24 | everything nice
like three ways to quit your job, cookie-wise.
On Tuesday I highlighted two retellings of Charles Dickens’ 19th-century narrative that those in power have the capacity to change. Quite by accident, today’s curation includes three 20th-century Christmas narratives that all say when those in power prove untrustworthy, you’ll need to take matters into your own hands. A fitting end to the year of The Great Resignation.
10 | Office Holiday Party Lemonade
The Apartment (1960)
CC Baxter, played by Jack Lemmon, is an insurance clerk who can’t say no to the parade of executives that promise him a promotion for use of his apartment. Fran Kubelik, played by Shirley MacLaine, is an elevator operator that can’t stop saying yes to the wrong men. A smarmy move by Baxter’s boss and a bottle of seconal bring them together.
This movie has a long list of unlikeable bosses, but Jack Lemmon’s physical humor gives endearing levity to CC Baxter’s predicament. The earnestness that both Lemmon and MacLaine bring to their characters make this a holiday romantic comedy with surprising warmth. This looks like a holiday party worth returning to work for.
In a lot of ways, lemon bars were my dowry. Shortly after meeting my future family, my grandmother-in-law caught wind I could bake. She started dropping blunt hints that she loved lemon bars. Tales of how it was too hard to whisk, how they never came out right. The plight of her life without these sweet and tart square treats.
These are for you Mrs. Klus, we miss you.
Grandma Theresa liked Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for Lemon Bars and I like sneaking in a teaspoon of anise extract and a 1/4 cup of orange juice.
Starting in the new year, I’ll be adding a recipe advice column. So if you’re looking for more personalized inspiration send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of, or a brief description of, the last 5 recipes you enjoyed, your first name and current hometown to receive a customized recipe recommendation in an upcoming newsletter.
11 | Spies and Stockings
Three Days of the Condor (1975)
I read this was another sleeper Christmas movie. They had me at Robert Redford and CIA conspiracy. Unfortunately, this doesn’t fully deliver on either front.
The plot setup is promising. A book reader for the CIA stumbles upon something bigger than he expected and has to flee both New York and his employer as things unravel. What follows are too many hollow moments paired with a Stockholm Syndrome sub-plot and a rough, if 1975 relevant, joke about volunteers and draftees. The closing moments reveal that we’re in the holiday season but there isn’t enough in this film worth holding onto year after year.
Robert Redford Cookies
What does stand the test of time? Robert Redford and cookies. This riff on the classic cowboy cookie swaps out wimpy shredded coconut for hard chunks of pretzel rods. The results: crunchy, salty, chewy, chocolatey.
When asked, “why the name?” creator Lisa Ludwinski says,
There’s no real reason, other than that I thought it’d be fun to name the cookie after a movie star. Anji and Kamaria enthusiastically fought to name them for good, strong, all-around stand-up guy and certified dreamboat Robert Redford. Cowboy cookie, indeed.
Try the most requested recipe from my co-workers, Sister Pie’s Robert Redford Cookies
What’s your favorite spy movie?
12 | Breakfast with Buddy
The paranoid pressure of working holiday retail. The fantastic food scenes. Vulnerable vegetables and the endless wonder of a child’s mind. This movie works on so many levels. As it nears the 20 year mark, here’s hoping we can carry this holiday favorite forward for future generations.
Every holiday season I like to bake one thing that is pure childhood fun. Last year when we were in the surge of online cooking classes, I made Bon Vivant’s Fruity Pebble cake ornaments. Hot cocoa cookies, peppermint marshmallows and a giant gingerbread man cookie cake have made lists of years past.
For this movie I planned to make homemade Pop-Tarts. You may have noticed they’ve been trickling into bakeries and breakfast spots over the last few years. In the end my nostalgic endurance buckled under the number of steps needed to recreate the Kash n’ Karry private label cherry frosted Pop-Tarts that were my dad’s breakfast for many years.
Instead, I bought a variety box on sale for $2.99 and took to the internet. Chopping up extra-large, toastable breakfast cookies and folding them into a creamed cheese dough filled with sprinkles turned out to be a lot more fun.
Princess Pinky Girl’s soft and sweet Pop-Tarts Cookies are quick and satisfying. An added handful of wimpy shredded coconut brings out whatever strawberry-like flavor is in that pink filling.
Poptart cookies.... that seems so weird and random but also delicious!
I've been craving hot cocoa for days now! I did not know "hot cocoa cookies" existed. What a wonderful world we live in! Have you seen the 2009 documentary "Kings of Pastry"? It's a very exciting look at a pastry competition: