A few flakes of snow was all the reason my mother needed. “I can’t believe I forgot your doctor’s appointment,” she said, picking me up early from school, emphasizing the phrase “doctor’s appointment” just enough so that I would know what she was talking about. In our shared vocabulary, “doctor’s appointment” was sometimes a synonym for “let’s play hooky and bake some cookies.” A sweet treat for a lonely child. At the time, my mother and grandmother were my best—really, only—friends.
I was 10 years old and apt to use words like “eponymous,” with a chronic disease and a body made fat by the steroids prescribed to treat it. At school, my chances for connection were few. At home, in my mother’s kitchen, they were endless.
There, I could crack eggs in perfect time with the Christmas carols playing on the radio; I could roll cookie dough into tablespoon-size balls with aplomb. My mother and I could talk and laugh freely—about my father, my brother, the books we were reading, the way our yard looked instantly improved by an inch or two of fresh snow. And then, an hour later, there would be cookies. Usually, at least three or four dozen in all.
“See?” said my mother. “Marvelous things can happen when we come together. Marvelous things can happen when we love.”
There is a lot of love in this issue. In Sag Harbor, a bakery employs young adults with special needs to bake some of our region’s sweetest cookies. In Smithtown, a husband-and-wife team of writers partners with local brewers to fight food waste and brew beer with wasted bagels. In Cutchogue, a farmer approaches cidermaking with reverence; in East Hampton, a baker creates spectacular pies made, in large part, with ingredients grown by her friends.
These are the stories I will tell as I gather with my friends and family this holiday season—my last as a single woman, as I prepare for my wedding in March. Because even as the world seems hostile, or a tweet or two away from becoming completely dark, there are still so many of us who are coming together. There are still so many of us who love. So, take a break from your hectic holiday shopping and really look around. Savor these festive moments. Marvelous things abound.
Wishing you and yours the happiest holidays,