Once upon a time in the 80s, my mom was invited to participate in a Christmas Cookie Exchange. I was too young to know the deets and how this thing all went down. All I know is that my mother left our home with a shit-ton of Christmas Cookies and returned with a shit-ton of Other People’s Christmas Cookies.
Be still, my Fat(greek)Kid heart.
Right in front of my naive little face lay a variety, a MASSIVE variety…of A-M-E-R-I-C-A-N Christmas cookies. And when I say “American,” what I really mean is “a cookie not made by a Greek person.”
My eyes scanned the whole lot…the shapes, the colors, the decorations. Can you even eat that? Or do you have to pick it out first, in the same way you pick out the clove from the kourambiethes before you eat one? Is there a dental risk? Am I going to break a tooth by biting into an unexpected dime or a gold coin? I wondered…
Then my gaze fell upon the most interesting cookie of all. It was round, and sort of orange-ish and brown-ish. It appeared to be dusted in sugar. But the most fascinating thing about this mysterious cookie…
…was that it had a WHOLE Hershey’s Kiss on top. Not a bunch of little half-assed chocolate chips. One huge bite of chocolatey goodness right on top. Hell-to-the-yes.
I know NOW that it was called a Peanut Butter Blossom…the only thing I knew then was that it was fucking delicious.
My mom made peanut butter cookies as part of her Christmas cookie collection, but never a Peanut Butter Blossom. Those amazing delicacies were only meant to be enjoyed at The Americans’ Christmas Gatherings and/or Cookie Exchanges. Peanut Butter Blossoms were just NOT a Greek thing.
I’m not sayin’ Greeks wouldn’t eat them. I’m just sayin’ they wouldn’t make them. ESPECIALLY not in the 80s.
When I started dating Ron, he was shocked and intrigued about my enthusiasm over Peanut Butter Blossoms. What was “just a Christmas cookie” to him…was an elusive delicacy to me.
During our dating years, I wasn’t much into baking. Even after we got married, I didn’t really make Christmas cookies (we didn’t need that sort of sugar laying around the house). But in 2011, when Gabriel was 3 and I was 31, it was time to start some Christmas cookie traditions. Plus, I needed something to leave out for Santa.
It’s hard to believe that I was 31 years old the first time I made Peanut Butter Blossoms. It was such a big deal to me–so naturally I have pictures.
Oh sweet Mother of God, they turned out delicious.
Gabriel was so excited about them…that he had to show Costa. His lovey.
This is all well and good, but surely you’re thinking, “Come on. It’s a Peanut Butter Blossom. I highly doubt all the Greek households across America were devoid of Peanut Butter Blossoms.”
If that’s what you’re thinking, you’d be wrong. I mean–it’s not like all of us Greeks get together and bitch and moan about the Christmas cookies our Mamás wouldn’t make for us. It’s just not typical conversation.
So you see, when my lifelong friend (as in–we go WAY back to Sunday School in the 80s) posted THIS on Instagram today…….well, I about died.
They look wonderful, Maria! And I bet they taste just as wonderful!
Now I’d like to bring your attention to my friend Maria’s IG Username, greekgirl81.
Indeed….Maria is a Greek girl. Maria is a 32 year old Greek girl. Who just made Peanut Butter Blossoms for the first time. Ever.
Hellenic High Five, girl. Hellenic High Five. Congratulations on breaking down the multicultural Christmas cookie barrier…how does it feel?
I remember how I felt…back in 2011. As my first batch of Peanut Butter Blossoms came out of the oven, and I raced to put each Hershey Kiss in its designated space… I felt a sense of purpose wash over me. I felt like maybe this innocent act of baking would bring us closer to world peace, or at the very least–some cultural tolerance and understanding.
I felt powerful. Like anything I put my mind to…I could do. Perhaps I’d tackle some Gingerbread Men next. Or… a Yule Log. Washed down with Wassail. I wonder if I can convince Mamá to skip the Christmas Lamb and go with Christmas Ham?
I think I can. If I can make Peanut Butter Blossoms, I can do anything.
Oh HAAAAAAAAAAIL yeah.
And hey–what’s YOUR favorite Christmas cookie? Tell me in the comments section, and do me a solid–join the Glitter & Bruises Facebook community HERE.