Friday, December 02, 2011
Cookie captain, crew bake up Roanoke Children's Theatre treat
Have you heard?
'Have you heard?'
- Urban Professional League debuts awards for professional achievement
- Wells Fargo makes 2 donations in area
- Dancing with the Valley Stars dancers step up donations
- Seniors may renew vows on Feb. 14 at Elm Park Estates
- Kroger customers donate $10,000 to effort aimed at fighting cancer
Pat Grisetti has expanded a Christmas tradition she started back in the late 1980s.
Instead of just making gingerbread men — “I just love them; they are so cute” — for family and friends who stop by for the holidays, Grisetti led a crew that made nearly 1,600 gingerbread cookies that will be sold during performances of “Christmas Cookies,” a new musical to benefit Roanoke Rescue Mission.
As the appointed cookie captain for Christmas cookies, Grisetti, of Boones Mill, solicited help and ingredients from the 70 or so members of her Sunday school class at Franklin Heights Baptist Church in Rocky Mount.
On the first Saturday in November, a group of about 15 gathered at the church and employed an assembly line to roll, cut, bake, decorate and package cookies — 1,570 “to be exact.”
“We had fun. Those ladies were awesome,” Grisetti said. “Afterwards, they were hurting and tired; some of them have knee and back problems, and I felt so guilty.”
Grisetti and her husband, John, then delivered the cookies to walk-in freezers at the Rescue Mission’s 2nd Helpings cafe for storage until the musical previews.
Grisetti said her “Not Quite Perfect Gingerbread People Cookies” had a few casualties when arms, legs, feet and heads started falling off. And, of course, there was some tasting.
The red, white and green cookies have some differences, she said, because “as time went on they took on unique characteristics” of those decorating them.
Grisetti made a test batch of cookies, and after four weeks began taking one out of the freezer each week for a taste test, to make sure they were still good after weeks in the freezer. “So far, so good,” she said, “and my waistline will attest to that.”
A recently retired employee of the U.S. attorney’s office, Grisetti said her sister Debbie Wood recommended her for the cookie captain assignment. Wood is a YMCA buddy to the mission’s CEO Joy Sylvester-Johnson, who wrote the musical with Dr. John Wilcox Priddy.
“Christmas Cookies,” the featured musical for the Roanoke Children’s Theatre during December, is about two children struggling to keep their family and business afloat when their mom’s reserve unit is activated for a tour in Afghanistan. Along the way, they enlist the help of Duchess, a local homeless woman, and Murphy, their mother’s childhood friend, to help bake “perfect gingerbread cookies.”
“We knew we wanted to have gingerbread cookies at the show since there will be a troupe of dancing gingerbread on stage, but we wondered who would take the challenge of baking that many cookies,” said Leslie Littlefield, volunteer coordinator at the Rescue Mission. “So we were delighted that Pat agreed to gather a cookie-baking team for this special event, which benefits the Rescue Mission and the Roanoke Children’s Theatre.”
Grisetti’s first involvement with the Rescue Mission came when her son, Josh, was in the cast of “Soup, Soap, and Salvation,” the first musical stage collaboration between Sylvester-Johnson and Priddy, a family physician, in 1998 at Mill Mountain Theatre. Josh is now a television and stage actor in New York.
Tickets for “Christmas Cookies” are $15 for children and $20 for adults and may be purchased by calling 309-6802 or visiting roanokechildrenstheatre.org.