by guest contributor Samantha Campbell
As you may recall from last winter, for one delicious day a year, local literary publisher, Coffee House Press, transforms its Northeast Minneapolis headquarters into Cookie House Press, an annual cookie potluck and book sale. This year’s event, held last Thursday, December 5th, offered a myriad of cookies that ranged from classic to experimental. My initial selection was a cake batter sugar cookie. As I enjoyed the sugar rush, a little girl with tinsel in her hair sidled up to me and announced, “I made those cookies. They’re the best.” She was right; it was delicious. The potluck also included vegan PB&J thumbprints, sugar cookies with a maple glaze, an “oatmeal surprise”, Oreo truffles, and countless other selections.
Once partygoers had enjoyed their first round of treats, Chris Fischbach, the publisher of Coffee House, took a moment to thank everyone for coming and introduced CHP’s writer-in-residence, Heather Hartman. Heather is the chef at the Mill City Farmer’s Market, and she also runs Nourish Catering. Heather spent her residency at CHP in the stacks and used the cookie potluck to share some of her work with Coffee House staff, authors, friends, and supporters.
Hartman’s presentation included an interactive display that explored the connection of scent and memory. Set up on a large black table were six boxes, the contents of which were concealed with festive wrapping paper, that the crowd was invited to smell. Next to each box was a sheet of paper that asked two questions: What did you smell? What did it remind you of? Answers were collected anonymously, and Hartman requested that responses be as candid as possible. Participants ranged in age from young children to adults. While many people cited similar scents, the associated memories were as varied as the audience.
After Hartman’s talk, Christmas carols were sung and more cookies were devoured. Patrons also had the opportunity to do a little shopping for Coffee House Press titles. As a special holiday promotion, Coffee House donated 25% of all proceeds to Rock Star Supply Co., a local non-profit that helps kids ages 6-18 with their writing skills and homework. This promotion will continue through the end of the year. Attendees left the party with a pretty tinsel bracelet (made by design and production manager, Linda Koutsky), a red Chinese box full of cookies, and hopefully, a few books.
(Editor’s note: If you haven’t picked up Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow by Andy Sturdevant, do so immediately! It’s a great stocking stuffer.)
Were you There? Have something to add, or a different take on this event? Chime in on the comments below, or send us an email at LitSeen.Mpls@gmail.com. Be sure to check the schedule to the right to be at the next LitSeen.org attended event.