Buttering Up Martha!- Buttery Pecan Rounds! – 115 eggs, 90 cups of sugar, 91 1/4 sticks of Butter, and 102 3/4 cups of flour used so far- 107 recipes to go!

October 4, 2010

Martha's Buttery Pecan Rounds

André's Buttery Pecan Rounds

Okay, imagine, if you will, a cookie made of brown sugar, ground pecans, maple syrup and vanilla extract held together in a thick paste by a hell of a lot of butter. Each scoop of batter is shaped into a small ball and placed on a parchment-lined sheet and topped with a single pecan half. This small ball of rich, buttery goodness melts into a wafer-thin cookie which is then cooled until crispy. Each bite is divine. Each morsel is filled with the rich Fall flavor of maple and pecan capped with the deliciousness that only butter can provide. This is a Buttery Pecan Round.

I baked a batch for my partner’s co-workers. These cookies worked their magic in the stock room of my partner’s mass retail environment. They were only there for a moment and then, as if by some supernatural force, disappeared leaving only crumbs and smiles in their wake.

I try to avoid flowery writing but, dammit, these cookies deserve it. Read this post and then get off your tuches and bake up a batch of these. You won’t be disappointed.

Now, back to life in the Southern Louisiana Parochial School System.

In my last post I mentioned that I stepped out of the Catholic schools to attend a public Gifted & Talented program in sixth grade. It was disastrous. While I thought life at Saint Thomas More was hard, I was in no way prepared for the daily grind in public school. I was unaccustomed to the playground politics that pervaded every moment of every day. All I knew was that I was on the lowest rung of the popularity ladder and I didn’t stand a chance of ever ascending. The tigers stayed hungry and I was always going to be the entree.

I finished the year and returned to Saint Thomas More in seventh grade. My return was greeted with great suspicion from fellow students as well as the faculty. Why did he leave? Did he have a nervous breakdown? Was he in rehab? Where had he gone?  Is he still weird? There were lots of questions to answer when I returned. I enjoyed the positive attention, or at least the sincere curiosity for a change. Some students actually found a modicum of respect for me. I found a little respect for myself, too. After all, I had been on the outside. A world without nuns, religion class or uniforms. For the first few months of seventh grade I didn’t disappear into the library to shelve books, but rather hung out with inquisitive students who plied me for stories about my year at Prescott Middle School.

Another advantage of seventh grade at Saint Thomas More was being able to move to the other side of the campus reserved exclusively for the seventh and eighth graders. We were the big kids on campus. We no longer had to share a playground space with the peons. We had an entire football field to ourselves. We were smarter  and cooler than we had been in previous years. We were young teens. We knew about sex and the notion of it left us titillated and terrified at the same time. A few of us had even seen an R-Rated film or two that Summer and found it utterly cathartic. Girls had formed protective cliques ruled by an alpha female who emerged from Summer break with newly developed and enviable bosoms. Boys formed loud and raging packs of wild and wicked energy which they used to dare one another to impress their female audience. They would flex their tiny biceps and engage in ridiculously energetic acrobatics. They would moon the nuns when they weren’t looking and celebrate their victory by downing cans of Coca-Cola and burping the alphabet echoed with groans of disgust from a clutch of eighth-grade females who sauntered towards the bleachers to secretly chat about menstruation and French kissing. It was a special time. We were still children, yes. But we were children on the cusp of meeting our future selves.

The nuns at Saint Thomas More knew that seventh grade marked the beginning of a lot of questions. Questions about our bodies and urges that nuns just aren’t equipped to answer. In a previous post I mentioned that I learned all about sex that Summer when I went with my boy scout troupe to a sleep-away camp in Arkansas. By the time the bus pulled into the campgrounds I knew all about the sexual function in graphic detail. It was certainly a clearer picture than my mother and father had disclosed. They simply told me to expect hair to grow in places where there wasn’t any and when it did, start using deodorant. Well, that and God had the rest figured out and not to ask too many uncomfortable questions. The sisters of Saint Thomas More had a system for answering the many questions that may arise. It was Mrs. Connor, their secret sex shield. Mrs. Connor was a lay-teacher. No pun intended. She was quite petite and young with long, straight, blonde hair and a nonchalant attitude towards the hyper-active antics of middle-school students. She was just about the hippest teacher we had at old STM and the students really dug her cool and almost cosmopolitan style.

