Choco-Martha-Malted! Chocolate-Malt Sandwich Cookies!-130 eggs, 100 cups of sugar, 101 3/4 sticks of Butter, and 118 1/4 cups of flour used so far- 97 recipes to go!

November 5, 2010


Martha's Chocolate-Malt Sandwich Cookies

Martha's Chocolate-Malt Sandwich Cookies

Yes, folks. You heard right. Chocolate-Malt Sandwich Cookies! Two delicious chocolate malt cookies with a layer of gooey chocolate malt cream in the center. Un-freaking-believable! I was scouring through my cabinets looking for on-hand ingredients to bake up one of Martha’s treats and just so happened to find half-a-container of malted milk left over from baking the Vanilla-Malt cookies a few weeks ago. I whipped up a batch of these for my partner to take to work and they were received with the biggest raves I’ve gotten so far.

The cookies are really quite simple. Cocoa, butter, sugar, egg, flour, vanilla and malt are the main ingredients and  the filling is a simple mixture of melted chocolate, heavy cream and more malt. Rich and sinfully good, I wholeheartedly recommend this cookie to all the chocolate lovers out there. You won’t be disappointed.

Well, how about a completely tasteless story to go with this really tasty cookie?

DISCLAIMER:

The following post is not for the squeamish or the weak-stomached.  (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

In my last post I wrote about my neighbors in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Chuck and Clothea. Towards the end of my three years in my little shack on the Mississippi, our relationship became more strained. Mostly, the tension in our relationship formed around two dogs. One was mine, Tennessee, and the other was theirs, Madonna.

Summers in Baton Rouge are brutal. The humidity is oppressive and the heat index can easily rise to above 110 degrees and stay there for weeks on end. To give you an idea of just how intensely hot it can become, my air conditioner broke down while I was at work one Summer. When I returned home that afternoon, the taper candles I had left in an semi-ornate candelabra on the dining room table were draped over the sides like wilted flowers or pocket watches in a Salvador Dali painting.

This particular Summer had been exceptionally hot. Record heat to be exact. Chuck, my neighbor, had left his dog, Madonna in the yard tied to the old oak tree in his front yard. Madonna was a cocker spaniel mix with a long and thick coat of light golden fur. She was a sweet dog who was often neglected by Chuck and his wife, Clothea. I would sneak food and water to her almost everyday and when she was looking exceptionally dirty and hot, I would drag my garden hose over to their yard and give her a bath. Madonna lived a tough life. During the Summers I could hear her howling in the front yard, driven mad by heat, humidity and hunger. My dog, Tennessee loved her. Tennessee had been a throw away pet from my boss at the theatre, BK. When BK’s daughter was born, Tennessee hid under his home and refused to come out. Frustrated with how reclusive she’d become and put-out by the nuisance of having to constantly retrieve her from under his home, BK begged me to take her. BK named her Tennessee because he had a dalmatian named Williams. He thought it was clever to live in the deep South and have to call out to his dogs each morning- “Tennessee! Williams!’

It was mid August when Chuck stopped by on a Saturday morning.

“Have you seen Madonna?”- he asked. I told him I hadn’t. She’d apparently gone missing and Chuck couldn’t locate her anywhere. He seemed worried about her whereabouts but I secretly thought – good for her.

Maybe she finally escaped and found someplace else to live or perhaps Animal Control took pity on her and dragged her off to their facility.

Don’t get me wrong. I love animals. Animal cruelty, even if it’s through neglect, is not something that I would ever defend. But Chuck and Clothea were living in poverty. Poverty means having to prioritize. Madonna was another mouth to feed and my neighbors did not have the means, the common sense, or the will to take care of her properly. Any fate in comparison to living with these two irresponsible pet-owners, even death, would put Madonna in a better place and so I was glad to hear she’d gone missing.

A week passed and still no sign of Madonna. I could hear Chuck each evening on his porch calling out and whistling for her. Don’t fall for it, girl.- I’d think to myself. Stay hidden.

