Winter Blogfest: DeeDee Lane

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This post is part of Long and Short’s Review Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks Gift Card – US mailed to you after random drawing on January 3, 2017 – Must have a valid mailing address to win!.

Favorite Holiday Memory
By DeeDee Lane

One of my favorite holiday memories is actually a new tradition inspired by my friend Debbie, who grew up in England. Each year her mother made Cheese Straws which are essentially just like they sound a non -sweet shortbread type crust with lots of cheese in it and cut into three or four inch long and ½ inch wide straw like shapes. When Debbie moved to America her mother would send a tin of these savory treats across the miles. As these things happen, her mother advanced in years and the baking project became too intensive especially after she passed the 88 years old mark!

Since Debbie is not a baker she didn’t feel confident she could whip them up at least not to the standard expected. Debbie knows how much I love to bake and especially try new things so she asked me if I would be willing to make her Mom’s cheese straws.

To say I was reluctant was an understatement. Add up the facts, I’ve had something resembling cheese straws once in my life at my southern grandparents 50th wedding anniversary, I’ve never seen a recipe for them, and this is CHEESE STRAWS…cherished family memory. If you’ve ever made your husband’s favorite recipe from his mother you know what I mean. Sometimes what we love to eat and remember is simply not repeatable by someone else who doesn’t share those same memories.

However, in August 2012, I found out Debbie’s Mom was coming to Seattle for a visit and spotted my opportunity. If I could bake with her, learn the recipe from her, ask her how much to stir, roll out, and shred, I might be able to create a similar baked product and memory for my friend. So I spent a morning with Mrs. W. learning all about how to make cheese straws.

It is one of my fondest memories and has led to Debbie and I getting together each holiday season to make a tin of cheese straws. There was still a lot of refining to do. For example…self-rising flour. If I lived in Georgia this would not be a problem but…the northwest? So, for our first batch, I got on line and figured out how to make self-rising flour. The cheese was another stumbling block – we soon realized the English cheese they’d used was not comparable to cheddar cheese and we needed a sharper cheese with more bite.

Now the recipe I wrote down with Debbie’s Mom is filled with notes and scribbles. Each mark is a reminder of how to get the final product closer and closer to the cheese straws of Debbie’s memory. I’ve enjoyed the experimentation and even the year I cut them way too thick Debbie proclaimed them “just perfect!”

I’ve learned something important about how to re-create a food memory. Sometimes people don’t remember exactly how something tastes they just want to taste something delicious to remind them of a past holiday time or someone they love.

Phebe Brooks is single, cynical—okay bitter—and fighting to stay out of jail by doing community service at the Cowboy and Western Museum. While cleaning a jail cell in the “Lawmen of the West” exhibit, Phebe slips back in time and into the arms of a man who resembles her first love, Rafe Morrow.

Newly hired as Eagle Rock’s sheriff, Rafe, a former sharpshooter in the Union Army, came west to start anew. This seems possible until his town is overtaken by a sassy female constantly complaining about wearing a dress and then a band of outlaws set on robbing the gold from an incoming stagecoach.

Can Phebe and Rafe cooperate long enough to save the town? For Phebe, it’s worth the risk. She’s determined to let go of past mistakes, get herself on the right side of the law, and have a future filled with love and passion.

My Law Man is the third installment in the Slip in Time Series.

About the Author: DeeDee Lane is a Seattle author and a member of Romance Writers of America. Her mystery scenarios and characters turn up on boat cruises and many corporate and private events around Puget Sound. She and her husband love to go on road trips, especially if there’s time to check out a tinfoil rooster or the largest truck stop in the world. Originally from central Wisconsin, DeeDee was raised on a farm and surrounded with great stories of the West. DeeDee is author of the Slip in Time series including My Mountain Man, My Gambling Man and My Law Man. The final novella in the series, My Traveling Man will release in early 2017.

Website

Buy the book at Amazon.

Comments

  1. I have never heard of them but they sound quite tasty. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I’ve never had a Cheese Straw but they sound wonderful.

  3. I don’t think I’ve even had a cheese straw either. But, I love cheese so I’m sure they are great. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Happy Boxing Day!

  4. I Love cheese straws. 😀
    I have a British sister in law of Spanish and Hungarian extraction who is a faboulous cook/baker and cheese straws are one of her specialties.

  5. I’ve never heard of Cheese Straws, sounds good.

  6. Debbie Tully says:

    Ah, cheese straws are SO good! What a fun, unusual item to bake for the holidays and I love that it’s become a tradition.

    • Thanks Debbie, I have to admit I’ve done more baking this holiday time and it’s been really fun. I still have to plan the house exit though as I find baking more fun when it leaves the building! Thanks for commenting.

  7. Cheese straws sound really good! Enjoyed reading the blurb for your book, that sounds like a great read, marking that one down on my wish list.

  8. I love sharp cheese and the cheese straws sound so yummy. Memories of Christmas treats are always so special.

  9. Sharp cheese is my favorite! Thanks for sharing, sounds yummy! Happy New Year DeeDee!

    • If you’ve never tried Tillamook – an Oregon cheesemaker near Portland – give it a go. They’ve got an aged extra sharp that may become your go to favorite. Thanks for commenting Tena.

  10. Cheese straws sound amazing. What can go wrong with shortbread and sharp cheese? One of my favorite cheeses is extra sharp cheese made in Vermont whenever I can get my hands on it. Happy New Year.

    • Oooooo I’m going to be on the look out for that cheese. I’ve only been to Vermont once but remember it as an absolutely beautiful place.
      Thanks for your comment Judy Ann!

  11. Makes me want to give eating Cheese Straws another try! Also made me think about the amazing peanut brittle my mother made at Christmas time – and I have no idea of the recipe. My favorite part is the image of the author scribbling out the recipe in her kitchen while being instructed by the one who holds the “secrets”. Emily Dickinson meets great British Bake Off!

    • You’re right Sinda, I did feel like I was getting the “secrets” down in print! Also, thanks for using Emily, peanut brittle, cheese, and British Bake Off all in one comment….These are a few of my favorite things!

  12. That sounds so good! I think everyone has a favorite treat from the holidays. Anything for a memory.

    • It’s been so interesting to have conversations about people on this topic. It’s amazing what people remember and how it changes the way they see/experience a foodstuff for the rest of their lives. Thanks for commenting Ilona!

  13. Announcing the WINNER of a ten dollar Starbucks Gift Card –

    Congratulations Charlotte!

    Please e-mail me your address or I’ll ask for it from the folks at Long and Short Reviews. Happy New Year to all!

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