restrictions preclude me from tasting anything I baked, it was actually huge fun. As a bit of a sugar-phobe, I’ve focussed in recent years on low-carb variants of all sorts of goodies. But today I just went with the flow of the ancient cookery book; butter icing made with 8oz of icing sugar to 4oz of butter. Mince pies with proper pastry and a frangipane topping. Refrigerator cake made with real milk chocolate.

Not surprisingly, when I entered the room with these carb-fest creations, everyone looked a mite overwhelmed. I reassured them that there was no pressure to eat any of it: I would be taking anything left over to the school’s annual choir tea. And so it was I turned up this afternoon laden with home-baked goodies for the first time in years.

Prodigal Son (home from university), Middle Daughter and Youngest Daughter were all singing in the service, and I felt incredibly proud of the still-evolving domestic organization which had led me to this place of supportive and committed motherhood involvement.

Luckily, despite my no-tasting rule, Middle Daughter pronounced my efforts quite delicious, and so they should be, I thought, as I visualised the quantities of butter, sugar, flour and chocolate involved.

Aaaah, tradition. Nine lessons and carols; choirs in festive robes; garlanded lit candles; soaring voices; and full sugar cakes. Nothing beats it.

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