“You can be too old for a lot of things, but you’re never too old to be afraid.”– Marley
What are we doing watching a Christmas movie in the middle of the summer? Well, I (Leanna) had never seen Home Alone, and we decided now was the perfect time to watch a movie about being stuck at home, unable to see your family or friends. Like us, Kevin’s situation is largely the fault of some irresponsible adults who made some very egregious mistakes like entrusting responsibilities to people who were ill–equipped to handle them, lacking empathy in difficult situations, and ignoring problems when they first arose.
But you’re probably screaming, “Wait, wait, wait! Back up! Leanna never saw Home Alone? Is she really a child of the 90s?” Yes, dear reader, I was born just two weeks after this movie premiered, and yet I didn’t watch it for 30 long years. Why? Because my entire childhood I remember my mother repeating, “I hate those Home Alone movies. They are so stupid.” And, like many things my mother has told me that I now regret taking at face value, I didn’t watch any of the Home Alone movies because I assumed they were stupid.
So, I finally asked her why she hated it, and her response did not disappoint: “I like all the actors but the jokes seemed a bit too juvenile and not funny like Uncle Buck, Blazing Saddles, Seinfeld, My Cousin Vinny, Galaxy Quest – real comedy classics to me.” Quite an unexpected mix there! And also some pretty wild comparisons considering Uncle Buck inspired Home Alone…
I digress. Like many things I cannot change my mother’s mind on, I can’t convince her Home Alone is a good movie. But we did have a lot of fun watching it. This might have been because we made a menu entirely comprised of cookies.
We all recounted holidays spent at home with a seemingly endless supply of Christmas cookies. If we were stuck at home like Kevin, we’d probably have just gorged ourselves on cookies. And each of us had a signature cookie that we always remember making, eating, and sharing with our friends and family.
For me, it was the white chocolate and cranberry cookie. My dad is a white chocolate fan, so this was always the cookie my mother would make for him to give her free license to try whatever new cookie recipes she thought looked interesting. It’s the basic bitch of Christmas cookies, but we still very much enjoyed them.
For André, it was biscotti dipped in chocolate. His mom has made a tradition of baking dozens of these cookies and then wrapping them nicely and bringing them with her to every Christmas party to share. They do not disappoint, and neither did these. We especially enjoyed them for the next couple of mornings dipped in our coffee.
For Ben, it was butterballs. These dense, almost savory cookies are difficult to stop eating. The flavor is simple but so satisfying. Ben has continued to make these cookies every year and share them with us, and it is always such a treat.
But we didn’t stop there. Ben developed a brand new cocktail (recipe below) that tasted like a boozy thumbprint cookie in the best way. The tough thing about a thumbprint cookie is that it has a distinct look to it that needed to be recreated in cocktail form. It’s clear that the name comes from the indent in each cookie that is usually filled with a jam or jelly, so it is was kind of a requirement to have a similar effect with the drink.
To get this effect we placed a brandied cherry and a little bit of its syrup in a coupe glass. Then, using a bar spoon, we poured a mixture of rum, Amaretto (for the nutty flavor), cherry liquor, and allspice dram (for complexity), and topped it all off with St. Germain (to imbue a little bit more of a cookie sweetness). All of this resulted in a surprising and thematic cocktail perfect for the holiday season.
Like our holiday cookie traditions, Home Alone holds up. It’s a zany, family-friendly, holiday comedy that is very 90s in its costuming, set design, dialogue, and themes. Each character plays an archetype you’d expect in this genre of movie from this decade (like the bully, the angry parent, the suspicious older neighbor, etc.), so rather than get into the practicality of Kevin’s pranks or even the likelihood that a parent could really forget their child at home, I thought it would be more fun to examine how these characters would react to our current pandemic.
So, here is our definitive list of characters in Home Alone who would wear a mask:
Kevin McCallister: Definitely. He proves himself a resourceful, responsible child who understands when something is dangerous and must be taken seriously. This kid would probably fashion a makeshift mask out of a Christmas sweater if he had to (after lamenting about how his parents took all of his on the trip) and may even add a few additional ~ features ~ to help him combat anti-maskers if encountered.
Harry and Marv: Yes. The Wet Bandits would probably just opt for a pair of those full head coverings that just have holes for your eyes. It would be effective and practical, not only for their line of work but also for keeping those pesky particles under control. I could even see Harry having a compulsion for using hand sanitizer and always reminding Marv, “Safety first!” before offering him a squirt.
Kate McCallister: Yes, and with style. Kate would always have a mask that matched her outfit. It would probably have a fun 90s pattern and maybe even a gold chain as a nice accent. Would she be 100% consistent in wearing a mask? Probably not, but she would be open to reminders and understand that each person has a personal responsibility to right their wrongs and improve.
Buzz McCallister: Yes, but only over his mouth. Buzz’s parents would make sure he was safe, but he’d make it difficult. His parents may be on the verge of just giving up altogether if it wasn’t for the fact that the virus may have lasting effects on lung health and they are committed to teaching Buzz the importance of caring for other people.
Uncle Frank: No. This guy is the worst, and we are pretty sure Frank is a conspiracy theorist. He would definitely deny the existence of COVID-19, chalking it up to an attempt for the government to control all of us. He walks outside proudly without a mask and frequently shares posts from a certain subset of Facebook groups that honestly should have been reported and taken down for spreading misinformation.
Marley: Absolutely. The rest of the neighborhood may be afraid of him, but Marley will nevertheless do his part to care for the community and flatten the curve. As we learned from the movie, Marley learned to accept when he is wrong and the importance of making up for past mistakes. He would forgive the CDC for not initially understanding the importance of covering one’s face and embrace face masks going forward.
Officer Balzak: Nope. Perhaps this movie was just accurately depicting a police officer disregarding genuine concerns and failing a citizen in need. Regardless, it is immensely clear that we need a more robust system of social services to handle everything life can throw at you, and putting more money into the racist system of policing isn’t the right approach. ACAB.
In conclusion, MASK UP. It’s the simplest, kindest thing you can do to keep everyone safe. Also, it 100% makes you a more trustworthy person.
And now for the cocktail recipe you have all been waiting for:
The Thumbprint Cookie
Prepare a coupe glass by adding a brandied cherry in the bottom and spooning a little more syrup around it. Stir the rest of the ingredients over ice and pour into the coupe glass over a bar spoon. Enjoy!