day of week

Communal Cookie Making

4 February 2005

Ooh, I love this time of year. The other day, I went to visit my mother. She, my grandmother and a whole host of my aunties were zipping around making yummy Chinese cookies for the Luna New Year. Her dining table was groaning with the weight of pineapple tarts, love letters, kok chai’s (peanut puffs, pictured) and zillions of other things I don’t know how to pronounce. There were bags of flour on the floor, lumps of doughs on chairs, bottles of fruit and nuts in boxes, and towers of biscuit tins and cookie-making things in doorways. There was a certain Chinese-kitchen madness to it all. And the whole house smelt like the inside of a warm, sugary pastry kitchen. Just divine.

Coming together and making Chinese New Year goodies is a yearly tradition for my mum’s generation. My generation has never been involved in it. We were always “too young” and “got in the way” of a well oiled system. We were always too slow. Made them too big. Used too much filling. Burnt the sides. Rolled the pastry too thin. Or didn’t press the edges down properly. In the end, we would just sit around waiting for the wonky shaped ones to cook so we could eat them, and and lick the mixing bowls.

Anyway, I thought I’d turn up to the fiasco this year, and hopefully someone would let me fold some pastry. (Just like PlayDoh, right?) But unfortunately, I had my hands full with Callum, who spent most of the afternoon trying to stick his fingers into the dough and eating the fallen nuts off the floor.

In the end, I did come away with a larger portion of cookies, flour on my face, and the feeling that I could be up for some big-time cooking lessons next year.