The Many Charms of Martha Stewart! – Chocolate Charms! -145 eggs, 104 1/2 cups of sugar, 110 1/4 sticks of Butter, and 131 1/2 cups of flour used so far- 92 recipes to go!

November 23, 2010

Martha's Chocolate Charms

André's Chocolate Charms

In real estate,  the word- Charming- is used to describe a property that is small. If the property is uncomfortably small then the word of choice is Quaint. If it is uncomfortably small with an outdated HVAC system then the word is Cozy. If there is a rodent problem then the property simply has a Quaint, Cozy, Lived-In Atmosphere.

Martha’s recipe for Chocolate Charms is quite simple. Butter, sugar, eggs. flour, salt, vanilla extract and cocoa powder are combined into a thick dough which is scooped out and rolled into one-inch balls which are then baked into quaint little chocolaty dots. These are dusted with cocoa powder just before serving. They are fairly unremarkable and not very sweet or flavorful. They are quite small and if the principles of real estate marketing were applied to cookies, then one could definitely refer to them as being charming.

So, there you have it. Chocolate Charms- the chocolaty charm-like treat that’s less than charming… or delicious for that matter.

I’ve been a bit unfocused as of late. I recently quit smoking after a twenty-year pack-a-day habit. The transition’s been tough. It’s like I sliced off an appendage really. I’m having to relearn how to function in my daily activities without the part of myself that smoked. It’ s been hard for me to focus my attention and I’m a bit frustrated with how my mind and emotions seem to just randomly roam all over the place right now. My partner, Dan has been terrific about this whole ordeal even though I’ve been less than kind to him through this transition. What can I say? I’m an addict who’s denying himself his addiction and my mind and body are in a total revolt right now. One of the side-effects of these pesky mind-jitters is the inability to write clear and cohesive stories.

If you read my last post you’ll notice I rambled a bit and the story was disjointed and scattered. Dan pointed this out to me but I was already fully aware of how poorly it was written. It was, however,  the best I could do at the time.  That said, this post may not be any better. In fact, it may be worse. I’m still pretty unfocused and jittery. Then again, it could be the best story I’ve written so far. Either way, it’s not for me to decide. I’ll just keep typing and think about not smoking and we’ll see how it turns out, okay?

I’ve had issues with my ability to stay focused in the past. As a kid I was pretty clumsy. I was always tripping over my own feet and sustaining some injury or another throughout my adolescence. In rare instances when my family would go to a restaurant, I’d always inadvertently knock over a full glass of water or soda, spilling the contents all over the table. If I were riding my bicycle, in a panic I’d sometimes forget how to properly brake. This resulted in my smashing into a wall or taking a turn too fast and toppling over, or in one particularly dangerous instance, running a stop sign as an oncoming car came to a squealing and spinning stop followed by an array of cuss words I had not heard before spewing from the angry driver inside.

I think in and an effort to stay focused I’ll write down three particular unfortunate episodes that resulted from my inability to stay focused.

Ironic, huh?

The first episode happened when I was around twelve years old. One of my uncles came for a visit with his son. This was my dad’s brother and nephew. That meant I had to behave in an  extra-masculine manner. My dad never liked my feminine tendencies and would often grumble about me needing to behave more like a man. This was particularly true when his family would come to call. He didn’t like being judged by them and his having a sissy for a son would be all the excuse they’d need to taunt him. I did my best to butch it up when they were around. I’d speak in short monosyllabic language. There would be no lilt to my voice and no excitement in my enunciation or in my gestures. I’m sure the end-effect was just as disappointing for my dad’s relatives. Instead of coming across as a merely effeminate boy, I must’ve seemed a bit like a special needs kid with serious emotional issues who should probably wear a helmet at all times.

During this particular visit from my uncle and my cousin, I decided I would step the butch-factor up a notch. My dad had purchased a small motor bike earlier that Summer for me to ride through a few acres of undeveloped land my dad had purchased in a remote part of Baton Rouge. I actually loved riding it although it made my mother insanely nervous. Every now and then, I’d  hop on the bike to putter a few times around our suburban neighborhood. Mom hated this because: a) she knew I was a total klutz and would eventually end up wiping out (which I did several times) and b) it was illegal to operate such a vehicle without  license or registration and within the city limits- especially on the sidewalks. Dad didn’t care, though. Time spent riding the motor scooter meant time not spent practicing the piano or embroidering. Dad would rather have a butch delinquent for a son than the unspeakable alternative.

