Mary’s Memo – November 14th


There is a long-standing tradition in the Provence region of France that celebrates a remarkable array of massive feasts, fetes and festivals that punctuate the calendar with pageantry. Sometimes beginning with a parade or procession, most of such gatherings culminate with a communal meal.

In My Culinary Journey: Food & Fetes of Provence, published by Yellow Pear Press, October, 2016) author Georgeanne Brennan continues her memoir of living in France, raising goats and making cheese, as she and her young family adapt to the rhythms of a new life, including the discovery of local communal feasts and festivals. She shares charming stories of their personal adventures and experiences over the years. A treasure trove of regional culinary traditions, it is the author’s recipes perfectly paired with her delicious storytelling that best reveals her relationship with traditions and life of Provence, where she has a home for more than 40 years. From comforting and cozy dinners such as “French Shepherd’s Pie with Celery Root and Potato Topping to the detailed recipe for the region’s quintessential signature dish “Bouillabaisse”, My Culinary Journey brings food and culture together with a personal touch and panache.

Georgianne Brennan is the winner of a James Beard and an IACP International Association of Culinary Professionals award. An accomplished cookbook author, culinary journalist and entrepreneur, in2014 she launched her online store and product line, La Vie Rustic …. Sustainable Living in the French Style, which reflects her long-time love affair with France and especially Provence, where she has a home.
Cookbook is available at


Take advantage of reduced prices on supplies for holiday baking. I’ve already bought butter, sugar and flour on sale. Date each item you buy whether it is stored at room temperature, in the refrigerator or freezer.

That said, it isn’t too early to bake Christmas cookies that hold up well in the freezer. Right now there are five kinds in mine.


You should work with your doctor and pharmacist to manage medications to prevent an adverse reaction. For example, if you take an anticoagulant as well as ginkgo biloba supplement, you could be at risk of a serious bleeding problem. Older adults are more prone to adverse drug reactions because they generally take more medications than younger adults, and their kidney function, which normally can clear these drugs from their systems, declines with age, creating a higher risk. To help prevent adverse reactions, periodically/supplement list with your doctor to
confirm that you still need the medications.

In addition, your pharmacist can speak to you about potentially dangerous drug interactions.
Source: Duke Medicine Health News, November 2016.


Food and drink go hand in hand with celebrating the holidays. And if you are hosting or helping, one of your jobs is to make sure special meals don’t leave guests with unwanted aftereffects, such as feeling stuffed on rich goodies or worse, feeling sick. The secret to those better morning after’s is smart choices made by you in the planning and prepping of the food you serve.
Source: Consumer Reports On Health 2016.


This is the only chocolate chip cookie that I make. As for the chips, I prefer the dark chocolate ones.


• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
• ¾ cup granulated sugar
• ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• ¼ cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
• 2¼ cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¾ cup pecans, chopped
• 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla and Bailey’s and cream well. To mixture, add flour, baking soda and salt and mix well. Fold in nuts and chips. Cover baking pans with parchment paper. Drop by teaspoonful’s on to prepared baking sheets. Bake in preheated 375ºF oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Remove to wire rack to cool. Recipe makes 3 to 4 dozen cookies. Freeze in 1-quart freezer bags.

Knowing you will need a lot of chopped nuts, chop them ahead of time. Another good idea and flavor enhancer is toasting the nuts, whether they be pecans or walnuts. In my view, the easiest way to toast them is in a skillet on top of the stove. Over medium heat, toast until they smell flavorful, stirring often.

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