Martha’s Ultra Cookies!- Ne Plus Ultra Cookies! – 118 eggs, 93 cups of sugar, 93 1/4 sticks of Butter, and 106 cups of flour used so far- 105 recipes to go!

October 10, 2010


Martha's Ne Plus Ultra Cookies



André's Ne Plus Ultra Cookies


Latin for “No More Beyond” Ne Plus Ultra is Martha’s name for this terrific cookie. Technically this cookie is no different than than Martha’s simple chocolate chip cookie recipe with the exception of a few additional ingredients. Raisins and chopped, toasted pecans are added to these rather large cookies adding texture and surprising flavor to an otherwise traditional favorite. A friend and co-worker had left me a tin with the simple message – Fill, Please. I, of course, obliged. He and his partner enjoyed them and I expect I will receive another empty tin from him very soon.

This blog has received over 12,000 hits since March of this year. I know that in the world-of-blog that’s not a tremendous amount but I am still very proud that so many have decided to waste a few minutes of their life reading my drivel. This includes you. Thanks for stopping by.

In my last post I wrote about Brother Gordon and the beginning of my High School years at an  all-boys’ Catholic School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It’s taken me awhile to prepare writing about this time in my life. My adolescent and teen years are a bit of a blur. Some of it I’ve chosen to forget and some of it, due to a great deal of cannabis consumption, I can’t clearly remember. I know it wasn’t a happy time but, then again, in some strange way, it was.

I had a recent phone-conversation with my mom. She’s been following my blog. I’m quite proud that she knows how to get on her computer and look it up, although I suspect my sisters have to assist her in finding it. I can tell from our conversations she’s uncomfortable with a lot of the stuff I’ve written. In typical Catholic mom fashion, she feels guilty.

I told her I didn’t blame anyone, including her,  for the bullying and the long strings of sad moments  I’d experienced through my tumultuous adolescence and beyond. What I went through was a bit depressing but not terribly profound. Honestly, who really enjoyed growing up?  I don’t ever consider myself a victim and am quite happy with who I am today so let’s let bygones be bygones. I’m still going to write about it, though. To put it in terms she could understand, I described my blogging as an emotional rosary of sorts.

The rosary is a Catholic custom, a prayer device with its origin going back to the ninth century, when the devout kept track of the number of prayers they said by stringing beads to twine. This practice eventually evolved into the modern rosary beads which tracks three sets of fifty prayers. The individual holds a bead in their hand and meditates on it as they recite the designated prayer for that particular bead.

This is very much like what I am doing with my blog, I told my mom. I bake a recipe and use that time to meditate on a part of my life. Some meditations are funny, some are a little sad, and some just are. I then offer that time up to whoever wants it by writing the story out. At the end of this cookie-rosary-thingy, I have 175 little meditations, little prayers, little parts of myself offered up to whoever wants them. Amen.

I’m not entirely sure she understood where I was coming from. Truth be told, I’m not sure if I really understand it either but I don’t think understanding it is my priority. Simply doing it is.

So, the year is 1984 in the Spring semester of my Sophomore year. For those of you familiar with the teleplay 12 Angry Men, I’d like to introduce the cast of my circle of friends in high school. We were a rag-tag group of pimply misfits who proudly named ourselves The 12 Nice Guys. We were literally a jury of peers who leaned on each other through the challenges of strict Catholic schooling.

Here’s the cast list:

1) Gregg- Former president of my Junior High’s student council (no one ran against him). He was quite short but had nice hair. Girls thought he was adorable. His was the youngest of three and was originally from Michigan. He had a loving family although his father was an alcoholic. His older brother was probably gay and really, really good looking (yes, I had a crush). Gregg was the unofficial hub of The 12 Nice Guys and had been born with an incomplete urethra which led to speculation from the group that he may not have been born a dude.

2) Jerry- Wrestling team champion. Middle child from an enormous conservative Catholic family. Killer smile and incredible physique. He was charismatic and charming, although a little geeky. Appreciated order and often spoke of conservative moral values. Affectionate with his peers often hugging and inappropriate groping to some humorous effect. Devout Catholic who desired to join the Brothers of the Sacred Heart after High School.

3) Pete- Techno-geek and mathematician but with incredible self-discipline. Raised by his single father, Pete had more freedom than most of us, although he never really used it. Despite a strict workout regimen, he never could successfully increase in musculature. Girls simply thought he looked too frog-like.

4) Vince- Wealthy Italian son of a wealthy Italian Ear, Nose, & Throat Doctor who, ironically, was hard of hearing. Pessimistic and a bit arrogant, Vince had the heart of a poet but lacked the talent or discipline to actually create anything beyond criticism. Still, it was nice to have a wealthy friend and we all knew his home-life was not a happy one. Due to Vince’s terminal acne, it was a shame his father wasn’t a dermatologist.