While dad and his brother were splitting an eight pack of  Miller High Life ponies, my cousin and I went to the carport so he could check out my motor bike. In an effort to impress, I hopped on and started it up making sure the accelerator was turned to full throttle so that my bad-ass kick ignition would incite an enormous and masculine growl from the engine. Not focusing on what I was doing, I  forgot to make sure the bike wasn’t in gear before starting. As soon as I kick-started the engine the bike, with me attached, went flying towards the back metal and glass storm door of our house. SMASH! I slammed right into the door and the front wheel busted out the entire metal half of the door. Luckily the glass didn’t shatter. My dad and his brother came rushing onto the scene. My cousin was pointing and laughing in hysterics. My Uncle was, too. My father yelled at me for being so stupid and I just sat there in shock and embarrassment. I’ve often thought about embroidering this scene for my dad. I think the irony would be lost on him, though.

The second episode happened when I was in my mid-twenties, although I’m sure there were plenty of embarassing mishaps in between. It was Summer in Dallas, Texas and I was driving around in my little silver truck with standard transmission and no air conditioner. It was a hot day and I wasn’t feeling exceptionally well. I’d been batting a bad case of allergies and had been carrying a small bottle of nose spray with me everywhere. I had some errands to run that day. One would require a trip to the hardware store. I pulled into the parking lot and feeling congested, I reached over onto the dashboard to fetch my bottle of nose spray. Stepping out of the truck I took a quick spray into my right nostril. My knees buckled and I saw a hot, white flash. An indescribable pain took hold of every part of my being. You see, not being focused on what I was doing, I failed to notice the bottle of nose spray had been sitting in direct sunlight the entire way to the store and had been heated to almost boiling. I’d just squirted searing hot liquid into my sinus cavity. The pain was excruciating and what was worse, I’d have to make a trip to the emergency room and explain what had happened.  Everyone at the hospital from admitting nurse to the billing clerk thought it was the funniest thing they had ever heard. It took a week for the swelling on the right side of my face to finally go down. I haven’t used a sinus spray ever since.

Another notable episode happened in my early thirties.  It was a beautiful Fall day and I was heading out to see some friends in Florida but before taking off I had to stop by a co-worker’s home to drop off some papers she needed. I pulled up in her driveway, hopped out of my little brown four-door with the all the windows rolled down, dropped off the papers and then hit the road for Florida. I had the music blasting from Baton Rouge through the entire Mississippi coastline. Three hours into the trip,  I crossed through the Mississippi/Alabama border.  I stopped at the Alabama welcome center to use the facilities and stretch my legs. When I pulled into a parking space and turned off the radio I heard a sound coming from the back seat. It was the sound of heartbreak. My heartbreak. I was officially and unequivocally screwed.


I had just driven almost three-hundred miles with my co-worker’s freaking cat in the back seat of my car. She must’ve jumped through the window while I dropped off those papers. Once I took off she must’ve hunkered down in fear. Because of the radio blasting I never heard her meow. What was worse, I’d have to drive three hours back to Baton Rouge to bring the cat back. That, combined with the three hours I had already driven, plus the extra three hours It’d take for me to get back to the current spot added six freaking hours to my trip. I was pissed.

I gunned it back to Baton Rouge. The cat that was hungry, tired and very vocal. Sure, now it’s meowing loudly. It was twilight when I arrived back at my co-worker’s house. I had the cat tucked under my arm and I knocked loudly on her door. She answered and looked at me confused.

“I thought you were on your way to Florida.”  -she said.

“I was but your cat hitched a ride with me all the way to Alabama.”

“That’s not my cat, André. I’m allergic to cats. You know that.”

I looked at her. I looked at the cat. I then began to laugh. Uncontrollably.

I let the cat loose in my co-worker’s yard and drove through the evening all the way to Florida knowing that I’d have a heck of a story for my friends once I got there.

It was almost two in the morning when I finally pulled up at my friend’s beach house. He and his wife came out to greet me. I rolled down the window and told them I was sorry I was so late but I had a good excuse. Pulling my luggage out and into their house, they stopped me to ask-

“Why does your suitcase smell like cat piss?”


One Response to “The Many Charms of Martha Stewart! – Chocolate Charms! -145 eggs, 104 1/2 cups of sugar, 110 1/4 sticks of Butter, and 131 1/2 cups of flour used so far- 92 recipes to go!”

  1. elizabeth Says:

    you are funny my friend. the stuff that happens to you can only be true. i too grew up in Louisiana, NOLA to be exact and that is one of the things that caught my attention to your site . the other is i have also thought of going through certain cookie recipe books the way that you are with dear Martha,(much overrated Martha in my opinion, I’m just sayin’). anyway, after reading your critiques i am thanking God that i never got around to doing that
    thank you so much much mr. du Broc(for real???)Happy New Year!

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