I finished "The Mermaid Chair" in plenty of time for Saturday's book club meeting. In the book, there was frequent mention of benne wafers, so I decided to bake some to bring to the meeting.
It turns out they're a chewy, sesame-seed filled cookie that's almost like a candy. They were absolutely delicious: brown sugar, butter and toasted sesame seeds. I brought about three dozen to the meeting and they were all gone by the time I left.
I'll definitely make them again, but I never could figure out a way to keep them from sticking to the cookie sheet. I started out with greased baking stones, then tried a regular greased cookie sheet and finally tried baking the last batch on a baking stone covered with waxed paper. No matter which method I chose, the cookies still stuck firmly enough that I lost a good percentage of the bottom center.
For the wine tasting portion of our evening, we were to bring a pinot grigio. I selected a bottle of Voga, based solely on the beautiful bottle design. Everyone loved the bottle, even though we all admitted that it looked like perfume or hair spray, and the wine turned out to be one of the top two favorites of the evening (I liked it the best).
Another interesting wine tasting experience of the weekend was sampling the new Niebaum-Coppola Winery Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs. It's sparkling wine packaged in small cans with extendable straws stuck to the sides. My company gave them out at our monthly staff meeting last week to illustrate change and innovation. I took two cans home and my husband and I tried them on Friday night.
They were...not so good. I should have taken a cue from some of my co-workers and made a mimosa out of mine on the way out of the meeting. Drunk by itself, it had a rather bitter aftertaste. My husband gave up about halfway through his.
The winery deserves credit for breaking new packaging ground, but they'll have to come up with a better product inside before I'll take some on my next picnic.