The Shortbread Grinch

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you made it through the holiday season unscathed and un-stranded by crazy weather.

I’m still recovering from the lingering side-effects of my COVID booster (or something; who knows), so we spent a quiet December. Good food, good medical care, and visits with family left me feeling immensely grateful.


As you’ve no doubt come to expect, I didn’t make it through the season without a generous measure of foolishness. Case in point: The Christmas shortbread.

Every year I do some baking to give as gifts:  Goodies like gingersnaps and snickerdoodles, along with a confection from my childhood dubbed ‘Cherry Flips’ (a maraschino cherry wrapped in almond shortbread, dunked in cherry frosting, and dusted with coconut)… and shortbread.

Tasty though it is, plain shortbread looks bland and unappetizing. So I usually decorate it with red and green cherries in wreath shapes to make it look a bit more festive.  But this year I really wasn’t feeling very well (and to be honest, I was a bit stoned on anti-nausea pills). So I decided to take a simpler approach with red and green coloured sugar.  I experimented with a few different patterns, and decided on one reminiscent of evergreen swags with a red accent:

Festive, yes?

I painstakingly applied the sugar to each cookie and baked the lot of them.  Then, as I was tucking the finished shortbread into gift packages, a terrible thought occurred to me. To describe it in proper Seussian style, it was a terrible, horrible, awful idea:

“These cookies look like a Grinch butt with hemorrhoids.”

Once that mental image is lodged in your brain, you can never un-see it.  (Sorry about that.)

I didn’t know what to do.  On one hand, surely nobody else in the world would think of that… would they?  But on the other hand, I felt vaguely guilty handing out baked goods with diseased butts on them.

In the end I gave away the goodies as planned, secure in the knowledge that my friends and family are much nicer and more refined than I.  Even if they thought the decorations were questionable, they’re far too polite to comment.

Unlike me.

So if you received Grinch-Ass shortbread from me this year, I sincerely apologize.  I promise it won’t happen again. (But my inner twelve-year-old will snicker about it forever more.)

Did anyone else have food-related ‘oopses’ over the holidays?

Book 18 progress: Sadly, none. I was feeling too crappy to work; and I still have to gulp anti-nausea tablets if I’m going to look at computer screen for more than a few minutes at a time. Hoping to report more progress (and less nausea) soon!

34 thoughts on “The Shortbread Grinch

  1. I was looking at them when I read your comments about what they suddenly looked like to you…..I laughed so hard as I hadn’t seen anything that looked like that until you planted that seed. Oh….so true…love it!!


  2. Sure hope you get feeling better soon. A month is a long time for an allergy reaction. I’m still trying to organize my 3rd booster.
    As to your Grinch shortbread great imagination and yes it is impossible not to see now. Here are some ideas for next year:


  3. Happy New Year, Diane! Your cherry flips look absolutely wonderful (I love anything cherry flavoured), and I also like abstract art. What looks like a bottom to one may look like a road heading out into the rolling hills in the distance to another… I can’t type anymore as my imagination is running away with me and the taste of cherries. Bliss! 🍒


  4. Happy New Year to you as well.

    Hope you feel better soon and return to all your activities, including taking and sharing lovely photos of your gardens.

    Loved Book 17 but don’t push yourself to 18 too quickly; your fans understand.

    Cheers, Jessica


    • Aw, thank you so much for your support, Jessica! That means a lot to me. I’ve been feeling well enough to get some plotting done for Book 18 this week, so hopefully words will hit the page soon. I’m eager to get started.

      Cheers to you, too!


  5. That is too funny, Diane! I wonder if your family members and friends who received this particular gift read your blog… I would never have spotted this image, but you are right. It cannot be unseen now. Just like those images that mess with your mind, like the old/young woman, etc.

    Happy New Year to you and yours and I hope you will feel better soon.


  6. Turn your shortbreads 180 degrees and they become sea gulls flying toward the sun. A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and get well soon.


