Welcome to Wiser Now’s weekly email blast which reflects our eclectic interests and, we hope, yours. This week we’re focused on interesting holiday foods. We welcome your feedback.

The Quote

"People who love to eat are always the best people."
~ Julia Child


The Quirky Observation

2019 is one of the fairly rare years when Hanukkah and Christmas overlap. Hanukkah, which follows the lunar-based Jewish calendar, begins officially this year at sunset on December 22nd and ends at sunset on December 30th.  Christmas, of course, is celebrated from the evening of December 24th through the evening of December 25th – unless you are a merchant; then you have been celebrating since October 1st.  It has been 40 years since Hanukkah last began on the 22nd, although it has begun on the 24th or 25th on average every 15 years or so in the last century. All of which means that this year you can have your gingerbread and jelly doughnuts, too.


The 3 Requests

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3. What do you know about the soon-to-arrive winter solstice? I provide lots of fun trivia about it in my December slide show, among many other topics. (You will learn a little more in next week’s WNW.) All the slide shows consist of family friendly, highly visual trivia quizzes, word games, and discussion topics that work well one-on-one, in group settings, and anywhere you have access to a TV or tablet while you visit or wait. See excerpts here. For a limited time, I will send the complete slide show “December Celebrations” for free to anyone who will send me honest feedback that I might use on my website. Just ask me:

The Quirky Fact

Every month, a variety of foods are officially celebrated. December honors gingerbread, fruitcake and peppermint. (Inexplicably, jelly doughnuts are celebrated in June.) And if you would like a beverage with that, it’s also Eggnog and Wassail Month. I am fond of gingerbread as a cake topped with whipped cream, but never met a fruitcake worth loving, and think the fruitcake toss held for years in Colorado is its just comeuppance. You can read about amusing fruitcake fans and maligners here.

The Quiz
Gingerbread is ancient and makes a mouthwatering subject for a mini trivia quiz.

1.  Although it is believed that ginger spread across the world from China where it was used for its medicinal properties, the first known gingerbread recipe (minus the gumdrops and frosting) dates to 2400 BCE in ancient Greece.  True ___   False ___
2.  Gingerbread seems to have made its way to Europe as a souvenir brought back by crusading knights to the Middle East as early as the 13th century. True ___   False ___
3.  Gingerbread men were popularized by Queen Elizabeth I in the 1500s. She had her bakers make gingerbread cookies shaped and decorated to look like her guests at parties and banquets and flattered visiting dignitaries in the same way. True ___   False ___
4.  Superstitious young English maidens ate gingerbread men for good luck in finding a mate. True ___ False ___
5.  Gingerbread houses first became popular in Germany after the Brothers Grimm published the story of Hansel and Gretel in 1812. True ___    False ___
6.  Ginger is recommended for all of the following conditions except which one: nausea, sore muscles, curing warts, indigestion, high cholesterol.  ______

Gingerbread is also charming, you can see a brief video of the world’s largest gingerbread village in Bergen, Norway here.

Answers are at the end of this email.

The Kiosk of Resources

Here’s a gingerbread recipe worth drooling over:

Peppermint tends to wake us up, so try a drink that blends equal parts skim milk and vanilla ice cream with a couple of ice cubes and some peppermint syrup and top all that with whipped cream. Or use all sugar-free ingredients (substituting candy for syrup) to lower the calorie count.

I used many resources for my gingerbread quiz, but here’s the one I liked best. It has a bunch of fun information I didn’t include in the quiz.

Answers to quiz:
  1. True
  2. False – Make that the 11th century. Another source says it arrived in Europe even earlier.
  3. True
  4. True – Although biting off their heads has a creepy praying mantis vibe to it.
  5. False – Gingerbread houses had been made for centuries in Germany by then.
  6. Curing warts. Learn more at
Our multiple goals are to amuse and inspire you, to share what we and people whom we admire are doing, to stimulate your curiosity and spur you to action. We hope you enjoyed this offering. You can access previous issues here. We welcome your feedback. (
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Copyright (c) 2019 Kathy Laurenhue | All rights reserved.

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