Monday was Christmas cookie baking day. Mabel's Grandma drove over in the morning from the East Bay and Mabel's Mamma took a day off from her busy, much-loved publishing job and Mabel's Daddy went out in the rain for baking supplies – and then everybody got down to the laborious, gratifying, intricate procedures of measuring, mixing, rolling, cutting out, sprinkling, arranging, baking, removing from the oven and cooling on racks. Mabel used her sturdy squat black step-stool so she could operate at kitchen-counter height and contribute to the efforts at every stage – except that she always makes sure to keep a healthy distance away from the hot oven, watching from the safety of her stool-perch (and offering advice) while others do the oven parts.
I came along later, just when the cooled cookies were due to be stored away for crispness in tight-lidded tins. But before that could happen, Mabel agreed to taste several samples and guarantee their quality.