The tea cookies that men don’t see.

For Punctuation 2 we are repeating our Show and Tell: SFnal Cookbook panel. If you recall, last time I picked what looked like an quick and easy cookie recipe from the Doctor Who cookbook and then spent three plus hours sweating over the piping.

This time around I have a new cookbook in the form of The Bakery Men Don’t See, a Xmas gift from John, who knows what side his bread is buttered on. And if you like butter, ho boy, does this book have a recipe for you!

Now as the title suggests, The Bakery Men Don’t See is primarily baked goods. Since there is a Lockdown Birthdays party scheduled for early afternoon, eating my creation before the panel seems rude, and having two cakes a bit excessive. The bread recipes were tempting, but I got a loaf of our lovely local sourdough for the cheese tasting panel, also on Saturday. Which mainly left cookies. Lo! There is a recipe on the book that looks fast, tasty, and uses ingredients I already have on hand (we’ve bought so much food and drink for this weekend y’all. So much.)

Long story long, I give you J.F. Rivkin’s Russian Tea Cookies;

After a taste and a google, I see these seem to be called tea cakes sometimes as well, and show up a lot as a holiday recipe. I’m almost certain I’ve had them before, though they also remind me of polvorones, a Spanish Xmas cookie that I am now tempted to make myself when the season arrives.

So, the cookies are great – though next time I will make them a little rounder – and I recommend the cookbook they come from, which raises money for a good cause and is full of interesting stuff.

But what of the author? I had not heard of Rivkin previously, but only about half of the names in the book are familiar to me. This recipe is one of less than a handful in the book that has no introduction at all, no biographical hints. A quick google turns up little information and some of it contradictory; SFF Encyclopedia proclaims Rivkin to be a pseudonym of two other authors, but other sites list it as the pen name of single author Jeri Freedman/Ellen Foxxe. Still others say no! Rivkin was a single author’s pseudonym, and *that* author would collaborate with Freedman under the name Foxxe. Whoever they were, the name stops appearing in the early nineties after what appears to be a fondly remembered barbarian swordswoman trilogy called Silverglass.

Who were they? Are they still around? Do they have other recipes I should know about? I don’t know. But I’ve ordered a paperback of Silverglass in honour of their contribution to my excellent weekend.

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