“The Red Hat Society began as the result of a few women deciding to greet middle age with verve, humor and elan. We believe silliness is the comedy relief of life, and since we are all in it together, we might as well join red-gloved hands and go for the gusto together. “ Sue Ellen Cooper, Queen Mother . The red hat ladies also share a passion for cookies, and a belief in the maxim, ‘calories should always be in chewable form!’ The Resplendent Red Hatters, a Columbia chapter of the Red Hat Society, gathered in November at a member’s home for a workshop on baking holiday cookies. The women were decked out in holiday red and purple and looked dashing in their signature red “toques” sporting feathers, sequins and beads. The enthusiastic baking session was ‘spiced’ with plenty of attitude, laughter, bowls of hot Gumbo Ya Ya, cookie tastings and tea. On December 1st, the group met for a cookie exchange at the beautifully decorated home of Patty Dolak. The day was dedicated to fun and friendship. Each guest brought one dozen cookies for the tea table and several dozen attractively packaged for the others to take home. To transport the stash, Patty surprised the cookie bakers with colorful red shopping bags trimmed with purple boas that she had made. Patty provided a tasting of some of her favorite recipes to accompany the festive table of holiday cookies, cinnamon coffee and hot fruit wassel. Two of her most requested recipes from the gathering are included at the end of this post. The group prefers to call itself a “disorganization” and it’s mission is to have fun. There are no binding rules-just strong suggestions. Women 50 and older are encouraged to wear a dashing red hat and clashing purple outfit to each gathering! Women under 50 are also invited to join and should wear pink hats and lavender. The Red Hat Society feels that this bit of whimsy adds an element of fun to aging, invaluable to women in our society who have learned to dread aging and avoid it at all costs. At last count, there were 21 chapters throughout the Columbia area and they continue to form regularly. You will get a sense of the mirth and merriment surrounding the social organization when you hear the names of some local chapters: Columbia Bag Ladies, the Red Hot Mamas, The Chocolate Chip Red Hatters of Columbia SC, Les Chapeaux Rouge, The De Vine Red Hats and the Red Hat Tamales of Columbia. Membership in a Red Hat chapter encourages women of ‘a certain age’ to look forward to that time in life with excitement and the promise of friendship and fun! The red-hat bakers share some of their favorite cookie recipes in the post, Holiday Cookie Recipes from the Resplendent Red Hatters. For additional information on seasonal sweets, read Allison Askin’s article, Taste the Tradition, in the State Newspaper, Wednesday, December 7, 2005. . Cranberry Delight Spread Patty Dolak said, “Believe it or not, I found this recipe in the coupon section of The State Newspaper. I thought it sounded good & would look pretty for the Christmas season.” The spread was a huge hit at her cookie exchange.. 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed 1 tablespoon sugar 2 teaspoons grated orange peel 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 cup finely chopped dried cranberries 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans .In small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, orange juice concentrate, sugar, orange peel & cinnamon on medium speed until fluffy. Stir in cranberries & pecans. Refrigerate at least 1 hr. Serve with crackers of your choice.
Artichoke Appetizer Patty
said this recipe was given to her by a friend over twenty years ago, when she was living in Eastern Pennsylvania. She explained, “Artichoke appetizer had just started to become popular. Over the years, there have been many variations; especially, with spinach. But, I have kept mine the original way, & everyone who tastes it really seems to enjoy it. My husband can make a meal out of it.” (Yes, it really is that good!) . 1 cup mayonnaise 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 1 small onion, chopped fine 1 can artichoke hearts, drained (do not use marinated artichokes) Cayenne pepper to taste Combine all ingredients & heat in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until bubbly. Serve with crackers of your choice. ]>