Lisa Abraham

If ever there was a sign that the holidays were on their way, the annual madrigal dinners at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is surely it.

This year the dinners will be at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and 7, and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 8, at St. Paul’s, 1361 W. Market St., Akron.

Volunteer cooks from the parish prepare an authentic 16th-century four-course feast for the dinners, featuring a selection of pates, meats, vegetable dishes, pastries and ales in a traditionally decorated Tudor hall. Members of the church’s Choir of Men and Boys and the St. Cecilia Girls’ Choir will perform.

Tickets are $45 and may be ordered at or by calling 330-836-9327, ext. 36.

Profits support the St. Paul’s Choir Travel Fund. The choirs are scheduled to sing at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire, England, from July 28 to Aug. 3, 2014. For further information about the St. Paul’s music program, go to

?Ray’s Place memories

The book about everyone’s favorite Kent hangout, Ray’s Place, is out.

I have a feeling Meet Me at Ray’s: A Celebration of Ray’s Place in Kent, Ohio will land under many Christmas trees this year.

The book, by Kent State University professor Patrick J. O’Connor, was put together to celebrate the restaurant’s 75th anniversary. O’Connor solicited stories from patrons to help put the book together.

Ray’s was founded in 1937. Current owner Charlie Thomas has owned it since 1978, and soon plans to open a second location in Fairlawn. Thomas tells me that opening will likely take place in late January.

The book is filled with trivia, nostalgia, and great photos and stories. The softcover book is $18 and is published by Kent State’s Black Squirrel Books.

If you buy the book at Ray’s, $7.69 from the sale will go to the Ray’s Place Entrepreneurship Scholarship awarded through Kent State’s College of Business. Some portion of the proceeds from every sale will go toward the fund, but books purchased at Ray’s send the largest amount to the scholarship’s coffers, Thomas said.

The book is available on Amazon and at stores throughout Kent.

Portage book signings

Local author Bev Shaffer will sign copies of her latest cookbook, Chocolate Desserts to Die For! at two upcoming library events.

Shaffer will be at the Randolph branch of the Portage County District Library from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, where she will give a presentation, offer a dessert tasting, answer questions, and sell and sign copies of the book.

The event, sponsored by the Friends of the Randolph Library, is free, but registration is required. It will be held in the community center behind the library, 1639 state Route 44, Randolph. Phone the library at 330-325-7003 to register.

Shaffer will repeat the program from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, at the Pierce Streetsboro branch of Portage County District Library, 8990 Kirby Lane, Streetsboro.

Phone 330-626-4458 to register for that event.

Cookie walk in the Falls

The Falls Cancer Club is sponsoring a Holiday Cookie Walk and Pumpkin Roll Sale from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 7 at the First Christian Church, corner of Second Street and Stow Avenue, Cuyahoga Falls.

There will be a wide variety of cookies for sale, all of which are priced at $6.50 per pound. Pumpkin rolls are $8. All profits are used to pay for cancer-related doctor, hospital and pharmacy bills for patients registered with the Falls Cancer Club.

Phone 330-929-2796 for more information.

Lisa Abraham can be reached at 330-996-3737 or at Find me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter @akronfoodie or visit my blog at