Breakfast With Martha!- Chocolate Waffle Cookies!- 107 eggs, 85 cups of sugar, 84 3/4 sticks of Butter, and 94 3/4 cups of flour used so far- 113 recipes to go!

September 13, 2010


Martha's Chocolate Waffle Cookies

André's Chocolate Waffle Cookies

I don’t make waffles often and yet I happen to have a waffle iron. I have no idea of where it came from. It sits in the back of my overcrowded cabinet reserved for useless appliances and scads of empty containers with their mis-matched lids. Martha had me resurrect this aged device to make Chocolate Waffle Cookies. How are these different than, say Chocolate Waffles? Well, Martha was very clear in the title. They’re Chocolate Waffle COOKIES.

To make these Cookies a regular waffle batter must be prepared. Flour, milk, sugar, eggs, and melted butter are combined with a healthy portion of cocoa and a scant amount of cinnamon for an extra kick. The batter is then poured by the tablespoon into each panel of the waffle iron which has been well-lubricated with vegetable cooking spray. In a minute-and-a-half you have chocolate waffles. Martha takes this recipe a step further by dipping the cooled and crisp waffles in a ganache made of melted chocolate and butter. Once the ganache is cooled and set, a sprinkling of powdered sugar completes the cookie.

How are they? They are chocolatey and rich with just a hint of spice from the cinnamon. They are surprisingly light in texture which seems to beg you to eat more than one. I brought a batch of these in for my co-workers and they disappeared in a little under an hour.

The words Waffle and Wafer both have the same root adopted into Middle English in the 1300s- Wafre- from the German Wafel. It is a word that means what it always has meant and just about every culture on the planet has their own version of the waffle. So, if you are feeling adventurous and your waffle iron is feeling neglected, bake up a batch of these light and delicious cookies. You’ll be glad you did.

In my last post I wrote about the events that led to a rather bleak Spring day in 2000 for me and three of my students at Baton Rouge Magnet High School. If you have not read the previous post I suggest taking a moment to do just that so you won’t be lost.

Gigi, Ben, Evan and myself sat in a circle as each student took turns explaining why Evan was so distraught. While it was true Trina, the teacher and friend who asked me to take her classes for a couple of months, was indeed undergoing a hysterectomy to combat a recent diagnosis of ovarian cancer, the chances of her coming back to teach were grim. She had been involved in an inappropriate relationship with one of her students. This fifty-plus year old woman with a wealthy husband and three teens at home had been carrying on an emotional and sexually intimate relationship with her student, Evan.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Why had I not been told this by the faculty? The administration? The supervisor? Why was I hearing this from the students? THE student? Evan’s eyes welled with tears. I could clearly see his heart was broken. He loved Trina and now she was gone. He spoke of how they were suppose to run away together and start a new life of their own. He rocked back and forth holding himself in a ball trying to squeeze comfort into his broken and sad heart.

I was furious but never let on. I listened calmly to Evan and suggested he take the rest of the period to lay down while I sat and processed this information. I sneaked into the office and called Trina. I told her that I needed to speak with her that afternoon and I wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. She agreed.

That afternoon Trina and I sat in a small coffee shop on the North end of the LSU campus. I just stared at her with dagger-eyes of disbelief. I could tell she was under tremendous strain. Cancer, hysterectomy, and now this had inscribed her face with deep circles and furrows. I didn’t feel sorry for her, though. I had taught long enough to know there are lines you do not cross. I could understand the temptation. I had students who I found attractive or intriguing but never would I have the ill sense to act upon those feelings. I’ve even had students reveal they had a teacher-crush on me. While flattered, I knew that I was the adult and had to make the responsible decision. How could this sense of responsibility escape Trina? How could she- as a teacher, an adult, and a mother think this behavior was okay? How long had this been going on?

“How’s Evan?” – she asked.

“Not good. Not good at all.”- I responded.

Trina went on- “I’m so sorry to involve you in this. I knew that you would keep this discrete and you would understand.”

“Understand?! Are you f**king kidding me?! Trina, we’ve been friends for almost ten years. I can honestly say I don’t understand a goddamned thing about this! How long has this been going on?”- I asked, the hairs on the back of my neck were on end and I could feel fiery pins and needles all over my scalp.

“I love him, you know.” – she tearily interrupted. “I know it was wrong. I know I hurt my kids. I know I hurt my husband- my marriage. But I love him. Oh God! What am I going to do?”- she began to shake with sobbing.

