Christmas cookies, culinary miracles that they are, arrive plated on the front porch, on the green rocking chair and on the kitchen counter.

The question becomes, during the holidays, do you offer them to guests after dinner or hide them in the laundry room or pantry? Some people are holiday cookie-worthy and some don’t operate at that pay grade.

One of our sons barely lets his wife have treats made by Robin, the neighborhood baking savant. Her plate includes: paradise bars (coconut and pecans), cranberry date bars, peanut butter balls, molasses cookies and tumbleweeds.

These are Christmas cookies. You never see them the rest of the year. The recipes are filed away under in the “Christmas only” file.

If you are lucky enough to be two or three plates deep, there is nothing wrong, once they’ve been picked over, in creating a new plate. Wrap it with cellophane and tie it with a bow to freshen it up. It’s like giving yourself a present without having to do the heavy baking.

As good as they are, some of the treats do not get eaten. You may start to eat them but you don’t because a little voice inside of you says, “Don’t eat that.”

Try the “don’t eaters” on guests after the cookies have been replated. Guests can be hungry and looking for any sort of dessert after a light fish dinner. Occasionally someone will bite and you’ve turned a problem into a problem solver.

“Aren’t these good? They’re Christmas cookies. The best baker in the neighborhood made them.”

Linda Shelton wants to honor Eleanor Hornback, whose home she went to recently for a potluck lunch with other women from the Mill Creek Christian Church.

“She works diligently with the ministries of Mill Creek CC and the Crafty Christians who put together toiletry bags for the homeless who come to our free breakfast on the last Sunday of each month.

"Eleanor, who is 96, is more than amazing! One day I went into the church kitchen and was shocked to see Eleanor lying flat on the floor in front of the stove. No one there seemed concerned, so I quietly asked, 'Why is Eleanor on the floor?' 'Oh,' someone replied, 'She's making sure the rolls don't burn.'"

Gail Embry wrote in regard to the column of the passing of Bruce Brown, the man who made “The Endless Summer.”

“When I got my driver's license, I drove my younger sister, Holly, and I to the Sunland Drive-In to see 'The Endless Summer.' We weren't surfers, but we loved that movie. We went there and watched it three times, as Tuesday nights were $1 a carload.”

Another email, this one with a corrective note, from Ed French in regard to the column on “The Endless Summer" in which I wrote: “Summer is one of those magic things. In summer, we are better versions of ourselves. Summers are warm, lazy, but lazy in a good way.”

“Summers, warm and lazy?” French said.

“I thought Herb was a Bakersfield native.

“Summer isn’t warm and lazy. It’s hot and sweltering. As a child, and young adult, even as an older adult, I never understood the idea that summers were for barbecues and laying out in the sun. No, summers are meant to be spent indoors with your AC or swamp cooler on high, where the air wasn’t so heavy and the heat so oppressive.”

Contact Californian columnist Herb Benham at 661-395-7279 or His work appears on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays; the views expressed are his own.

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As good as they are, some of the treats do not get eaten May 2018 USA Holidays
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You may start to eat them but you don’t because a little voice inside of you says, “Don’t eat that.”


I regularly visit your site and find a lot of interesting information. Thank you and look forward to your page growing stronger.

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