5) Ralph- A large and kind teddy-bear of a guy. Ralph was the oldest of three with uber-friendly, although wacky, parents. His mother was a C.P.A. and the bread-winner of the family and his father was a stay-at-home drunk. Their cluttered home was always open to everyone in the group and many wild parties happened there or at their hunting camp in Holden, Louisiana. We named him Saint Ralph because of his perpetual kindness and patience. Ralph’s arms were always covered with scars from his constantly tearing at his skin, a nervous behavior  he’d had since childhood. There was something sad behind his smile.

6) Tom- Tom marched to the beat of his own weird drum. Always spontaneous and unique, Tom was the consummate clown of the group. He had the ability to manipulate his voice to produce high-pitched squeaks as well as bellowing bass tones. He loved science fiction and had an affinity for all things mechanical. He particularly loved a popular car of yesteryear called a Vega and he had the corpses of several at his parent’s home which he Frankensteined together into one perfect and perpetually broken Vega. A truly funny guy, although he always smelled of motor oil and Drakkar Noir.

7) Randy- Randy actually attended an evangelical Christian academy across town but was considered an honorary Nice Guy and was brought into our fold by Gregg who’d met him through an evangelical ex-girlfriend. Randy was from a large Christian family but had a penchant for art and graphic design. He was pale and lanky with a wicked and sometimes morally-ambiguous sense of humor. He worked at his father’s grocery store and could always sneak booze, cigarettes and weed to gatherings of The 12 Nice Guys.

8- Benny- Heavyset and with a head of wiry brown hair, Benny wanted to be liked. He pushed himself to be the best at everything he did because skills just didn’t come naturally to him. Benny was on the football team although he rarely got to play. Benny wanted to make lots of money and often spoke of how he would one day be very wealthy. He worked a rather lucrative string of part-time jobs to “build capital” he’d say. He had a sweet family and a sister with severe mental disability who we all loved very much.

9) Mike- Mike was the most troubled of The Nice Guys. He had problems with authority, the law, and general order. He often made violent threats and his temper got the best of him on more than one occasion. Eventually this led to his expulsion from Catholic High School. He had a deep appreciation for weapons and snakes. We remained friends with him, though. Although it wasn’t always an easy thing to do.

10) Wade- Wade was just a nice guy. He lived up to the namesake of the group. He always had a kind word for everyone in and outside of the circle. He was a good student and was quite good-looking. He had a calm demeanor and a nice, kind and caring smile. He never judged and was quick with a brotherly hug and encouraging word when you needed it. His sister was really hot, too.

11) Darryl- Tall and blonde with eyes permanently squinting to protect his dilated pupils, Darryl was the dopey stoner of the group. Affectionately we called him Sheepdog because of the mane of thick hair that encircled his head like a shaggy helmet. We loved Darryl because he thought we were funny. Darryl thought everything was funny and intensely interesting because when you’re stoned everything is intensely funny and interesting.

12) Me- Prematurely bald and could easily pass as someone in their mid-twenties, I was nicknamed Dad. A bit of an enigma to the group, Dad was known to be musical and creative. I initially identified myself as “Bisexual” to the group and they accepted it with a certain level of sophomoric disgust and curious intrigue. I was considered quick-witted and thoughtful. Many in the group looked to me for wisdom which I was rarely able to provide. They also liked that I looked older because I could buy booze and cigarettes anywhere. I could also go to LSU campus bars without being carded and therefore could fool around with college-aged girls… and guys.

These were the twelve. An even dozen of guys who alone were outcasts and unappreciated but together were a force on campus that could rival the ever-popular jocks. We were quite impressed with ourselves and shared a lot of laughs and tears through the years.

The next few posts are dedicated to this group of friends who will always have a very special place in my heart.

Come back soon and let’s step back twenty-six years ago with The 12 Nice Guys.


2 Responses to “Martha’s Ultra Cookies!- Ne Plus Ultra Cookies! – 118 eggs, 93 cups of sugar, 93 1/4 sticks of Butter, and 106 cups of flour used so far- 105 recipes to go!”

  1. Kimberly Says:

    I’m one of your newest blog readers. I am one of those oddballs who doesn’t really care for sweets, but loves cooking, and admires the fun adventure you are taking in going through the cookbook. A friend shared your entry that included the baggy of pills. I, for one, am grateful you never consumed that baggy because your way with words is amazing. I have checked into your blog several times this week and have passed it along to several others to read as well. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. The cookie experience is fun too, but way you are sharing your life experiences is intriguing to me.

    Wishing you the best in life and in your cookies too,

    • Kimberly- Thanks for taking the time to leave a few words with me. I have to admit this cookie challenge is curing me of my love of sweets and when it’s done it might be awhile before I want to see another cookie. Please come back and read more when you can. Thanks again.

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