Sunday, June 25, 2006

Try the ones with the chocolate sprinkles

Many, many years ago, the woman I was dating at that time, Lecia, used to have a cookie exchange party between Thanksgiving and Christmas every year. A few of her coworkers would come over to the house with cookies or candy, and they would sample the goods (so to speak) and exchange the recipes. And for some reason, there was always one person who would make the super secret Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookies, but that's a different story.

So one year, Lecia decided that I should make Rice Krispies treats for this party. I have no idea why I was being roped into this, but there are better battles to waste my time on, so I went along for the ride. Bear in mind, this is before Kelloggs started selling Rice Krispies treats pre-made, so I actually had to turn on the stove and stuff.

So I started by melting the required amount of butter over low heat. I added the marshmallows and began stirring them, waiting for them to melt as well. I was briefly distracted from the stove during the melting process (I swear it was less than 5 seconds), at which time the marshmallows burned and started smoking. Again, I swear it was less than 5 seconds. I salvaged what I could by scraping the remaining unburned marshmallows into another saucepan, but there was still a few flakes of ash in what was left. They actually looked like little sprinkles of chocolate.

Using the remaining marshmallows, I finished making the treats. After they had cooled, I sampled one of my creations. It tasted horrible. When Lecia got home later that day, she sampled a little as well, and she thought they were horrible. They tasted so bad, I didn't think it was entirely due to the marshmallows burning.

So I walked through the cooking process with Lecia. I told her I started by taking the stick of butter out of the butter tray in the refrigerator, cutting off the required amount (which was so conveniently labeled on the side), and melting it in the saucepan.

Lecia asked, "Which sticks of butter?"

"The ones in the butter tray," I replied.

"Those aren't sticks of butter. Those are sticks of Crisco."

Ah, there was my error. I had made a mistake in assuming that the butter tray would have butter in it. Instead, I had cooked with vegetable shortening, and the results were inedible. More than likely, it was also the reason the marshmallows had burned in the first place.

So what should we do with the treats I had made? We didn't think they should be shared at the cookie exchange party, but we didn't want to waste food by throwing them out either. So Lecia took them to work with her to share with her clients and coworkers.

Surprisingly, they all commented on how good they were. They especially liked the little chocolate sprinkles.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

It was just as if everyone had swelled.

In the movie Grosse Pointe Blank Martin Blank, played by John Cusack, is a professional assassin who is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe. By coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion is taking place there at the same time. His secretary/admin Marcella is trying to convince him to go, and when he asks if she went to hers, she replies, "Yes I did. It was just as if everyone had swelled."

That quote always reminds me of high school reunions in general, and the movie itself reminds me of MY high school reunions. Not because any of my classmates are professional assassins (as far as I know), but because the Martin Blank character graduated in 1986, as I did.

Plus, I was thinking of that movie this past weekend at my twenty-year high school reunion. Yes, some people had "swelled". But some were thinner than they were at the ten-year. Some looked the same as high school, while others were almost unrecognizable. Some were still married to their high school sweethearts, while others ... uh ... well, others weren't. Some were still living in town, while others hadn't been back since graduation.

I tried to talk to everyone in attendance, but I have been known to ramble (yes, really) so I just ran out of time. While catching up, here are the three most common questions I heard:
  1. Where's your brother? My incredibly handsome twin brother was in the Dominican Republic for work, so he and his family were unable to attend. I didn't think anything of it since we haven't lived in the same town for almost fifteen years, but I guess my classmates were used to seeing us together. I thought about changing shirts periodically so that I could pretend both of us were there, and I thought about being a jerk to everybody while I was "Ron". But that seemed like too much work.

  2. How's your dad? My old man was a vocal fixture at our football practices and games, as well as our basketball games. Plus, he was a little league baseball coach for three years for me and several classmates. For the record, he's doing fine and is still as vocal as ever (as noted here).

  3. So you're not married? (or a variation of that) Nope, still not. I hear it's because I'm kind of a jerk. :)
All-in-all, it was lot of fun. I look forward to the next one.

August Update: Here are a small subset of the photos from the reunion. And by subset, I mean "ones with me in them."

My classmate Mark's wife Lonie, me, and my classmate Dawna. Even I can look studly if you surround me with beautiful women.

Dawna, Scott, Scott's wife Lori, Cindy, me, and Mark. I'm really enjoying my $2 cup of coke.

Me at the reunion picnic. I was on my way to go play in the bouncy room behind me ... uh, I mean I was on my way to supervise the kids.