Perhaps the oddest stocking stuffer for the North Bay foodie on your holiday list is Cookies for Rookies, a little hand-drawn map that outlines the top cookie-purchasing and -baking spots in Sonoma County. Created by the tireless cookie passion of compadres Maayan Simon and André Morand, Cookies for Rookies: A Guide to Sonoma County's Cookie Scene is surprising in a number of ways. First, and most obviously of course, is the notion of there being a "cookie scene" at all. Graciously allowing that as a granted, we next widen in prudish wonder at the intensely sexual nature of said cookie scene, in which there are evidently cookies to "satisfy every desire," as Simon and Morand report of the Artisan Bakers in Sonoma. "Are you getting hot?" they ask, "Because we sure are." Man, pass those cookies! A benefit for Free Mind Media, Cookies for Rookies is an intensely personal, sweet little guide that fits snugly into a wallet, perfect for taking out into the scene when going cookie-hopping. To learn how to support independent media while satisfying every desire, go to www.myspace.com/cookiesforrookies.
Also on the do-gooding-while-eating trail, we direct your attention to the Marin French Cheese Factory, long known for its award-winning Rouge et Noir soft cheeses. The oldest hand-made artisanal cheese producer in the U.S., Marin French Cheese Co. may now also be one of the most altruistic. Owner Jim Boyce was inspired to begin a donation program to the Marine Mammal Center on the Marin Headlands ater reading 2004 news reports about Chippy, the sea lion discovered some 60 miles from the ocean with a bullet cruelly lodged in his head. Nursed back to health at the MMC, Chippy presumably swims free today, but other sea mammals need attention. To help out the good folks at Marine Mammal, Boyce pledges that an entire dollar--and we're not being facetious, that's a large percentage on an $8 product--of the price of each of his cheeses sold through area retail outlets will be donated to benefit the center. This holiday season, make it red and black for Chippy and the pups. www.marinfrenchceheese.com.
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