Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"Simple Joys of Christmas"

Today I thought I would share about another favorite Gooseberry Patch book of mine. This is one of their special (but, I think short-lived) "Simple Joys" series. These books -- there was at least one other, Simple Joys of Friendship -- are absolutely beautiful, keepsake-type books. I believe they are out of print, but I bet you could find one on line or at a consignment shop. I got mine for free because I have a recipe published in it.

Every page of this gorgeous book is enhanced with beautiful retro-looking watercolor illustrations. It just says "1950s" to me, with so many of the decorations and trims looking like the ones that I remember. It would be a favorite book of mine just for the illustrations alone. There are four sections to this book: Blessings, Delights, Memories, and Gatherings.

The Blessings section is subtitled "Sharing memories from the heart" and its first page is just a visual delight. Multicolored retro Christmas lights dance all over a yellow/white plaid background. A square of green & white polka-dot fabric, with pinked edges, serves as a backdrop for a cluster of colorful aluminum bells. A rectangle of the same fabric, edged with green rickrack, is the backdrop for the title.

The Blessings section is filled with heartfelt memories, but on each facing page there is a recipe. Some of the recipes are those mentioned in the memories -- others are just good Christmas recipes. Here are a few of them --Festive Cheese Ball, Fireside Dip, Best-Ever Popcorn Balls, Warm Cinnamon Twists, Heavenly Potato Soup, Pumpkin Coffee Cake. (I can vouch for that last one -- it's wonderful!)

The "Delights" section is subtitled "Cheery holiday fun..." and it is filled with wonderful memories as well. Among the recipes are Broccoli-Wild Rice soup -- I've tried that one, halved the recipe; it's great), Candy Cane Cookies, Snow Ice Cream, Cookie Jar Gingersnaps (yummy!), Grandma Ruth's Cherry Cake, Creamy Hot Cocoa, and more.

The first page of the "Memories" section (subtitled "Sweet holiday recollections") is delightful too. On a pale green background are scattered red-handled rolling pins, red & green-handled cookie cutters, and sets of measuring spoons. The red & white striped "fabric swatch" on this page serves as a backdrop for a delicious-looking cake on a jadite cake plate.

Along with sweet memories, there are more recipes here -- like Mom's Christmas Fudge, Cherry Winks, Christmas Cheese Ball Wreath, Nana's Butter Cookies,Mint Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball, and Chocolate-Pistachio Cake.

"Gatherings" is the last section, and it contains more memories of families and friends. Recipes like Angel Torte, Winter Wonderland Chili, Wassail, Cherry Crumb Pie, Almond Roca, and more are interspersed with memories and more beautiful artwork.

When these books were being "retired" by Gooseberry Patch, they were available at quite a low price. I bought one for each of my daughters and my daughter-in-law. Now they can all own the book with "our" special recipe in it!

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