I’m currently on an airplane, somewhere over… somewhere. Wisconsin? A Dakota? I don’t know, Philadelphia to Seattle is a long flight.
I’ve got a bag brim-full of wrapped and ribboned presents tucked into the overhead bin above me, and I’m trying to ignore the fact that this airplane is chilly/bumpy/loaded with screaming children by listening to Rihanna on repeat and thinking about gingerbread.
Holiday travel! The best of the worst things to happen every year.
Really, it’s not so bad. We put up with the crowds and the security probing and the lines (and that moment of panic when you finally get to the front of the line at airport security and all of a sudden you are required to safely stow your ID/passport and remove your jacket/shoes/scarf/jewlery/laptop/hand lotion/spare change from your person/bag at once and wait this makes no sense, I just stood in line for thirty minutes doing nothing but it’s all happening so fast now and the people behind me are gaining ground, their shoes are already off and hurry up with that little baggie of liquids and why didn’t I wear socks and oh! My goodness. That moment. Will I ever not panic on the inside at that moment?) — we put up with all of the hustle and bustle and moments of claustrophobia and panic because, at the end of the day, we know it will all lead to gingerbread. Or roast beef or sugar cookies or lo-mein or whatever. It leads to Christmas, with family or friends or both, however you choose to celebrate it.
I’m taking a break from my familiar movie-and-Chinese-food routine this year and celebrating with some real, live non-Jews. (!) I know. A crazy choice. I’ve heard there will be a tree and a big dinner (no mention of General Tsao or his chicken) and presents and a reluctant dip (or possibly non-dip) in the freezing ocean and maybe even some carols.
And gingerbread! Nana’s recipe. It’s sweet and spicy and utterly lovely, its texture akin to the fluffiest, springiest layer cake. I love that this gingerbread is heavy enough with spice to evoke the season but light enough in texture to happily follow a rich holiday meal.
Whether you’ll be eating sweet and spicy gingerbread or sweet and sour chicken on December 25th, I wish you happiness. Fullness, inside and out, at the table and everywhere else, too.