Funny the things we assume and take for granted. Tomorrow several women will gather at church to decorate cookies for a Valentine's Day delivery. On the phone with one of them the other day she said something about cookie-making materials being on sale at Walmart, and mentioned cookie mix and icing.
"Icing?" I said to her.
I considered for a moment. "What kind of icing?"
"You know, in a can. Betty Crocker." There was a pause at my end. "Why? Is there some other kind of icing I should get?"
"Well, royal icing, but you can't buy that, you make it." I replied. Again, silence. "That's what we always used to ice cookies when I was growing up," I finally offered.
Pause. "I've never heard of royal icing."
Once again, my experience, my norms were different from someone else's. Neither of us were right or wrong, our experiences were just different.
There was a lot of baking done in our home when I was growing up. Christmas was big, of course, but my mother made more batches of brownies (from scratch!) than any other mother on the block combined. I swear! Cakes, cookies, pies (with my Other Mother, Anna--she made the crust, Mom made the filling--a great model of teamwork for us kids), rugelech, cupcakes, toffee, and oh, did I mention brownies?
It's been a long time since I've decorated cookies, but today I'll dust off a recipe for royal icing so that I can do my share of decorating tomorrow. First, though, I guess I'd better make some cookies.