Holiday Baking with Kids
By Sarah Lambersky
While sorting totes in my parents’ basement with my daughter, I stumbled upon one full of old family photos. My four year old was delighted to find ‘pictures of mommy when she was a girl’. Between family holidays, summer camp and school photos; there was enough material to keep us exploring for at least an hour. But, what stood out to me were the pictures of my family baking together.
Holidays were upbeat and festive in my house. There was a frenzied energy around menu planning, grocery shopping and meal preparation. My mom would spend a few evenings in the kitchen cooking up a storm for family and friends who would later grace our table. The most fun though, was baking together on the holidays. On Thanksgiving, I remember standing in the kitchen beside my mom baking apple pies. On other holidays, we baked cookies, bars and cakes. There was always music playing in the background as we measured, stirred and poured. Usually, we listened to jazz, Barbra Streisand or Broadway musicals.
As the sous-chef, my job evolved from sprinkling cinnamon sugar on cookies and pressing buttons on the food processor to rolling out pie crusts and measuring ingredients. Menu selection was also an exhilarating task as little kid. I remember flipping through my mom’s cookbooks and her binder full of recipes clipped from newspapers and magazines. As I grew older it was printouts of favorite Internet recipes.
However, the best part of cooking with my mom was listening to the stories she shared — especially her memories of cooking with her grandmother. When my mom and I made sugar cookies with extra scraps of pie dough, I knew it was because she did the same when she baked with my great grandmother.
Today as I look back on old photos, it is time to carry on the family baking tradition with my own kids. On a day to day basis, my husband and I involve our older daughter in the kitchen as much as possible. However, baking for loved ones on the holidays adds something magical and memorable to the experience.