Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Cookies and Operations Research

It's the season of baking and what could be more fun before the end of the semester projects, presentations, and finals than to explore one's creativity in other ways. Once Thanksgiving is over and the turkey is fully digested, my daughter and I begin our holiday tradition of baking cookies for neighbors. This is quite the logistical operation, since we like to always include our tried and true recipes as well as to explore new ones. This year's cookie plates include: coconut chocolate-dipped macaroons, pecan shortbread logs, almond cookies with cherries, shortbread cookies, walnut rumballs, and what we call stained glass cookies (in star formation above), which are my daughter's specialty.

The baking is great fun, as well as the wrapping, but the most fun is when my daughter delivers them door to door (always determining the most efficient route first and identifying when the neighbors are likely to be home). Since she listened (without choice) to my graduate lectures on operations research and management science while in utero she is a natural when it comes to organization and efficiency. Plus, as a child of faculty members, she does tend to absorb the material that we can't help but discuss.

Plates of holiday cookies are a small way in which we acknowledge our terrific neighbors.

As for the family larder, we will have to bake again to replenish the cookie supplies.