Monday, December 5, 2011

A taste of Christmas from Karen A. Chase, plus an art giveaway

**Giveaway is now closed**

Today we welcome Karen A. Chase, and her debut memoir "Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log." Karen was born in Canada and traveled with her family living in over 40 states and provinces. She started studying advertising art in 1990 when she moved to the United States. In addition to building her own design and branding studio, she started to do freelance writing and has contributed to publications, including Bella Magazine, The Richmond Times Dispatch and HOW Design Magazine Online. She lives in Virginia with her partner Ted and their two cats.

Here is a description of "Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log":

If Karen A. Chase absolutely had to turn 40, she decided she could do it gracefully in Paris… for nearly 40 days. What began as a blog to communicate with friends and family became a travel journal filled with over a months’ worth of daily details of her Paris adventures, each of which could be read in about 40 seconds. Peppered with Karen’s own photographs, she also weaves in longer stories that reflect upon her experiences with Parisians, travel, food, photography, writing, and love in the City of Lights.

You can find Karen on Facebook, Twitter and her website.

Thanks to BookSparks PR, we have a 5x7' print of one of Karen's photos from her book to share with a lucky reader anywhere in the US.

Whipping Up Christmas
By Karen A. Chase
Author of "Bonjour 40: A Paris travel log"
(40 years. 40 days. 40 seconds)

Asking me to pick my favorite family holiday recipe is like asking me to pick my favorite place in Paris. It’s soooo difficult. I’ve thought about this for weeks. I perused my recipe pile and my memories of Christmases past. Eventually, I decided. Whipped shortbread cookies.

As with most of my family’s recipes, baking these cookies began the holidays. We gathered in the warm kitchen in the midst of deep Canadian winters and made them together. They were prepared a few weeks before Christmas, and placed in old ice cream buckets (with one or two stolen in the process) between layers of wax paper.

This week, I made my own batch of whipped shortbread. With my mother’s recipe card and two cookie sheets, I was once again seven years old and with my family at Christmas.

I relived the sound of sifting sugar sprinkling onto the wax paper. I remember the feeling of my mum’s hands helping me wind the dough through the cookie press, which I still use. I tasted the sweetness of the maraschino cherries I nibbled as I decorated the dough with my finger tips. The smell of the buttery little gems baking filled the kitchen. Fresh from the oven, their delicate edges lightly browned, they were oh-so-carefully transferred to the cooling racks. The ones with chocolate chips tested my will power. “Touch them only when they have cooled, Pumpkin.”

How do they taste, you ask? Each cookie placed in the mouth melts into soft, light, buttery air, with the cherry or chocolate lingering on the tongue like the last notes of "Oh Holy Night."

How can something so small, a recipe with only five ingredients, do so much? It isn’t the cookies. It’s what happened around them. It is because in our house holidays were filled with joy, we spent time together, and the memory of baking whipped shortbread with my mum is simply part of where my Christmas spirit began. And still begins.

My photography notes:
The typed recipe card is my mother’s. On the back it says, “Recipe taken from Penny Powers’ Christmas Rec. (blue book),” which was published by the Saskatchewan Power Corporation where my mother used to work. Penny Powers was a pseudonym used by the Saskatchewan Power Corporation to describe its home economist. The little snow-people among my finished cookies were a gift my parents received for their first Christmas together – almost 50 years ago.

How to win a photo from "Bonjour 40":
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Please note:Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: What is your favorite foreign (international) food?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

US only. Giveaway ends December 11th at midnight EST.


Stephanie said...

My favorite foreign food is Chinese. Specifically egg rolls and chicken fried rice.

I'm a gfc follower.

Marthalynn said...

It's hard to say, I love food so much! This time of year, though, I'm especially fond of Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup). It warms my sould.

I'm a gfc follower!

marthalynn16 (at) gmail (dot) com

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.

Favorite foreign food...chicken burritos

I am a GFC follower

I like you on facebook... Linda Kish

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

karenk said...

i love 'italian dishes'

i'm a follower, too :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Thai food...yum!

ljreese3 (at) gmail (dot) com

Dolly said...

It's a toss-up between Mexican and Italian food.

No really - it's Italian. Yummmm!!!! Is it the herbs, the olive oil, the tomatoes, the cheese? Yes!

jcsites2002 at hotmail dot com

I'm a GFC, FB and email follower (stalker??)
Shared on Twitter (dollyj007)

thanks for the interview & giveaway!

faithspage said...

Italian, any day of the week.
I follow on gfc, fb

kyfaithw at aol dot com

Nancye said...

My favorite foreign food has to be tacos.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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