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Mrs. Sundberg's Recipe Collection - 12 tried-and-true--one for each month of the year--featuring an introduction and tips from Mrs. Sundberg herself

I Did Not Win the Pillsbury Bake-Off.

December 3, 2007

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It was the first of December, and you gotta love it. One of the great months of the year, a dark month, a turning-the-corner month, and a month of general intensity. Throw in the fact that it's just starting up, and what more could you ask for? Not that I'm opposed to endings. I've always been one to enjoy the year's end, and looking back, and then the feeling of beginning again, fresh, and all there is to look forward to.

I spent a good part of the show addressing envelopes to people I love. I'm sending out a Christmas letter this year (not a "Holiday" letter, for the love of Henry), something I haven't done in a few years because I haven't felt much like doing it. The last time I wrote one I got myself in trouble with a few people for including a news item or two with which they took issue. I simply told the ordinary truths and it didn't seem to go over well. The kids didn't mind that I said their grades were "pretty much average" and that no one did anything really remarkable that year except keep up, which is, if you think about it, is pretty remarkable in itself. They did take issue with my statement that they're "on the cusp of hormonal chaos." And my mother seemed to resent my pointing out that she is, indeed, aging, and holding it together quite well in the process. Mr. Sundberg didn't say much at all, but shook his head as he read the letter and suggested that next time maybe I ought not celebrate so publicly our three visits to a marriage counselor (more than a tune-up but less than an overhaul) or include rather unnecessary information like the benefits of eating a bit of flax seed every day or how the kids were all conceived around Christmas time.

Thing is I don't know what else to write BUT the truth. What am I supposed to say? "Have a lovely holiday"? "I am fine, and how are you?" "The kids all got straight As and Mr. Sundberg and I once again made it through the year without a major blowout"? I thought long and hard about why a person might send a letter to everyone at Christmas time, and I'm convinced we each have our own reason. Some do it because they always have, some because it's the only time they communicate with certain relatives and friends, and some do it out of guilt. Some write Christmas letters because what the heck else do you do with the overflow of energy you get when you have the Christmas Spirit? (I slept just under three hours last night, for crying out loud. I lay there thinking about what to give my hairdresser for a gift, and whether or not to serve The Ham on Christmas Eve.)

I'm writing a Christmas letter this year not because anything wild or exotic or amazing happened, because nothing did. Nothing much at all. The kids played violin and baseball, Mr. Sundberg passed with flying colors his first colorectal exam, and I did not win the Pillsbury Bake-Off. We went on a cruise and never made it to the formal dining room. Our cars are still running and we still don't have a dog. Our friend Dolores died and now her house is for sale. I am thinking of buying it and opening a little bed and breakfast called "The Haven" or something like that and serving buttermilk pancakes every morning. Sure am.

If you're entertaining during the next few weeks, consider either one of these for appetizer options. Both are simple and taste so dang good.

Almond Brie Spread
Cut the top skin off a block of Brie cheese
and melt it in a small ceramic dish. A microwave works alright,
but I prefer the oven at 350 for 10 or so minutes.
Cover with sliced, toasted almonds and
serve as a spread with crackers.

Ugly Crab
8 oz cream cheese
1 can crab meat, strained
1 bottle chili sauce
Place cream cheese on plate.
Spread crab meat over
and cover with chili sauce ‘til it looks right.
Eat with crackers.


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