Grandmother and granddaughter baking cookies

Turkey Traditions

November 11, 2017

Ever since I can remember our holidays have been centered around food and gathering together in the kitchen to prepare the meal, it has always been a family affair. It didn’t matter what the holiday, but Thanksgiving has always been a favorite of mine. My Noni and her two sisters would start weeks in advance, pulling out serving dishes, china, baking, and arranging fresh flowers. One tradition we all looked forward to was their famous Turkey Cookies.

Family baking cookies and cookie recipe

These cookies are thin crispy butter cookies that melt in your mouth and pair well with a hot cup of tea. They would morph into Christmas trees, and silver bells during Christmas, and bunnies and chicks at Easter. But undoubtedly, the turkeys were our favorite.

The three ladies each had their unspoken roles in the process. My Noni would prep the dough the night before, and sit at the kitchen counter cutting the cherries and currants for decoration. They would gather everything together and bake cookies for family and friends for a day, sometimes two. Auntie Ida would roll, Noni would cut out the turkeys, and Auntie Laura would sprinkle the sugar and man the oven. I was normally in tow for this process with my Noni and would fill in here and there, but my favorite job was eating the ones that got just a little too dark. This tradition carried well into the laddies’ 90’s until they passed the torch down.

Family baking cookies, turkey butter cookies

Last year was our first Thanksgiving without the ladies. We sadly lost them all within a year. But what they left behind is alive and well! This year we celebrate our second annual Turkey Cookie Baking. My mom has taken over Noni’s job of prepping the dough the night before. My Aunts and cousins gather at our house and we bake, each taking on a different roll, each remembering how lucky we are to have each other, each full of gratitude for those that came before us. Grazie di tutto!


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