In the Spring of 1981 Saint Thomas More’s seventh grade class was introduced to a week-long, torturous symposium on the reproductive system… Catholic style.  I remember it vividly. It was the week after John Hinckley Jr. tried to assassinate our President, Ronald Reagan outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C. . All the teachers at STM were terribly rattled in the wake of this national event and the air was filled with somber, patriotic tension. Just the mood you want to be in to talk about sex with a bunch of thirteen-year-olds.  Mrs. Connor was a real pro. Earlier in the week, our entire class was divided in two. The boys met with Coach Folsom and the girls met with Coach Dupree. Coach Folsom was a rugged man in his mid-forties with a slight frame. He wore shaded glasses that seemed to  grow out of  his large, bushy sideburns. His yellowed teeth were always clenched around a perpetual toothpick. A baseball cap covered the wisps of gray that encircled, what I imagined to be a bald head underneath. I never saw him without his hat, even during prayer and mass it remained on his head and therefore I can safely assume he was covering up a lot of bare scalp. This was a strategy for concealing baldness I gave up many moons ago. During coach’s sex chat he discussed hygiene. In fact, he never really addressed the whole sex thing. He never explained the reason we’d spontaneously sport an erection or what a wet dream was. He did, however, discuss the upkeep of an uncircumcised penis. This was apparently a passionate subject to Coach Folsom. I remember the entire class meeting later in the library to look up the word “circumcision”. Most of us, having been born in the United States in the late sixties were circumcised as it was the general practice of the time. None of us knew why Coach was so adamant about us scrubbing the hell out of our penises. When we found out what a circumcision was, we all felt a little cheated. Those doctors cut off a part of us? What the hell?

The girls emerged from their time with Coach Dupree just as confused. Coach Dupree was a married mom of four with a voice lower than most cross-dressers and eyebrows that seemed to deny the fact she was female. She loved dodge ball and had apparently missed the boat bound for the Isle of Lesbos and grabbed the dingy that lead her to teaching simple science and coaching girl’s softball instead. Coach Dupree apparently focused on hygiene as well. She engaged the girls in an incredibly uncomfortable conversation that involved a box of feminine hygiene products and a demonstration in how to use them on a cantaloupe she borrowed from the school cafeteria. This probably has something to do with my lifelong aversion to this particular melon.

On the last day of Catholic sex ed, the entire class met with Mrs. Connor. We were each given a piece of paper and told to write a question on it and place it in the hat at the front of the room. The questions were to be anonymous and she would answer any serious inquiry the best she could. I thought she was terrific. So calm. So collected. She was going to make this exchange between teacher and student dignified and informative. We each scribbled our questions and soon the hat was overflowing with inquiries. Mrs. Connor told us it was okay to laugh if we wanted to and that it was perfectly acceptable to use the words “Penis” and “Vagina” and “Sexual Intercourse” but any other slang would not be tolerated.

She explained the menstrual cycle and its biblical significance in Genesis. She explained why immaculate conception was a miracle and why Joseph was such a good sport about the whole thing. She then drew a question from the hat that made the entire class gasp.

Mrs. Connor read it aloud and the entire classroom went silent.  Mrs. Connor’s face turned the color of Lobster Thermidor.

“Can a penis be fifteen inches long?”

After a long, pregnant pause Mrs. Connor crossed the room and crossed herself. She grabbed a yardstick menacingly from the chalk-rail and swung it before the class. She then slammed it down with a large crack on the desk and held it up. Her thumb marked fifteen inches exactly from the base. She then smiled and said, “Darlings, you simply can’t get this much penis into a pair of trousers.”

The class erupted.

As we left the class chuckling a few of the guys remarked that a fifteen-inch uncircumcised penis would require a remarkable amount of soap and a heck of a lot of elbow grease.

Well, there you have it. Catholic sex ed.

Basically- don’t have sex, but if you do, make sure it’s squeaky clean.

And don’t have the cantaloupe in the cafeteria.

5 Responses to “Buttering Up Martha!- Buttery Pecan Rounds! – 115 eggs, 90 cups of sugar, 91 1/4 sticks of Butter, and 102 3/4 cups of flour used so far- 107 recipes to go!”

  1. Russ Says:

    And belated kudos to the kid who wrote the question. Wait…was it you?

  2. tricia Says:

    That has to be some of the best reading I’ve had in a long time…although in public school, I can so relate to the sex education both from teachers and parents. What? did they think if they didn’t tell us we wouldn’t figure it out on our own LOL!?!

  3. Kate Says:

    i was thrilled to find your blog! i recently bought this book and have since been using this as a guide. just wanted to say thanks!

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