By MAGGIE M, Wedgee-in-Chief, Editor, theWedge.LIVE 💚 TO SHARE click icons at at story’s end, TO SUBSCRIBE go to upper-right column. TO COMMENT go yo upper-right of story
It was Friday afternoon at Andress’ Your Independent Grocer. Always a fun place to be. The jokes and stories poured out of customers around the Tasting Hut. It’s a wonder they don’t serve drinks and turn it into a pub.
I was present for what unwittingly became, “Operation Cookie or Die.”
Wanita and Dan Andress met me with ugly sweaters in hand. That would have been fine for a photo shoot had the Ugly Sweater Cookie Kit not been sold out. So, I finessed the two into decorating cookies in general.
There was resistance.
“You ought to try working in retail !,” Wanita blasted. I was in trouble. She went into surgical mode (just fresh from retirement as operating room nurse) and flew to the bakery, found two gingerbread men in clear pouches, and disappeared into the aisles. Dan and I followed like sheep, he with his Grinch Cookie Kit in hand, me with my camera on a tripod.
Boom! Wanita emerges with icing tubes in hand.
It looked like a scene from Whoville. The staff didn’t blink.
“We need a table to do this.” I said. Think, wildlife facing headlights, as a response. “Should I come back tomorrow?,” I added. Dan was soooo willing to postpone to the next day. His tone perked up. Uh, nope. “We’re doing this now,” his better-half replied.
Wanita lead us to the Christmas ornament section, where large sparkly red moose and deer stand on piles of ornaments and wrapping paper. Suddenly, we have jerry-rigged cookie-making tables made from ornament boxes on bins.
Scalpels! Clamps! Swabs! Reds hats went on their heads. Pre-baked cookies unboxed. We had action.
The cookies came alive swiftly. Well, Wanita’s cookies did. Dan killed his patients. The look on Dan’s face atop says it all.
Later, I settled in to view my photographic progeny. I laughed so hard I spit my tea.
The best parties are cooking parties. The ones where husbands poke fun at their wives to project their abject failure at mastery. (I know, some men can cook. Stay with me.)
To watch these two grocery magnates succumb to my cookie challenge was a great finish to a roller-coaster week.
Here’s the thing. Instead of thinking about their long to-do list, they started to have fun. Dan baited Wanita–because her little fellas were perfect. His Grinch cookie, it was green. I don’t know what the other thing was. I don’t remember an octopus in Dr. Seuss’s tale.
Nevertheless, I ate them both. Come to think of it, the Grinch snacked on glass.
I dropped-in again at the Tasting Hut where Steve Akeson was busy wooing everyone with Traditional Christmas Cheese Balls–a recipe he “borrowed” from the internet. All the men Steve introduced to me were named Steve. I watched the Matrix a week ago–so timely.
Guests tasted a cream cheese or goat cheese mixture coated in walnuts with a dab of PC Hot Red Pepper Jelly. So that was my lunch–or lupper. (I pretend I need more photos and keep snacking. They fall for it all the time.)
A bottle of Chablis would have been nice.
1 1/2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 (2.5 ounce) package thinly-sliced smoked beef, chopped
1 (2.25 ounce) can pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped
1 small Vidalia or other sweet onion, minced
2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
1 cup chopped walnuts
Directions: Mix the cream cheese, beef, olives, onion, and Worcestershire sauce together in a bowl until evenly blended (you can switch to soft unripened PC Goat’s milk cheese).
Keeping the mixture in the bowl, scrape it into a semi-ball shape.
Cover, and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
Place a large sheet of waxed paper on a flat surface.
Sprinkle the walnuts. Roll the cheese ball in the walnuts until completely covered.
Transfer the cheese ball to a serving plate or re-wrap with waxed paper and refrigerate until needed.
Serve on PC English Cream Crackers with PC Hot Red Pepper Jelly.