Buying books is more fun when you can meet the author, and meeting authors is more fun when food is involved. Grab the spirit, and some gifts, from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 22 at the annual holiday author event at Golden Fig, 790 Grand Av., St. Paul. Local authors include Janice Cole, Beth Dooley, John Michael Lerma, Raghavan Iyer, N.M. Kelby, Mitch Omer, Dan "Klecko" McGleno and Marjorie Johnson. Owner Laurie McCann Crowell will have tasty snacks and beverages -- Golden Fig drink mixes on ice. Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum!

Two more local books

Speaking of local authors, we were remiss in omitting two authors from our homegrown writers list last week. This year Pat Sinclair's "Scandinavian Classic Baking (Pelican, $16.95) was published. Sinclair collected more than 40 recipes that are the foundation of baking traditions in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. With stories and scenic color photos, it's worth checking out. And Janice Cole has written "Chicken and Egg: A Memoir of Suburban Homesteading" (Chronicle, $24.95), a how-to guide on raising chickens in urban environments, with 125 recipes that will appeal to even those who buy their eggs at the supermarket or farmers market.

Kosher cookoff

Start off the new year as a (potential) winner by entering the Man-O-Manischewitz Cook-Off, featuring family-friendly kosher recipes that include Manischewitz Ready to Serve Broth. Five finalists will compete live in late March in New York City for a $25,000 grand prize, which includes Maytag appliances, cash and a crystal trophy. Judging will be led by Food TV star Claire Robinson. Deadline is Jan. 15. For entry forms, visit

Sweet stuff from Beehive

Among the websites that have caught our eye during this gift-giving season, the one for Beehive Kitchenware Co. ( stands out for its handmade pewter and ceramic kitchen items. Two Massachusetts-based artists, Sandra Bonazoli and Jim Dowd, specialize in jewelry and metals and have received national acclaim. But they also make really cool heart-shaped measuring spoons and a lemon juicer that looks like a work of art. Their ceramics collection includes honey pots, plates, candlesticks and more, all quite lovely. The website also includes info for Minnesota specialty shops that stock some items.