You may have noticed very little activity on this blog (and other Scienceblogs) over the last few days. We had a technical difficulty somewhere around the Christmas. What happened was our main communication antenna was sheered off by an unidentified flying object. After the reindeer and elf parts were removed, it was discovered that a couple of parts had to be upgraded, and then, of course, all the connections to the SQL database were borked so it took a little time to fix. Our front end kept running but I believe commenting and certainly new blogging was impossible for a while.

I am pretty sure everything is back in place now, thank you for your patience.

Or, if you are like me, you didn’t even notice because you had relatives in town and you’ve been hanging out eating and drinking and exchanging presents and playing Rummykub and so on and so forth.

And then there are the cookies.

For many years now, my bff and occasional co-author, Ana Miller has brought me cookies at Christmas, sneaking over to my house in the middle of the night and leaving them on the doorstep. I’ve mentioned this before. This year, we had a Sponge Bob Square Plants table outside and that’s where Huxley and I found them this morning:

There are a hundred ways in which I love Ana, and about forty of them were in that package. Huxley is, of course, too young to eat these cookies (though he is also a great fan of the baker herself) and we don’t even want him to know about this aspect of life yet. So, for several minutes after bringing the cookies into the house, Huxley watched as Glen, Bunny, Amanda and I sat around munching on them saying “Ick, these are icky” and making bad faces. Finally, Huxley, initially very interested in the cookies, took a step back and pointed at them and said “Icky” and wandered off to do his own thing.

Thank you Ana.

In more recent years, Ana’s largess has been matched by the efforts of Stephanie Zvan, whom you know, who also delivers her cookies in the night on the 25th but earlier and she stops in to say hello.

Stephanie’s cookies are entirely different than Ana’s. They are both like the people who make them in many ways, in ways that I generally don’t want to describe because it is rather personal. Each set of cookies is diverse, yet there is absolutely no overlap in style, appearance, texture, or flavor, between the two sets. Ana’s are challenging to the eye (“I can not figure out how she made something that looks like that!”), sensuous, and frankly, almost seductive. For several hours after they arrive it is probably true that my marriage in a little bit of danger (and I’m not speaking only of myself here) so it is probably good that Ana comes by and leaves unseen and then stays away for a while. Stephanie’s are challenging to the taste (“I can not figure out how she made something that tastes/smells like that!”) and are startlingly exotic almost in a dangerous way. You expect eating one of them to have a strong effect, like there was a magic potion in there waiting to change you, or change the rules, or change something. We all made sure to not eat any of them while alone.

All of the cookies were excellent, and I can not imagine creating all these wonderful and amazing different kinds of edibles within a few days and with mere earthly ingredients. I assume both Ana and Stephanie have elves working with them on this.

So, Happy Holidays everybody, and blogging will remain sparse for a couple of more days, but again, I doubt very much you are paying much attention so it is not likely you will even notice.

Comments

  1. #1 Stephanie Z
    December 27, 2011

    No elves, but credit Ben for the cocoa nib and pecan cookies this year. For magic, I have to credit a close personal relationship with the local Penzey’s and a willingness to add more spice–for some spices–than the recipe calls for.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    December 27, 2011

    I’m not buying it. I’m pretty sure a Penzey is some kind of elf.

  3. #3 Daniel J. Andrews
    December 28, 2011

    Our neighbour is always bringing over goodies and leaving them at the door overnight. Or so we assume that because every day there is nothing at the door. We figure she leaves them and then the denizens of the boreal forest help themselves before we find them. It is possible that she doesn’t drop anything off for us, but we’re going with the boreal denizen hypothesis.

    Little known fun-fact. Moose like cupcakes (that fact-finding mission was *not* intentional–damn moose, those were for my nephew’s birthday party–least they were nutritious cupcakes rather than the sugar-fat ones).

  4. #4 davem
    December 29, 2011

    I am pretty sure everything is back in place now, thank you for your patients.

    Oh, come on, I’m sure the cookies aren’t all that bad.
    The author’s spelling, however…

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    December 29, 2011

    DAMN YOU AUTOCORRECT!!!