Today, I Smell Gingerbread…a Holiday Story

It’s not just the calendar that puts celebrators in the Christmas and Hannuka spirit. It’s a host of sights and sounds that makes these holidays special: the change to wintry weather; the hustle n’ bustle of gift shoppers; colorful decorations and lights illuminating neighborhoods, windows and shops; the gaiety of passersby offering holiday wishes; quiet moments spent in reflection and prayer. All help create a festive mood.

One of my favorites is the aroma of freshly baked desserts and treats filling our home and signaling the start of this special season. Yesterday, it was almond crescent cookies. The day before, I sniffed roasted walnuts and candied bark, white chocolate with craisins. Tomorrow will bring something new that tickles my senses and rewards my taste buds. But, today, I smell gingerbread.

What a pleasure to be awakened on a brisk winter morning with the smell of ‘just from the oven’ cranberry bread or molasses cookies wafting down the hall and finding me stubbornly stirring beneath the cover of a cozy quilt. My wife, an early riser, is eagerly preparing delicate desserts to be shared with friends and enjoyed with our meals. Yes, I know, I’m spoiled.

Later, the chilly air on a new December day welcomes those escaping kitchen aromas that intoxicate me with spices and sugars, as I finish some outside chores. My work can wait, I decide, and hurriedly make my way inside for some hot coffee and a sampling of today’s treats. Ahhh, I smell gingerbread.

These holidays have a ‘baking season’ like no other, where the kitchen is the arena and the clashing of the cookie sheets, muffin tins, bread pans and mixing bowls tells us that it’s ‘game on’, while the cook builds up to the highly anticipated call, ‘Bon Appetit’. It’s a race to blend, stir, beat and mix ahead of the beginning of the Hannukah and Christmas Day deadlines. The desserts and special dinners seemingly roll out of the kitchen and onto the dining table in a tsunami of meats and greens, biscuits and breads, truffles and spritz.๏ฟผ

When the calendar turns to January, the cooking slows, the menus change, and the emphasis is on dietary needs to help our bodies recover and prepare for spring. Is that possible? Yet, through the dark, cold winter months, I still yearn for the smell of gingerbread.

Spring rains roll into summer heat, and a warm kitchen loses its appeal. Quite unnoticed, the oven begins a period of involuntary hibernation. Delicacies are not a priority and a cold beer on a hot day will suffice. But nature is a wonderful thing. In a matter of time, the baking season will return in all its glory, and, once more, I will savor the smell of gingerbread in our home…

srbottch (11/23/2015)

Dedicated to my wife, who keeps our shelves filled with wonderful desserts during the Christmas holiday, and to cooks in their kitchens, everywhere.

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Retired in 2013 after 5 years as an elementary school teacher and 40 years as a sales representative to begin anew as a school crossing guard. SMy essays/stories are a way to communicate through the telling of personal experiences. One reader said about my blog stories, "...these are like a cold sip during a marathon run, simple, real life events". Another offered about my blog, โ€œit brings some sense of normalcy not easily found in the modern world.โ€

25 thoughts on “Today, I Smell Gingerbread…a Holiday Story”

  1. You do such a good job of calling something to our attention that we may not have noticed, or something we knew but put away in the recesses of our minds. I love this idea of the seasons changing in the kitchen just as they change in nature. This piece is a delicacy every bit as delicious as any treat from the oven! Thanks for inviting us in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am humbled by your request. I certainly don’t mind at all. I think a few more down-to-earth, uplifting essays that remind of something in our lives are worthy of exposure. Thank you for your interest. Steve.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Stop ..๐Ÿช๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŽ‚๐Ÿฉ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿจ๐Ÿง๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿ•
    I am diabetic.Your description hurts !
    I become nervous and addicted To Your description.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That means my writing must have the right ‘recipe’ if it’s impacting you that way, my friend. You got me started on this adventure with your insistence that I keep writing. A few extra nervous tics keeps you alert. Thanks, X!


  3. Pingback: S’Amusing |
    1. Gingerbread has the greatest aroma. And, my goodness, since it’s only the two of us here, guess who gets very, very spoiled. Gee, I think I’ll have some gingerbread right now…or pumpkin walnut bread…or, or…so many choices. (Thanks for the note)


    1. Can I? The aroma tapped danced across my olfactory nerve straight to me sleeping brain causing me to wake, throw off the covers, leap from the bed and dash to the kitchen….just y make sure our Jake the Dog wasn’t ‘shop lifting’ again. He recently ate an entire loaf of cinn-raisin bread we inadvertently left on the counter. Now, I refer to it as the $700 loaf. (Thanks for the nice reply…)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Steve,
    Your description of winter and the aroma of baking got a Pavlovian response from me. While I was reading, I was drinking my morning coffee with some roasted Almonds (my usual routine). Coffee tasted ok but all of a sudden the almonds got overhelmed by the mental feast of baked ‘menagerie’ in the kitchen. I had to get up and warm up a cookie.
    And then the engineering flight: what if this rich, warm and enticing aroma could be collected in little capsules and be used as a dietry supplement without the worry of weight gain. Do you think it will sell? You are the expert!
    Thanks for tikling some dorment neurons. Dursh

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wish I lived nearer – I would be popping in for some if thst gingerbread ! I can smell it from here !
    A lovely piece of writing , too Steve !
    Well done !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I need to bake this week! Your beautifully written post reminds us of the all-important little things, especially over the holidays. Thank you for stopping to smell the roses…er, I mean the gingerbread.


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