Food & Drink

Sharon Thompson: Paris baker's spice cookies go big-time

Jeanne Sledd's spice cookies are made in Paris and are available locally and online at The Vermont Country Store.
Jeanne Sledd's spice cookies are made in Paris and are available locally and online at The Vermont Country Store.

Jeanne Sledd of Paris has been making spice cookies for years. In March, she decided to see whether her cookies were good enough to be sold by The Vermont Country Store. They were.

Before she could be included in the online catalog company's holiday lineup, Sledd had to create a business for commercial sales. She found space to bake at Rodney's on Broadway in Georgetown, and she was on her way.

Mary Ginocchio, owner of Mulberry & Lime in Lexington, was the first retail store to sell Sledd's cookies at her shop at 216 North Limestone. Jeanne's old-fashioned spice cookies are $12.95 for a package of 14 and are available at Rodney's restaurant, Paris Farmers Market and VermontCountryStore.com. You can email Sledd at JeannesCookies@yahoo.com.

8-year-old returns to Suze Orman Show

Canaan Smith, the 8-year-old Lexington entrepreneur behind The Marshmallows Company, has been invited back to The Suze Orman Show. Canaan, who has been making and selling marshmallows for three years, will appear on the show at 9 p.m. Saturday on CNBC. Go to Themarshmallowscompany.com.

Brunch with alpacas

The 1851 Historic Maple Hill Manor in Springfield will be open on Saturdays through December for tours of the antebellum house and alpaca farm, and shopping.

The bed-and-breakfast inn, 2941 Perryville Road, sells alpaca fur items including scarves, hats, gloves, capes, shawls, sweaters, blankets, throws and Teddy Bears.

Innkeepers Todd Allen and Tyler Horton have decorated the antebellum mansion with a 14-foot red, gold and crystal-themed Christmas tree, garlands of fresh pine cones and bright boughs of holly. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Call (859) 336-3075 or 1-800-886-7546, or go to Maplehillmanor.com.

Restaurateur Ouita Michel is shooing away the cold-weather blahs with a winter dinner club that will honor celebrated female chefs.

Next month, Holly Hill Inn in Midway will focus on female chefs whom Michel has cooked with and/or admired during her career.

"The food we are preparing speaks comfort, which we yearn for in winter," Michel said.

Here's the schedule:

■ Jan. 6 and 7, inspired by Susan Spicer of Bayona and Ella Brennan's Commander's Palace in New Orleans: Epiphany and Mardi Gras Celebration, $40.

Spicer is author of Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer's New Orleans.

■ Jan. 13 and 14, inspired by Alice Waters: Winter vegetarian feast, $35.

Chef Michel cooked for Alice Waters both at Holly Hill Inn and at Smith-Berry Winery in Henry County.

■ Jan. 20 and 21, inspired by Lidia Bastianich: Italian homeland, $40.

Bastianich's cooking reflects her Northern Italian heritage with American influences.

■ Jan. 27 and 28, inspired by Edna Lewis: Southern comfort, $35.

Virginia native Edna Lewis is revered as the expert on Southern cooking. Her four cookbooks include In Pursuit of Flavor and The Gift of Country Cooking.

■ Feb. 3 and 4, inspired by Madhur Jaffrey: The Silk Road returns to Midway, $40.

Madhur Jaffrey is an award-winning actress and a revered authority on Indian food. She is the author of 15 cookbooks, and she created a number of television and radio programs on Indian cookery.

Holly Hill Inn is at 426 North Winter Street. Call (859) 846-4732 or go to Hollyhillinn.com/events.

Food-safety app

As awareness of food safety grows, consumers are demanding to know that their food is fresh and safe, and where it comes from. To respond to shoppers' growing concerns, HarvestMark, the leading fresh-food traceability solution, has launched the HarvestMark food traceability app, which allows customers to learn about the path of their food from farm to fork.

With the app, consumers can have access to the following information:

■ Food-safety notification: Customers can rely on this feature to receive updates on a food's safety status to provide an immediate line of communication to the shopper in the event of a recall.

■ Trace food: Look for the 16-digit HarvestMark code on participating fruit, vegetable and poultry brands, and scan or type the code to instantly retrieve harvest information specific to the package of food.

■ "Talk to the Farmer:" Shoppers can ask questions and give feedback to the people who grow and sell their food using this feature, which connects them with the source of their food.

Trends for '12

The James Beard Foundation has released its "Food Trends to Watch for in 2012."

We can expect to see canelés, the new cupcake, as the next hot specialty bakery item. Canelés are made from an egg-yolk-enriched crêpe-like batter that's baked in copper molds lined with caramel and beeswax.

America is clearly wild about doughnuts, and the trend-watchers predict that next year we'll start seeing other regions' and countries' versions of them, such as the Texan kolache, the Turkish lokma, or the Portuguese malasada. For a complete listing of trends, go to Blog.jamesbeard.org/2011/12/food-trends-to-watch-for-in-2012/.

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