Most traditions are just passed down from generation to generation and we don't really know how or when they actually began. Not so with "The Rogenmoser Cookie Cook-Off". That is because this particular tradition is a young one; only 4 years old to be exact. However, it is one that I hope continues for many years and through many generations of Rogenmosers to come.
Four years ago, Robby and I found our "nest" absolutely empty for the first time in a very long time. Caitlin had gone off to college, Ryan was already there, David was living in Pennsylvania that year and Justin had just gotten married and was living out of town. I knew that everyone would be coming in eventually for the holidays, but I woke up that Saturday morning feeling sort of let down. Sensing this, Robby decided (as he always does...) he needed to remedy this situation. And voila'...a new tradition was born! Being from a long line of cooks, Robby thinks (and actually after all these years of living with him I agree...) that cooking can make everybody feel better...I wonder if that is what is meant by"comfort food"? Just a thought...Anyway, he had this great idea that he and I should spend the entire day baking Christmas cookies. So, after looking up various recipes on the computer, we headed off to town to purchase our ingredients. And WOW! Did we ever get some ingredients. One would have thought that we were personally cooking for a soup kitchen with the HUGE bags of flour and sugar and tons of butter that we purchased in bulk from Sam's. That day, after beginning the baking process, we did not leave the house again...actually didn't even get finished baking all of those cookies until late into the evening. Then looking over our cookie-filled counter tops at the hundreds of cookies, we wondered what in the world we would ever do with all of them. In the end, we decided to package them up and give them away as small Christmas gifts to friends around town. When the next year rolled around, Robby mentioned how much fun we had the previous year baking cookies and that perhaps we should ask the kids to join us in another round of cookie baking...thus, The Rogenmoser Cookie Cook-Off tradition was born!
That year, we asked everyone to pair up with someone, find a recipe (or two) and bring any special ingredients they may need...we would provide the rest. Let me just tell you this...there was flour and sugar flying from various mixers as everyone was fighting to get theirs started first. My little doxies were in heaven! Generally they roam around the kitchen floor while we are cooking, just waiting for a morsel to drop; today they had hit a gold mine! I must say that, that year, some of the BEST cookies ever were produced at the Cookie Cook-Off. We had even MORE cookies than the year before, so LOTS more people in town got surprise cookie packages. Year 3, we added in a little competition (everyone KNOWS how this crew LOVES a good competition...) by asking someone to sample each cookie made and declare a winning cookie. The winner? Well, the cooks were Ryan and Caitlin. The winning cookie was 2 sugar cookies that were cut into Christmas shapes, sandwiched together with a chocolate filling, covered with chocolate icing and topped with crushed peppermint! I told you they take competitions seriously around here...
This year, the tradition continued. We had to work around schedules a little more; medical school rotations, dental school, college, jobs, a new baby...you know how it is when your own kids begin to start families and lives of their own. However, I hope that this will be a family tradition that continues through all of that. That perhaps every year in December, all of my kids and grand kids will make the trek home to bake cookies as one of our family traditions that marks the beginning of the Christmas holiday season.