There comes a time when even the best cooks need to consult the information in a book of recipes. Christmas is frequently one such time. Because a cook makes a special Christmas dish only once a year, that cook often forgets just what ingredients must be used, or at just what temperature the oven must be set. This information is what one finds in recipes.
But there are reasons other than forgetfulness that can cause a cook to follow the directions given in a collection of recipes. Christmas spirit is one such reason. Christmas spirit emphasizes a caring for the needs of family members. Christmas spirit focuses on sharing. What better item can a cook share than a collection of recipes?
When cooking with younger children a cook might want to place a piece of plastic over the recipes. Christmas spirit could create in little cooks such enthusiasm that a future Julia Child or Mr. Puck might carelessly dirty the recipe that the cook has made available. A piece of plastic can protect recipes and still allow them to be read.
At this point more should be said about the reading of recipes. Christmas gifts do not need to be something one can see. Christmas gifts can be the giving of a skill or knowledge. If a cook helps a small child to read a recipe, then that cook has given the child a wonderful gift. With luck that child might now choose to read even more recipes and could slowly improve as a reader.
For very young children a cook might choose to start with some simple cookie recipes. Christmas cookies frequently need to be cut into special shapes. The cutting of the cookie dough provides the young child with a fun task. Sometimes too the cookies should be covered with a thin glaze. The painting of Christmas cookies with a sugar glaze provides both a child and an adult with a memorable activity.
When working in the kitchen with older children, a cook might want to try using the kitchen "help" to make a special Christmas dish. This undoubtedly calls for consulting a collection of recipes. Christmas cooks make every effort to get a Christmas dish prepared correctly. The revealing of one or more recipes also discloses to others how much care has gone into the preparation of the Christmas meal.
Sometimes family members learn much from the sharing of recipes. Christmas used to mean for one Pennsylvania family the gift of a special baked good from one of the Aunts. One year the Aunt's sister-in-law wanted to learn how to make this same breakfast treat.
She thought she had all the ingredients on hand. Then she discovered that she would need 7 cups of flour. She exclaimed, "Why I never in my life had 7 cups of flour."
As the world gets smaller and smaller all cooks learn a great variety of recipes. Christmas recipes too can include a diverse number of dishes. Christmas dishes in Australia (Where it is summer in December.) differ considerably from the Christmas dishes in countries throughout Europe. Some countries focus more on the Winter Solstice, which comes just 5 days before Christmas. Cooks in those countries have their own special recipes.