Friday, January 7, 2011

And Now a Word About Baked Goods...

Let's explore the intricate and complex world of decorated, sugar Christmas cookies.  Facts we know:  they are good, they are pretty, they can be crumbly, we eat them at Christmas.  But did you know that there is a secret underworld in the Christmas cookie universe?  The following story is true - only the names have been changed to protect... the... uh... unprotected?  Anyway, read on:
Every December, a woman named Anne makes a call to a friend who makes a call to the secret cookie lady. This is done every year without fail. The cookies are AMAZINGLY delicious and beautifully decorated - Santas, reindeer, sleighs, presents, snowmen, angels all in technicolor frostings - you get the picture - they are the bomb.  The eating of these incredible treats has become a tradition for Anne's family - if she forgets to make the call - her son-in-law is fairly unforgiving.  He too knows the taste bud ecstasy these sumptuous creations bring once a year, and is sadly disappointed when the call to the secret cookie lady has been overlooked.
Traditionally, after the call has been made and an order has been placed, a few weeks pass.  Then, in the evening (and only after 7 pm) another call takes place.  This is to establish an exact time and place, and to reveal any other pertinent details  - like where the "drop off" will occur.  This routine has gone on unquestioned and without incident for years.  This year was different.  Anne was unable to meet the requirements - for she had to be elsewhere -  and asked her daughter, Trudy, to stand in and complete the deal.  All details were discussed and the exchange was about to unfold just as planned.
Trudy showed up at the designated parking lot before the light of dawn and waited... and waited... and waited.  No secret cookie lady.  Trudy made a few unobtrusive circles around the parking lot.  No secret cookie lady.  The sun was beginning to peek up over the horizon, and Trudy was getting nervous.  Had she remembered the details correctly?  Was this the right morning?  Had she missed the drop-off?  She quickly placed a call to Anne, and was reassured that she was in the right place at the right time.  So, against her better judgement, Trudy decided to contact the secret cookie lady at the secret cookie lady's place of business.  This action has been highly discouraged in the past, but Trudy began feeling desperate and could almost smell and taste freshly baked flour and sugar - and knew she just couldn't disappoint Anne.
Hi, my name is Trudy, may I speak wi-
Pshhhkeep your voice down.
My mom, Anne ordered a doz-
Shhh - I know who you are.  Just follow my directions.
My car is parked on the north side of the brick building.  It is blue and there is a "Baby on Board" sign in the back window.  There is a Bible under the front seat.  Leave the money in the second book of Luke.  The cookies are in an unmarked box under the jumper cables in the back seat. you want me to lock your-
No, keep your voice down.   Do not lock the car.
All right... thanks.  Merry Christm-
Happy Holidays.  Good-bye.  Click.
Sure enough, just as the secret cookie lady had described, the Bible, the jumper cables, the cookies, the "Baby on Board" sign, were all just as she said.  Trudy completed the directions as she was told, and the deal was officially done. 
Trudy was in a bit of a daze after the "cookie exchange" and related a few of the details to some of her colleagues when she arrived at work that day, and without hesitation, several of her co-workers spoke up quickly to reveal, that they too, had been through the same ordeal.  So this is my question:  Is the secret cookie lady really a secret - or just a baked goods spy wanna-a-be?  You be the judge.

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