The following Saturday morning there was a knock at my door. It was Clothea. There she stood in her calico house coat and fuzzy slippers, her hair in curlers  with a red bandana tied over them. From behind her thick glasses I could see her large sad eyes looking up at me. With trembling lips and cracking voice she spoke in sorrowful, tragic tones-

“André, we done found Madonna… sniff… sniff… And she dead… whimper… sniff… And she under the house… whimper… whimper… and I can’t find Chuck nowheres… Big Whimper… Big Sniff… And the Roto-Rooter man won’t fix the pipes till I get that dead dog out from underneath my house! SOB SOB!”

I realized immediately what she was asking me to do. She wanted me to shimmy on my belly underneath her house to retrieve her dead dog. I could see the Roto-Rooter man standing in her driveway looking at his watch. Before thinking through how this would play out, I agreed. I quickly changed into an old T-shirt and a pair of ratty jeans. I squirted a little air freshener onto a bandana and tied it over my nose and mouth and headed into the blazing heat. I took one last glance down the block in hopes I would see Chuck. Nothing. He wasn’t going to be showing up until the deed was done. Didn’t it occur to him to look under the house for Madonna when she went missing? Or perhaps he did, and seeing her corpse so far underneath, decided to let her simply decay there. Either way, I was pissed.

I told Clothea to get a big garbage bag and wait for me at the side of the house. The Roto-Rooter man just stood there impatiently. I flopped down on my belly and began to shimmy through the dirt, beer bottles and God-knows-what-else until I saw a mound of light golden fur. It was motionless. The smell was pervasive. I could feel it creeping into my nostrils through the bandana and I instantly felt my gag-reflex kick in. I began to breath in through my mouth with long slow determined breaths. I reached out and grabbed Madonna’s hind leg. This alerted the swarm of flies that had taken up residence on her remains and sent them scattering. I gave a tug in hopes that I could drag the dog’s body to the edge of the house where Clothea could deal with the corpse as she saw fit. What I didn’t think about was the fact that this mass of fur and flesh had been sitting under my neighbors’ home for a week during one of the hottest Summer’s in Louisiana history. Madonna had essentially been slow-cooked into a tender and delicate state of decomposition. When I tugged, the leg came off.

Jesus Christ! This Can’t Be Happening! – I thought to myself. Then I thought of the quote from Macbeth- “If it were done when done, then t’were well it were done quickly.” I then moved very quickly calling out to Clothea to stand by. I threw assorted Madonna limb and pieces out from under the house as fast as I could. What I heard from Clothea and the Roto-Rooter man as each of the corpse-bits was collected went a bit like this:

I’d throw out a leg- Clothea would say, “Oh, Lord! Sweet Jesus! Poor Madonna!” The Roto-Rooter man would chuckle.

I’d throw out at tail- Clothea would say, “Oh, merciful God! My poor sweet puppy!” The Roto-Rooter man would giggle.

I’d throw out the torso- Clothea would say “She in heaven now. Poor sweet baby!” The Roto-Rooter man was now on the phone in hysterics explaining to his supervisor what he was witnessing.

When the last of Madonna’s remains had been collected and bagged and I shimmied out from under the house, sweating, nauseous and reeking of dead dog carcass, Clothea thanked me profusely and the Roto-Rooter man shook my hand saying that I should be nominated as the neighbor-of-the-year for dealing with this mess.

I went home and showered several times, never really feeling like I would ever be clean again.

Madonna was in a better place. It’s unfortunate that she went the way she did. She died from neglect. Another victim of poverty and ignorance. Later that afternoon, Chuck showed up to thank me. I wasn’t in the mood to be thanked.

It was the beginning of the end of being the friendly and tolerant next-door neighbor and Chuck could tell things were changing. He knew that I had figured out he’d pinned that awful and disgusting task on my shoulders.

A few months later came the nail in the coffin of our friendship. But that’s another story and another cookie.

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