December is around the corner and it is time for me to make plans for my Christmas baking. Although I must confess that I am not in a very Christmassy mood and maybe this sounds crazy to you but I am already tired of Christmas. Sigh.
On the one hand the weather is not in particular wintery these days. Today it was 14 °C and I almost took off my winter coat and my scarf. I even saw some people wearing only their sweaters; and this at the end of November. I do not think I have ever seen this in my life before or at least I cannot remember it.
On the other hand I feel that the Christmas season already started back in September. When I came back from my three months summer stay in Seoul, South Korea, and I went to the grocery store I was greeted by Christmas cookies and other Christmassy sweets. When I saw this, I was literally in a cultural shock and totally hated it. Every time I went to the store I went a long way around the Christmas sweets in order to avoid any Christmas depression. Furthermore, since the middle of October Vienna started to prepare for their annual Christmas markets and their extravagant Christmas decorations (probably to attract even more tourists than the city already has all year round). On my daily morning jogs I could see these Christmas preparation and I hated it. I love the fall season and it is my favorite time of the year. There lies so much beauty in autumn. Not only have the leaves of the trees the most beautiful but I like the season especially for its gloomy atmosphere. I had the most beautiful jogs in the morning while it was foggy (nothing tops foggy weather) but somehow the fall atmosphere was ruined by the Christmas preparation.
And now December is approaching - the actual Christmas season starts - I have no idea how to handle the situation. You see I take it very seriously but do not worry, take all my writing with a grain of salt. I just take a lot of pleasure in writing nonsense – well, most of the time. This year I do not know how many Christmas cookies I am baking, how many new recipes I will try out, what kind of Christmas bread I am making. I have absolutely no plans in comparison to previous years where I made a list of Christmas cookies that I wanted to make. Two years ago I made a note in my diary and can you believe this: I made 24 different kinds of Christmas cookies (making Christmas cookies takes a lot of time) and 10 different kinds of breads in seven days. I think this was my record and I doubt I will ever top this record.
But, while writing these lines, I came up with one plan. I am making Stollen (it is a kind of fruit cake) which I have never done in my life. A few years ago I made a Quarkstollen but this is not the same as the traditional Stollen. I will write a separate post about Stollen. When my mom reads these lines, I do not know what she will think about this idea. Maybe she will faint or maybe she will like this idea. I am little bit nervous about her reaction.
When I grew up my mom made only Swedish Christmas cookies and I was the one who introduced German traditional cookies. But there is one typical German Christmas tradition that my mom makes and that is Stollen. It takes a lot of time preparing Stollen and you have to make it two to three weeks in advance because the Stollen has to rest in order to develop its full flavor. My mom is always a little stressed out while making Stollen. When my family eats the Stollen on Christmas Day the topic of conversation, can you guess it, is how the Stollen turned out. My mom is always über-critical about the outcome of the Stollen (maybe something that I have inherited from her). Beside the Stollen topic, we discuss how my dad decorated the Christmas tree and the tree itself is an important issue as well. We always have a real tree in the living room and every year it is a challenge for my parents to choose the right tree because we need of course the most beautiful and perfect tree. There is always a lot discussion while setting up the Christmas tree and either my mom or my dad is not happy with the choice of tree. But in the end, when the tree is decorated and my dad light up the candles in the tree on Christmas Day, my mom stands in front of the tree and admire it and say “isn’t the tree beautiful this year”. That always makes me smile because every year it is the same. I think we are all part of a Christmas comedy and everyone has a part in it and has to play the same role every year.
I can’t believe that I wrote so much nonsense in one blog entry. I intended to write about my Christmas baking plans. Forgive me, but maybe I made you smile and that is all what matters.
Next time I will write again about the serious business of my baking adventurous. My first adventure of this upcoming Christmas season is to master the art of making Stollen. I am already getting nervous about this adventure but trust me I will calm down as soon as I am in the kitchen.