Dec 2, 2008

A mmm-mmm-good Christmas metaphor

by Tim Mattingly

They all say, “It’s the thought that counts,” with piles of presents, stockings stuffed to bursting and things of the Christmas sort. Of course, if “they” say it, it must be true or they would not say it at all. But by the beard of Santa, I swear, it is not the thought that counts as much as the chocolate chip cookie, which accompanies it, figuratively speaking.

Before I delve into the ooey-gooey of this Christmas cookie conundrum, consider the following recipe. “Homemade” cookies, of the chocolate-chip persuasion, require one-part egg, another-part butter and a healthy dose of chocolaty cookie mix, according to Betty Crocker. All of these elements combined create quite the tasty treat, which translates well into the holiday environment and all things Christmas.

The first bit of business is the egg or, to be precise, what the devil represents and by that I mean the deviled egg. With that said, an egg alone simply represents an unhatched idea, or the “thought” in “thought that counts.” There are many different ways to prepare an egg, such as scrambled and sunny-side up. But scrambled thoughts never lead to much, and sunny-side up ideas are easily popped and generally messy.

Which brings us back to deviled eggs. Ideas are best formed when left to boil on the mental back burner before they are finally peeled and cracked open. Now, the white of the egg is the general shell of the idea — leave it as it is, while you remove the yoke, or the meat of the idea and work with it. Take that little yellow ball and mash it around with a few personal touches. Once it is spiced up a bit, insert it back into its white frame and voilà — a well-thought-out Christmas idea starts to take form.

A reminder: while deviled eggs work well for our metaphorical mix, it is not recommended for literal application.

Which brings us to the next ingredient — butter. Anyone who is of sound mind and/or southern roots loves butter. Therefore, in the figurative realm of cookie-making, butter symbolizes the care and heart required for any proper Christmas creation. For easier mixing purposes the recipe calls for “softened” butter. So, come the holidays, if a heart is not the consistency of (let’s say) Country Crock easy spread, then it may need to be left out a while to thaw. For the harder of hearts, take this time out on life’s counter to consider the “reason for the season” and let your buttery guard relax.

Once holiday heart and personal thoughts combine in the Christmas mixing bowl, it is time for the final ingredient — the chocolate chip cookie mix, representing family and friends.

After all, what is the point of Christmas cheer if there is no one to share it with. The wonderful thing about family and friends is that they bring over 300 chocolate chips to the holiday, according to Betty Crocker. And each little chunk of chocolate represents a sweet melt-in-your-mouth memory shared or created during the Christmas season.

Now combine all the ingredients on a non-stick cookie sheet of selflessness. Then place it in a toasty oven of holiday cheer, until it turns a shade of golden brown. Finally, take a bite and savor the spirit of the season this year, as its aroma floods nostrils and its warmth resonates in contented Christmas bellies.


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