  7. I have NEVER seen a haemorrhoid look so appealing. Perhaps I should expand my boundaries. I feel for you on the nausea front. I shake rattle and roll with the number of tablets I take for it – and sadly one of my newest medication’s other effects is nausea. Others include vomiting. And diarrhea. And hot flushes. Sometimes I think that my doctors dislike me as much as I do them. Branching off to the side (as I so often do) wishing people I dislike painful and incurable haemorrhoids has long been a curse of mine. I might have to rethink it…


    • I’m laughing over your vile curse! It seems like an appropriately karmic fate for pain-in-the-ass people. But I have tremendous sympathy for your nausea — what a horrible affliction. It must be a difficult decision to choose between whatever good results you may be getting with the drug, in return for constant misery of other sorts. My nausea and dizziness has only been going on for a month, so I’m hoping it’s a short-term inner ear issue. Fingers crossed…


  8. LOL! I love the way you think!
    Here’s hoping you feel much better soon! Is it all the brands of boosters that make you ill? Or do you not get to choose? I had great luck with one, and terrible luck with another.


    • My first three were Moderna and this latest one was Pfizer, but they’re very similar and it turns out I’m allergic to something in both shots. After the third shot I knew for sure that I was allergic to Moderna, so I thought I’d try Pfizer this time; but I’m chalking the experiment up as a fail. It seemed like a good idea at the time…

      I’m glad you got some chuckles from the shortbread! I never know whether I should share my twisted thoughts or just keep quiet and hope nobody ever finds out the way my mind works. 😉


          • At one point earlier, there was some fun hanky panky ways with several hunks. There’s still some possibilities, but with current status of John and Arnie, not so much.


            • Hmmm. I wonder if I should do something about that. It’s tough being this far along in the series, with so many readers cheering hard for “settle down with John” or “let it all hang out with Arnie” or “play the field and have fun”. No matter which way Aydan’s affairs go, some readers will end up disappointed.


  9. Wonderful post, except for your llnesses!
    Love the cookies and would have thought your friends and family would understand and make it a more gift ( ha ha )
    Have a great 2023!!!!!


    • Thank you – the same to you! 🙂

      I suspect you’re right: The friends who share my twisted sense of humour might demand my Grinch-Ass cookies from now on. It’s the kind of thing that makes a great in-joke: Innocent bystanders say, “What pretty cookies”, and the rest of us try to stifle our unwholesome snickers.


  10. OK then…I didn’t see anything Grinchy about your shortbread cookies until you pointed it out! 🤣 My first thought on seeing them was exactly what you intended. And I’d love a batch of those myself, but we’re finally purging our casa of sweets from the holidays, and hopefully purging a few extra pounds ourselves!

    I fortunately kept the cooking low-key this year. We didn’t do a fancy roast or anything like that for Christmas Eve; honestly, it was so unremarkable that I can’t even remember what we had! I made baked ziti for the 25th. We usually make a batch of some sort of cookies for the holidays but this year, for whatever reason, we weren’t feeling it. Even our indoor decorations went up less than a week before the 25th, and came down the day after New Year’s; outdoor decoration was limited to lights this year. Our usual “treat ourselves once a year” New Year’s Eve dinner wasn’t the hotel-and-steakhouse we had originally planned on–we wound up going to a Mexican restaurant and returned home to just be lazy and try to stay awake for midnight.

    I guess 2022 was the year of Low-Effort Festivities™ in our neck of the woods. And our party animal days are long in the past.

    The storm was nearly a no-show here–we got a whopping two inches in our part of the Mitten State. We did get the wind, and temperatures dipped to 2°F (that’s -16° Canadian) which was low, but certainly not the lowest we’ve had. I didn’t even need to touch the snow shovel, even after we had a light snow of another two inches a couple of days later. We’re back to 40s and overcast, like most of our winters have been. We’re itching to get out west to some sunshine if we can afford it in March.


    • “Low-Effort Festivities™” – LOL! I’m pretty sure we’re violating your trademark by doing the same thing. Like you, we had a late-starting and early-ending Christmas tree, and some lights outside. We were lucky to get invited to a nice turkey dinner with another couple on the 25th, and New Year’s Eve consisted of Hubby and me boiling up some crab at home, watching fireworks displays from around the world at 8 PM, and hitting the sack around 10 PM. If the New Year needed any help arriving, it didn’t get it from us.

      I should probably apologize for the Grinch-Ass image now permanently embedded in your brain, but I have to admit that misery loves company. My enjoyment of evergreen swags has now been permanently damaged. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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