Mary Holiday cookies

First things first, I want to wish a very happy holiday season to all of my readers, and give a huge thanks to all of the people who have visited the site, bought a book, and just generally been so kind and supportive of me in my new endeavor as a cookbook author and baking advocate. I hope the recipes on the site and in the book have helped you on your own baking journey, and helped spread love and comfort to your friends and family.

I also wanted to look back and reflect on what has been a unique and challenging year for so many of us. In difficult times such as these, it can be easy and tempting to give into despair, to bemoan the fact that plans are ruined, and that things aren’t the “way they used to be.” 

What I try to do is focus on things that are really important to me. For example, as the size of social groups has narrowed, I am learning that smaller groups can also be more intimate groups. Of course there are people I miss and look forward to spending time with, but for now I am trying to really cherish and appreciate the time I have with the people I can be with, and form a stronger bond.

These times have really emphasized the importance of simplicity in my life, and how simple gestures can be so profound, such as a kind word, an act of encouragement, or an apology for instances where we have messed up.

The past year has also brought home to me how fortunate I am to have a safe haven, a sanctuary to concentrate on the things that bring me contentment and happiness. For me, the kitchen is such a place; partially because of how much I love the mere process of baking, of creating, selecting, mixing, and cooking. But the kitchen is also sacred to me because it’s the place where I get to make things that  allow me to share my passion, to “spread the love,” in the simple act of providing sweet, fulfilling, and comforting treats for my friends and family.

Mary with Children Baking

I try to extend this idea to my charitable partners, the Hephzibah Children’s Association and the Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society. They have gone above and beyond in providing a sense of family, safety, and warmth to the most vulnerable in our society: at-risk children. That’s why I’m so passionate about helping them in their mission, and why I’m donating 100 percent of the proceeds from sales of my cookbook to support their vital work.

As Winston Churchill once said: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” I hope to bring this spirit with me into 2021. 

Wishing you the very happiest of holiday seasons, 

And the very best of bakes!

August 31, 2022 — Mary DiSomma