Danish Butter Cookies

As I am typing this, there is a tin of Danish butter cookies in my office's kitchen. This is not the first time there have been Danish butter cookies in the kitchen. Every so often, our company secretary restocks the snacks, and for the past few months this has included a tin of cookies. They never last very long--a week, tops--which is unsurprising because they are tasty and conveniently bite-sized. Everyone loves them. I have an especially hard time avoiding them because in addition to loving their crumbly, buttery goodness, they also remind me of Christmases during my childhood.

Every year when I was a kid, my dad's family would take a trip to Lake Tahoe for the week between Christmas and New Year's. My grandparents, my dad, an aunt and uncle, my brothers, and my cousins would all crowd into a cabin we'd rent and have a week of playing in the snow. It doesn't often snow where I'm from, so it was a big treat for me and the rest of the kids. My older brother usually brought friends and went skiing a lot; the rest of the kids only skied the last day. The rest of the time we'd go sledding or just play in the back yard, making snow forts, digging snow tunnels, and generally running around like crazy people in the snow. If we felt like staying inside, sometimes we'd play card games (my grandma knew about six million different games) or hide and seek, or play video games on the living room TV, which was next to a wood-burning stove that was kept going for more or less the entire week.

What does all of that have to do with cookies? Well, every time we went to that cabin, we brought the same snacks with us. One of those big tins with three kinds of popcorn in it (plain, caramel, and cheddar) and a tin of Danish butter cookies. That was pretty much the only time of the year I ever saw either of those, so now whenever I taste one of those cookies, I picture a scene from one of our Tahoe trips. Like my cousins and I playing with the little toy voice recorder one of us had gotten for Christmas, which let you speed up or slow down whatever you recorded. Or the time I found a rock that looked like ice under the deck. (I still have it.) Or knocking icicles off the roof with rocks and watching them crash on the ground below--and, of course, having my dad or aunt yell at us to knock it off before we broke a window.

Of course, back then I was still energetic and growing, so cookies and popcorn were no big deal. Nowadays, on the other hand, with my sedentary lifestyle and general laziness, I do everything I can to distract myself from the knowledge that rich, sugary nostalgia is just down the hall. My only hope is hoping that the other engineers will have eaten them all before I crack, giving me a few weeks of reprieve. Unfortunately, having written this piece has brought the cookies to my attention, and the new tin just showed up on Friday.

Ah, screw it. Isn't this why I bought an elliptical trainer, anyway?