Martha’s Island Cookies!- Coconut-Macadamia Shortbread! -194 eggs, 153 cups of sugar, 147 sticks of Butter, and 187 cups of flour used so far- 65 recipes to go!

March 16, 2011

Martha's Coconut-Macadamia Shortbread

André's Coconut-Macadamia Shortbread

I’m sorry to report that the Baroness Von Shortbread was unavailable to sample and review this latest shortbread cookie. As many of you may know, the Baroness is a bit biased in her reviews of shortbread cookies. She’s a bit of a purist and when a recipe strays from the expected shortbread formula of butter, salt and sugar, she gets a tad irritated. I doubt she would’ve considered Coconut-Macadamia Shortbread a true shortbread cookie since it contains coconut cream, coconut extract, toasted coconut flakes and ground toasted macadamia nuts. In fact, I’m pretty sure she would have viewed this cookie as a shortbread abomination- A calculated attack on the Scottish motherland. I like to think of this as an island-to-island cookie. Kind of a British Isles meets the Hawaiian Isles. With that in mind, I found a proxy for the Baroness. She’s a delightfully talented writer, herself who happens to be from Hawaii. How perfect is that? Here’s what she had to say:

“Holy cuss, andre. These cookies are FREAKIN’ awesome… holy cuss. seriously.
If everything smelled like the sweet, buttery yumminess of these cookies, the world would be a better place. I am sure of this. I am also sure these crisp rectangles of toasted coconut and macadamia goodness are so divinely delicious, they’ll be gone before lunch. My friends would agree with me, if I decided to share. Which I am sure I will not.”

-Princess Proxy

I can’t think of a clever segue from the cookie recipe into the story so let’s just dive in, okay?

I went through a period in my late teens where I experimented with drugs. Lots of them. I had always kept myself fairly sheltered from the wacky weeds, inhalants, intoxicants, pills, shrooms, tabs, blow  and blots. In the mid-eighties all of these items were readily available and floated about my tiny social circle and in the far corners of the student parking lot at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge. I, however, never partook, shaking my head as the occasional joint was passed around or keeping lookout while a bit of coke was cut and covertly snorted through a rolled up dollar bill by a group of wealthy and entitled Junior lettermen. As a result of my narcotic abstinence, I became counselor and protector to those who had over-imbibed, having to rationally talk an irate acquaintance down while in the throws of a coke-induced fit of rage or hold down a shivering friend for three hours while she screamed the walls were trying to eat her.  Having witnessed first-hand how normal, rational people could be reduced to giggling, quivering jelly-heads, I knew that drugs were a risk I wasn’t willing to take.

Instead, I smoked. I drank a bit. Not much, though. Having grown up as a goofy and strange point of ridicule most of my young life, I was comfortable being the outsider. Still, I was curious. What would drugs do to me? How would I react? I had heard that acid had a cathartic effect on the user. I heard that your mind could receive visions much like how the Native American tribesmen would depart their bodies and allow their spirit-selves to travel about after smoking peyote. As my curiosity grew stronger, I found myself hanging out more and more with friends who would spend their weekends tripping their asses off. I was eighteen years old. There was a dance club in downtown Baton Rouge just North of the Louisiana State University gates. It catered to a slightly unusual crowd who listened to The Smiths and The Cure. Many of them wrote bleak poetry, smoked expensive imported cigarettes and drank cheap booze…. oh, and wore a lot of black and safety pins. It was called Xanthus- a fitting eighties dance club name. The bouncer was a Rubinesque young lady named Jen. However, when she was on the clock she went by Big Hair. Big Hair’s hair was indeed big. Enormous, in fact. She would tease it to the point where it became almost a moldable, fuzzy clay of damaged locks which she would then spray into a ridiculously tall and unmovable  bishop’s hat of fur. Her dark brown eyes were blackened with thick and oily liner and layers of goopy mascara. Her lips were colored the deepest and darkest shade of maroon. Her full and round cheeks were white as porcelain. She wore black lace, leather studded cuffs and choke collars intended for large dogs or maybe inmates on death row. She very much resembled an overfed vampire.  Big Hair had a fearless communication style. She began and ended most of her sentences with word, “Fuck.”  As in- “Hey, Fuck! Can I see your I.D., you fucking Fuck?!” -or- “Fuck! I love this fucking song! Fuck!”

I adored her.

There’s something about a woman who is, and not afraid to be, larger than life that appeals to the screaming queen lurking just below my ever-so-constrained exterior. I still get a bit tingly when I see a large woman with an even larger personality command a space. This is probably why my judgement was a bit clouded when on a cold December evening, just before the Christmas holidays, I accepted what Big Hair offered. It was a miniscule bit of paper no bigger than a punched hole from a sheet of loose-leaf that had been torn into a tiny square. On it was printed the tiniest happy face in a soft shade of violet.  “Put it under your tongue and just let it dissolve.” Big Hair commanded. I did as I was instructed. What harm could a tiny bit of paper do? Fifteen minutes went by and nothing. I didn’t feel different. I felt the crispness of the cold air, for sure, and dug my hands deeper into my dark gray plaid overcoat. It was my grandfather’s overcoat. It was one of only a couple of his items I received after his death. I didn’t like my grandfather. He was a lecherous and morally ambiguous man at best. There was not a woman in the family that he hadn’t damage in some way with his wandering hands and his…well… let’s just say unhealthy appetites. But that is not my story to tell. Those stories belong to another. Many, many others, in fact.

I stood quietly in the cold night air, swaying to the rhythm that echoed from the dance floor inside the seedy club. I watched Big Hair abrasively request I.D.s from her patrons. I thought of  grandpa as I dug deeper into the coat that still smelled of his English Leather and Old Spice. My hands froze into a state of numbness. The very tips of my fingers felt the seams of my jeans that ran along the sides of my leg. Both of my hands had become stiff and unmovable blocks that tore through the pocket-linings of my grandfather’s overcoat and were now digging into the pockets of my jeans. At that point I realized my very first acid trip had set sail on its maiden voyage.

Most of the night is a blur. Acid is not a drug that let’s you sleep or remember much. Over the following eight hours I experienced the usual, expected stuff: faces melting, walls breathing, lights dancing, watchbands creeping up my arm, bugs crawling under my skin…etc… . I didn’t, however travel outside of my body as the Native American tribesmen supposedly did. I didn’t hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon or any other such nonsense. That, by the way, is my least favorite lyric ever written. It’s from the Disney movie, Pocahontas. Of course, I didn’t see this film after smoking peyote. Perhaps I would appreciate the lyric more if I had.

Later I learned that acid is essentially a tiny dose of mescaline which is an alkaloid neurotoxin that interrupts the brain’s receptors and thus creates hallucinations and misinterpretations as the brain scrambles to make sense of the information provided by the body’s senses. In essence, the brain is discombobulated and temporarily in the process of dying. Doesn’t that sound like fun?   All from a tiny square of paper with an ironic smily face printed on it.

I also learned that people who use acid are prone to flashbacks. This occurs when a tiny bit of the toxin still floating in the body reactivates and one goes on a mini trip. This has never happened to me. That said, I have been in a few really boring meetings where I find myself praying for a flashback. Alas, no luck.

Would I recommend acid? Absolutely not. Am I glad I did it? Sort of. It gave me something to write about this evening.

Other than that, I’m at a loss.

I wonder what Big Hair is up to these days?

Probably a member of the tea party.

It’d be a shame to let all that big hair go to waste.



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