Side Dish

Got Milk?

Just as soon as the turkey leftovers are packed away, it will be back to the kitchen for bakers Mike and Elizabeth Vernon. The Akron couple own and operate Biddie's Bakery, a mail-order gourmet cookie company on Baird Street, and the upcoming Christmas holiday is their busiest season. No wonder, with the delicious and beautifully made products that the bakers ship to customers throughout the country. Elizabeth (a.k.a. Biddie) is in charge of the irresistibly colorful, hand-decorated cutout cookies -- buttery shortbreads topped with glistening royal icing. Mike, meanwhile, bakes an assortment of drop cookies, including Biddie's bestselling lemon almond cookies, with a cake-like texture and an intense citrus zing, and double chocolate pecan cookies: a rich chocolate-mocha dough loaded with chocolate chunks and crisp pecans. All the goodies are baked fresh to order, carefully hand-wrapped, and packed in crush-proof tins before being shipped by UPS. Because all cookies are baked when ordered, Biddie's doesn't offer over-the-counter sales. You can drool over the company's full product list, complete with photos, at Or call Mike at 888-785-2045. (The couple obviously came by their gourmet flair naturally: They met while employed at Akron's nationally known West Point Market, established by legendary foodie -- and Mike's dad -- Russ Vernon.)

Eyeing the market . . . You think that all farmers do this time of year is sit around the stove sharpening their hoes and picking hayseeds out of their beards? Heck no! They'll be trucking on up to Shaker Square soon to give city slickers a few final tastes of the homegrown, homemade products that we savored during the summer run of the North Union Farmers' Market. Co-founder and board president Mary Holmes says she expects between 8 and 10 area producers to take part in the special Holiday Markets (10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on November 27, and December 4 and 11, on the patios of Yours Truly and Arabica, on the southeast corner of the square). Goods will include farm-fresh maple syrup, goat cheese, eggs, honey, apples, preserves, and salsa, as well as dried flowers, wreaths, and crafts. Are you thinking "Christmas shopping" yet? (And remember to mark your calendars: The North Union Farmers' Market will begin its sixth summer season on the square on the first Saturday of May 2000.)

High tea in Twinsburg . . . Twinsburg's new Hilton Garden Inn (Route 82 at I-480, 330-405-4488) has started serving High Tea each Sunday, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., in the hotel's elegant lobby. To sip, guests can choose from a selection of herbal and caffeinated Tazo teas. And to sup, there's a nice assortment of dainty tea sandwiches, savory cheese pastries, crunchy nut breads, scones with thick preserves and jams, and sweeties like lemon tarts, mousse cups, and a variety of chocolates. Seating is at white-linen-dressed tables scattered throughout the airy marble-and-wood reception area or in plush sofas and armchairs pulled up to the fireplace. Tariff is a modest $5.99 per person; reservations are suggested for parties of eight or more. Plans call for continuing the weekly teas throughout the holiday season. But who knows? If the response is positive, the veddy, veddy civilized custom may be here to stay.

Elaine T. Cicora can be reached at [email protected].