Please, bakers - may we have some more?
I was a budding journalist more years ago than I care to admit, when I had the opportunity to spend a few days with the mystery writer who penned "Mary Cullen's Cottage" for the now defunct Oregon Journal newspaper.
OK, that dates me.
"Mary Cullen's Cottage" was a daily column, offering recipes, sewing patterns, domestic tips and questions from readers on everything from solving laundry problems to party planning.
But along with a burning desire to be a writer, I was also a master of the kitchen — at least in my mind. I enjoyed cooking and usually played to a receptive audience (my family), especially after I produced a perfectly poofed and lightly browned Baked Alaska. But jelly rolls were my nemesis. There's a trick to those.
So I consulted the mystery author of "Mary Cullen's Cottage," gleaned a few tips and made numerous attempts to complete a jelly roll.
We ate a lot of strawberry shortcake that summer. What else can you do with broken hunks of cake?
Flash forward several years. Early December. I'm doing some Christmas baking. Because both my kids were in elementary school finally, I decided to revisit that jelly roll thing. It was like I'd done them all my life — the cake rolled perfectly, unrolled even better, and by the time I finished, I had a cookbook-photo-worthy chocolate Christmas Yule Log.
I gave it to the teachers at my kids' school. I just wanted to make it — I had no interest in eating it.
I'm sure you've guessed where this is going — yes, the starving journalists who produce your local newspaper are back, begging for homemade goodies under the guise of a contest.
This year? Bring on the Christmas cookies. We are returning to basics mostly because we've heard that's what readers like to share. And, well, we like cookies.
We're inviting you to bring in a sample (or plateful, if you're feeling generous and want to make our publisher happy) of your favorite homemade Christmas cookie, and it's recipe, to our second-floor office in the Burnside Plaza, 1584 N.E. Eighth St., Suite 200.
Someone will greet you between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Dec. 10-12. Visitors are admitted through the main door on the north side of the building. Just follow the directions on the keypad at the door and we'll buzz you in.
Making the trek into our office to pacify a group of hungry journalists is asking a lot, we know. We promise to make it worth your time. We take your picture and chat a little. A carefully selected group of judges will scientifically choose two winners, each of whom will receive a $25 Starbucks gift card. One Best of Show overall winner (bonus points for presentation, by the way) will be rewarded with $50 cash.
And if you bring those rolled cookies that look like a miniature Christmas Yule log jelly roll, you will have my undying admiration.