Guess what time it is?

 

Oh, butter cookies of my youth, you are so crisp and so delicious.

Royal Dansk time — what did you think I was going to say?

Yesterday at lunch, I made my typical Walgreens run for Nothing in Particular. (The “Nothing” in question was Yes to Carrots conditioner, highly recommended by my stylist. With a near-empty bottle of conditioner at home and an unquenchable curiosity about Betsey’s claim, I went for the gold.) I asked my coworkers if they’d like me to pick up anything, to which NDW responded, “Oh, maybe a snack that isn’t too unhealthy.”

I don’t know how familiar you are with Walgreens’ snack aisle, but minimally caloric, low-fat and fiber-filled options are few and far between. I considered the off-brand Jingles cookies, stadium boxes of Lemonheads and Gummi Bears, and Ritz (NO) before indulging a craving I’d had all week. Days earlier, I’d spotted the Royal Dansk display, festively flanked by faux-pine sprays and boxes of tinsely ornaments, and I knew that I’d have to purchase a tin before season’s end.

Like so many of the foods for which I harbor fond memories, Royal Dansk cookies weren’t among my favorite cookies when I was a kid. I thought of them more as my dad’s treat; never such a sweet tooth as myself, my dad would enjoy a Dansk or two after dinner, scanning the fluted paper cups before making his decision. Back then, I was more into chocolate, I think, and those heavily frosted animal crackers dotted with sprinkles. (Note: I still kind of like those animal crackers, nasty though they are. In fact, I added some to the fro yo I got last weekend, and they were almost too sweet for my tastes. Almost.) Despite my tepid feelings toward the cookies, Royal Dansk figures large in my tableau of Childhood Christmas Memories. As Xmas neared, the cookie selection dwindled until only the round, un-sugar-sprinkled specimens were left. When the tin was finally empty, my mom would wash it and use it to store cookie cutters or crayons or other such small (and easily scattered) things. Associationally, then, RD commemorates not only Christmas in the Garklavs House, but a whole semi-forgotten assortment of childhood rituals, practices, and traditions.

Ah, Royal Dansk: your appearance on the shelves of drug and grocery stores signals the true beginning of the holiday season, more so even than pop-up tree lots, chill air, and nonstop carols on the radio. Happy pre-Thanksgiving, everyone, and enjoy a butter cookie (or two) if you can.

 

 

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