The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
December 21, 2019
December can be frightful...frightfully busy. Holiday preparations, social engagements, baking. I love the baking! But when you sit down for a little break with a hot cup of coffee and a still warm cookie, it’s nice to have something equally cozy to read, taking you away from the December frazzle. It’s important to stay away from deep serious mysteries or long sagas though, so I chose a trio of short Christmas stories, all involving gingerbread.
The first book is by Joanne Fluke and is called “Gingerbread Cookie Mystery.” It involves Hannah Swenson who owns a bakery in the north country (she is also a character in the Hallmark movie series). A plate of gingerbread cookies is delivered and a murder takes place before the recipient has a chance to enjoy them. The second of the trilogy, “The Dangers of Gingerbread Cookies,” was written by Laura Levine. The location is a retirement community down south in Florida where the lawns are sprinkled with flamingos and the sun shines bright and hot in December. A Christmas play is being rehearsed and rock hard ceramic gingerbread is used not only as a prop, but also handily as a weapon. There is no baking in this story, but there is a generous amount of fudge keeping cold in the fridge. The third story, “Gingerbread Cookies and Gunshots” by Leslie Meier, is the most intense. A gingerbread cookie is given to a small boy who by the next day is kidnapped. A caring woman can’t let the tragedy out of her mind until the boy is found.
The mysteries are light and not terribly difficult to follow. What I didn’t expect were the recipes! The first story with Hannah the baker has five cookie recipes, chocolate mousse, fudge and a fruitcake, all with detailed instructions. At the end of the third story, there is a recipe for a Mexican Christmas salad, very festive with pomegranates, and a chocolate mousse cake to die for. I would suggest that if you don’t finish the book before Christmas, you do so before the New Year when diets of 2020 begin, or you will be doomed for failure from the start. Yes, the recipes sound that good!
It is also rewarding to feed the soul during the holidays. I came across the new Chicken Soup for the Soul book, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” There are 101 very short snippets, from two to six pages, that can be sandwiched between a million activities to uplift your soul during the busiest of days. Take the time to share the joy of someone else’s life and let it touch your heart. Be sure to read the one that starts on page 126 titled, “He Came Upon a Midnight Clear.” The author is one of our own in Tehachapi, Michelle De la Place. It is about the birth of a precious new baby at Christmas.
Now I have a favor to ask...I buy books I love and I give away books I love. I did both with a Christmas picture book some years back. My memory has since forgotten the title of the book, but I keep on looking for it everywhere at Christmas. New and used book stores and also online. A young girl gets to help sew a new red coat for Santa and puts secret pockets in the lining. If you know this book, please contact me through firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get the message. It would be such a wonderful gift to know the title again and maybe the searching will be more successful. Thank you! And may your holidays be blessed with family and friends, building upon an abundance of new memories.
Merry merry to all and a Happy New Year too!
*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.