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The Christmas Cookie Club – Christmas book review

The Christmas Cookie Club
book cover The Christmas Cookie Club

by Ann Pearlman
Simon & Shuster Ltd, United Kingdom, 2010

Age group: late teen – adult

Format: 288 page paperback

Absolutely about Christmas, this book is an unusual look at individuals, relationships and people supporting each other. It also inspires yummy cooking!

The story

A group of 12 women meet on the first Monday each December to swap cookies and stories of their lives.

My review

So I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, either in format or depth, so I was pleasantly surprised to quite enjoy it.

The story centres around one woman, Marnie, starting with her thinking of her daughters and preparing for the Christmas Cookie Club get together that night. After that, each chapter adds in a new woman, giving us a taste of her life and personality. I found that adding characters one at a time like that made it easier to remember who was who (although I did still have to flick back a few times!) and it also gave a real feel for each character.

The premise of the club (and it is based on a real club the author belongs to) is that each person makes some biscuits (cookies) of her choice, bringing a dozen for each other member of the club plus a dozen as a donation to a charity. Each women then goes home with 12 beautifully packaged biscuit dozens!

In presenting her biscuits, each woman tells a story about the biscuits and/or the packaging. We also get a copy of the recipe of the biscuits discussed so you can literally taste your way through this book! I haven’t yet used any of those recipes but intend to try at least a few of them. I also like that each recipe is in a different font, with some sort of connection to the woman or recipe.inside page of The Christmas Cookie Club, showing a recipe from Rosie

Yes, the book got me thinking of starting a Christmas Biscuit Club or something similar – and I note Pearlman has since written another book to help those inspired – The Christmas Cookie Cookbook: All the Rules and Delicious Recipes to Start Your Own Holiday Cookie Club. I haven’t yet done anything about organising such a club – have you been to one or started one? What did you think of it? I must admit the thought of cooking 12 or 13 dozen biscuits is somewhat intimidating!

Reading this book, I noticed a lot of relationship issues were raised (in a realistic and empathetic way). It turns out that Pearlman is a psychotherapist and marriage therapist so she has some insights, and her autobiography, Infidelity, sounds like a very interesting book about the impact of marital infidelity. The two books together would make an interesting Christmas gift, I think.

So do I recommend it? Yes, if you want a heart warming story that goes beyond shallow relationship and happy endings for everyone, and a story about Christmas traditions worth having.

A Holiday Soup Bowl Party

The women in my family would get together every year before the Christmas holiday to discuss and plan the festivities of the seasons. I’m a planner from way back and I love to have everything planned out, with the holiday school pageants, driving around to see the light displays, making crafts and planning the holiday dinner, time needed to be scheduled to ensure we didn’t miss a moment of holiday cheer.

When we first started this holiday meeting it was all eight of us picking and choosing dates that worked for us, a task that seemed to take hours.

We never gave any thought into having dinner that night, who had the time, there was Christmas planning under foot. There we were with our calendars, schedules and appointment books waiting for the local pizza shop to deliver a few supreme pies, a quick answer to our hunger pangs. Pizza was always a snack to me, not a meal and, as my girls will tell you, I always have a meal.

Squabbling one night over the pizza toppings, I mentioned it would be easier to open a can of soup.

Then it hit me. Soups for our yearly planning ritual. Something quick and easy we could throw together, even after a hard day of work. And me being me of course wrote it down, so I wouldn’t forget.

Four different bowls with different soups

A variety of soups is tasty!

The following year I made cute little soup can invitations for our planning date and mailed them off. Assigning each person a different item to bring. One brought assorted bread, one brought drinks, one brought the desserts and the remaining 5 each brought 2-3 quarts of any soup of their choosing.

It was a hit, not only did we get to sample a variety of soups and spend time together, the entire atmosphere changed. Our scheduling was completed in record time and occasionally we would have time left over to enjoy a holiday movie.

That was several years ago, and we all look forward to it every year. A yearly chore that seemed to be stressful and a bit unnerving, now is an evening the ladies of our family can’t wait to arrive. I can’t help but wonder if it was the holiday cheer that found its way into our date making or was it the power of a warm bowl of soup.

Santa’s Snacks

Santa is a very busy man on Christmas Eve – he has a lot of houses to visit and many presents to deliver. So it’s understandable he gets hungry & thirsty along the way!

Santa appeciates having a snack waiting for him when he visits – and it’s good manners to offer him something in return for all those gifts, too.

There are some recipes and ideas in our snacks article, but maybe you have a special snack you leave out for Santa every year. We’d love to hear about it, and even better, we’d love to have the recipe if you know it.

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