Maybe it's a Southern thing, but I absolutely love cheese straws. I grew up having them at teas, then moved on to munching on them at football tailgate parties (along with Bloody Marys and mimosas) as well as teas and brunches. I tried my hand at making them one time, but the cookie press I used was not good and I ended up with cheese straw fragments and cramped hands. Since making cheese straws is clearly not my gift, I have decided to devote some time this year to the quest for the perfect cheese straw. I may need to look no further than those made by my dear college friend Laura in Columbus, Georgia.

We had our third annual girls' gathering this past weekend and Laura is not allowed to come unless she brings a container of her famous cheese straws. They are perfect in every way - perfect rectangles with thin little ridges, perfectly crisp, and just the right amount of sharpness from the cheese. It's a good thing I had to return home on Monday, as I'm not sure that "The Cheese Straw Diet" is an effective weight loss strategy!

Laura has been making cheese straws for about 20 years and selling them around town to friends, colleagues and caterers. She follows a recipe from a Christmas cookbook that she received as a wedding gift and uses a battery-operated cookie press. I won't divulge her recipe in case she decides to make these on a larger scale, but you can use this cheese straw recipe from Southern Living if you want to try your hand at making them. Laura's are going to be hard to beat, but I'd sure like to hear about your favorite cheese straws, either homemade or commercial brands. Laura has set the bar pretty high, so let the quest begin!