Say “Cheese,” Martha!- Cream Cheese Swirl Blondies – 90 eggs, 67 1/4 cups of sugar, 67 sticks of Butter, and 80 1/4 cups of flour used so far- 124 recipes to go!

August 11, 2010

Martha's Cream Cheese Swirl Blondies

André's Cream Cheese Swirl Blondies

A blondie is simply an albinic brownie. If one were to whip up a common brownie batter and forget to add the cocoa powder, they would end up with golden brown blondies. It’s still a satisfying treat and for those poor souls out there who struggle with the pox of chocolate allergies, it’s a pretty good alternative. Martha takes this recipe a step further by incorporating swirls of cream cheese in each bite. The swirl technique is quite simple. The baker simply has two separate batters to prepare and then combine. One is a regular blondie batter consisting of eggs, sugar, flour, and butter. The other consists of cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and egg. Two-thirds of the blondie batter is spread in a square baking pan followed by dollops of the cream cheese filling interspersed with the remaining blondie batter. Swirl these two batters together with a butter knife and bake. Easy! Also quite delicious.

It’s been awhile since I wrote about my circus days. The last time I did this my blog wound up posted to several other animal rights websites and ended with me addressing the City Council of Anaheim in support of a ban against exotic animal performances within the city. Today’s story will probably not enjoy that kind of exposure but it will give you a peek behind the curtain at the big top and what we poor clowns will do to rage against the boredom of performing the same show over and over again.

It takes a special type of person to be a circus clown and by “special” I mean certifiable or possibly psychotic. It takes huge cojones to run away and join the circus. It takes even bigger cojones to run away from the circus to join a home. As I mentioned in my previous post, new members to the circus are called First-of-Mays. This is because traditionally most new members joined the circus around the first of May. I did not. It was November when I first entered Ringling at a venue just outside of Chicago with several other fellow Clown College graduates. New clowns are referred to by the more seasoned clown staff as Joeys. This was ironic as one of our fresh new faces was actually named Joey. Joey was the youngest of our group. Barely 18 years old, Joey was eager to please and fearless of any physical challenge that came his way. It was customary for the clowns to pull practical jokes on each other to relieve the tedium of constantly performing. Joey was the perfect candidate for the brunt of most of these practical jokes.

Just prior to our arrival, the circus had pulled out of Baraboo, Wisconsin, the circus clown capitol of the United States. How’d you like to be the mayor in that town? A group of clown fanatics organized a meeting with the clown alley of Ringling’s blue unit where they could ask questions, get autographs and pose for photos with Ringling’s best. As a gift, they presented the boss clown with a box filled with hundreds of blue bumper stickers which read- BARABOO, WI- HOME OF THE INTERNATIONAL CLOWN HALL OF FAME! What were these clowns going to do with bumper stickers? None of them had cars and due to stringent railroad restrictions, they couldn’t affix them to the train. They were at a loss as to what to do with all these blue stickers until they made a proposal to eager-to-please Joey.

They would collect $5.00 from every person in the circus and give it to him if he were to wear a bumper sticker around his … well… his “personage” everyday until he ran out of stickers. The rules were simple:

  • If anyone who contributed to the fund asked for proof, he would have to drop his trousers and prove he was wearing the sticky propaganda of Baraboo.
  • He could only change the sticker once a day.
  • He had to sleep with the sticker.
  • If he is ever caught without the sticker, he would forfeit the challenge.

Joey, was enticed by the thought of making a little extra money in exchange for a stupid prank/challenge He also knew that if he saw this challenge through successfully, he would be accepted and respected among his peers. I thought the whole idea was ridiculous and refused to contribute. I did, however, name the challenge much to the amusement of all involved. Since the bumper stickers were blue and we were all part of Ringling’s traveling blue unit, I called this torturous event- Joey’s Little Blue “Unit.”

Over the next few days Joey was dropping his pants every five minutes for perfect strangers to point and gawk at his privates. I wasn’t convinced this was the best way to relieve boredom.

I’ve met many people through the years who have told me they have a deep-seeded fear of clowns. My response is always the same- “Wait till you’ve showered with fifteen of them.”  The first time I had to shower up after a show, the scene struck me as being about as twisted as any Fellini film- grown, hairy-chested men covered in foam and suds, completely naked except for their grotesque and melting clown make-up. The scene just seemed to beg for Italian sub-titles. This visual included one clown dwarf. We called him Little Caesar. As disturbing as the sight of a roomful of naked clowns was for me, I couldn’t help but think how much more terrible it must’ve been from his perspective. Honestly, eye-level was not kind to Little Caesar.

Caesar was from Poland and he was one feisty and humorless little guy. He was often the brunt of inappropriate comments from the other clowns and when in frustration he exacted his revenge in response to a silly prank or stupid comment, it was targeted and vicious. Caesar had been mugged a few months before our arrival while the show played in Madison Square Garden. Caesar immediately went out and purchased a taser so he would be prepared the next time a mugger tried to take his wallet. One of the more seasoned clowns had been giving him a lot of grief about getting mugged and was relentless in bringing up the topic even though Caesar had made it quite clear he didn’t want to hear anymore. Caesar hatched the idea to teach this older clown a lesson. While most of clown alley had headed to the showers, I watched Caesar wrap duct tape around the trigger of his taser so that it was set to a permanent live and active mode. Tasers consist of two prongs that when pressed against the skin completes a circuit and gives the victim a sudden, intense and paralyzing shock. I watched Caesar grab a towel and waddle towards the showers concealing the weapon. I quickly followed. Whatever was about to happen needed to be witnessed. Most of the clowns were showering so I pretended to wash my face in the sink and watch Caesar. I saw him slip the taser into his victim’s shower bag. He then disrobed and headed to shower and wait for the ensuing scene.

I held my breath as the freshly washed and dripping clown reached into his bag when all of sudden every clown in the shower, including Caesar gyrated and hopped as though the group was having some sort of insane group clown seizure. They yelped and squealed and the noise echoed throughout the tiled bathroom and into the hall of the performance stadium. Yes, Caesar’s plan worked. It shocked the hell out of his intended victim. The intended victim, however was on a wet tiled surface shared by everyone else in the shower, including Caesar, the perpetrator. It was one of the most horrific and hysterical scenes I had ever witnessed. Eight naked, foamy clowns and a dwarf hopping around, yelping profanities  and slipping across a wet floor with one random clown wearing a blue bumper sticker around his dick.

You know how some people claim they’ve seen just about everything?

I believe I can honestly claim I have.

3 Responses to “Say “Cheese,” Martha!- Cream Cheese Swirl Blondies – 90 eggs, 67 1/4 cups of sugar, 67 sticks of Butter, and 80 1/4 cups of flour used so far- 124 recipes to go!”

  1. nina Says:

    you have no idea how badly i needed this laugh! thanks again!

  2. Ribb Says:

    I agree with Nina. Thanks André for always being able to make me laugh with your posts.

  3. Carol Says:

    I think I can say that that picture will stay with me for a long, long time.

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