I sat silent and fuming. I wasn’t equipped to handle this. She was out of her freaking mind. After a few awkward words we angrily parted.

I never saw Trina again. I received a phone call from her husband that afternoon making physical threats if I were to ever try to contact his wife again. I never did.

In the following weeks I had multiple meetings with administrators and counselors. I had to document all interactions with Evan. I had to meet with the supervisor of special education for the parish, a social worker, a school lawyer, and the parents of all three students. I had to report what I knew to this group- private things that Evan had shared with me. I had to watch Evan’s mother’s face twist into a grief-ridden facade as I recounted details of Evan’s and Trina’s indiscretions… How he was so in love with her… How she would write notes to excuse him from his classes so they could rendezvous in remote areas of the school building… How he loved to kiss her freckles… how he admired her caesarian scar and how awesomely beautiful it was.

What Trina did was not illegal. Unethical, yes. Illegal, no. Evan was seventeen years old which was the age of consent in the state of Louisiana at the time. I am quite certain the affair began when he was sixteen but there was little interest from any of the parties involved to pursue this matter in a courtroom. Trina had married into a prominent, local, political family, the school board didn’t need any negative publicity, and everyone wanted what was best for Evan so we all promised to keep the matter confidential and away from the media. The school board was prepared to cover all expenses in regards to any psychological treatment Evan felt he needed. My job was primarily to look for warning signs of depression and alert the school and his family if there was a cause for concern.

Despite keeping the event under wraps, the teachers at BRMHS knew what had happened. From that first afternoon they barraged me with questions and speculations. “Which kid was it?” -was the most common question asked. I refused to answer and so the faculty formed their own conclusion. They unanimously agreed that Trina’s affair was with Ben. After all, Ben was from a hippy-dippy family of Unitarians. “That’s what happens when there’s no God in the home.” – a few proselytized.  I pulled Ben aside to make him aware of this rumor. He actually found it pretty amusing and agreed to play along if it meant protecting his friend, Evan. Ben was awesome.

The faculty was irate. They had every right to be. Many made a point of saying that if this sort of thing had happened with a male faculty member and a female student, heads would be rolling.

The fact is, Trina was never fired. No disciplinary action had been taken against her in fear of legal retribution or a negative mention in the press. The parish continued to pay her while she was “on leave.” The faculty regarded this as insulting.

As the semester waned things settled down. I went back to the routine of teaching and filling out endless paperwork. Gigi just wanted it all to be over. She felt robbed of her senior year and try as I could, I couldn’t make things right for her. I’ve always felt incredibly guilty about this and wish I could’ve given her the attention she deserved.

Later that semester I attended Evan’s Eagle Scout Ceremony. I watched him receive the highest honor a scout can receive. He had been a scout for so long and had worked so hard.  I sat in the back and I felt prouder than I had ever felt for any student. All the events of that semester suddenly came back and I began to tear up. I was crying because I had the confidence I needed to let go of all the negativity in which the last few months were steeped. I knew Evan was going to be okay. I knew he was going to get beyond all of this awfulness and become the remarkable, talented, and fiercely intelligent man he was destined to be.

Evan, Ben and I are still pretty close.

In the past ten years they’ve both completed college and are now pursuing their dreams. Ben is a struggling musician in New York City but has recently enjoyed some significant successes. Evan is an artist/philosopher who after living in New York City for years, left to pursue a quieter and more introspective rural life in North Carolina.

I’d like to say that the events of 2000 have faded into the past where they belong, but I’m afraid Evan will continue to hold on to them for many more years to come. He understandably struggles with depression and from time-to-time he’s gone on drinking binges but he is a smart guy and I have every confidence that he will ultimately land in a happy place.

Trina finally lost her battle with cancer and passed away a few years ago. I sent a letter of condolence to her family. I’m sure they, too have not let go.

In a recent conversation, after giving me permission to write this post, Evan mentioned he was thinking of pursuing a master’s degree and possibly teaching.

Hmmmm. Evan teaching.

You know what?

Nothing would make me prouder.

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One Response to “Breakfast With Martha!- Chocolate Waffle Cookies!- 107 eggs, 85 cups of sugar, 84 3/4 sticks of Butter, and 94 3/4 cups of flour used so far- 113 recipes to go!”

  1. Russ Says:

    Holy Crap. Does this kind of thing happen at every school? ALmost everyone I know had this happen in their school. Is it just inevitable?


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