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Election!! And Stories About Butterscotch.

November 5, 2008

Yesterday was a fantastic day. Because schools were transformed into voting stations, kids stayed home, and since kids stayed home, many parents took the day off, and Brooklyn seemed like a huge party all day. Walking by people on the street, they’d ask “did you vote?” and a real sense of hope and community was in the air.

Yesterday evening I watched the election with friends — slightly reluctant because though they are the best of friends, we’ve watched some pretty painful elections together, most specifically 8 years ago. And I don’t care for sports but I sort of imagine that when we wonder whether we’re about to jinx history by being in the room together again while returns are announced, if it isnt sort of like that. (None of us can ever remember where we watched in ’04, which suggests that perhaps we all just blocked it out in some sort of group PTSD event.)

Our hostess Meg made a giant shapeless meatloaf in the shape of a turtle. (No offense to the turtle community in calling their shape shapeless — though I guess freeform would be a better descriptor.) Her meatloaf is sort of the classic — it has 3 kinds of meat. Beef . . . veal? And the other one may be pork. I am almost sure it is not turtle. It’s very special — richer and undoubtedly harder to shop for than the lowfat turkey meatloaf (pilfered from another blog) that is a weeknight staple in our house. (Mostly, during the week, we eat ground up birds in various permutations — picadillo tacos, tomatillo chile, and this meatloaf. Well, now we do, since being pregnant makes fish seem as gross or grosser than it seemed during childhood.)

My contribution to the election party was cookies for which I wished, but failed, to find an interesting name, possibly with some sort of political ring to it. Their most interesting characteristic is that they are made from chips — both butterscotch and potato. Or perhaps it’s that they’re so very easy that they take less than an hour total for prep and cooking and cooling and you can make them while you talk on the phone.

They come out delicious, even though butterscotch chips are sort of waxy and unpleasant if eaten straight from the bag, which I did try doing. They seem to have the same filler as non-good chocolate. Paraffin? Shoepolish? Butterscotch is better if you make it yourself — out of butter, and scotch, and brown sugar, but I had a near death experience re: butterscotch last year.

Because when you make pudding . . . you basically turn a solid — sugar, into a liquid. Sugar melts and boils at about 215 F and can get very much hotter. Not that 212 isn’t hot enough, but water gets there and isn’t going to get hotter and then when heat is removed, will quickly begin to cool down. However, I brought some brown sugar to the boil and then put it into a bowl to do whatever the next step was — perhaps whisk something into it, I admit it’s all a blur, because at one point, after it had stopped bubbling and was in another bowl looking rather delicious — I stuck my finger into it.

I regret that action.

Because of all of the cooking accidents — slicing a finger, letting a whole cake slide onto a lawn, touching the element while removing something from a broiler and turning a patch of skin into something like toasted cheese — sticking my finger into a bowl of melted sugar was the most painful.

Pain is one of those things that is not possible to conjure when it is not happening — thank goodness. But I know at least intellectually that it was incredible. I finished up the pudding and my husband came home and we sat down to eat. It was sort of late, as it always is when we eat. I was inconsolable regarding my burning finger. We tried to have dinner but I couldn’t stop moaning. My husband is a wonderful person but sort of a strong one and by his own admission, doesn’t really “get it” when others are in pain. But I was whinging a lot, as the British people say, and he finally decided to get up and call our neighbor upstairs, Eileen. Eileen is a nurse.

One of the first things we learned about Eileen, who is our landlady, is that she goes to bed extremely early. This is because she leaves for work when it is 4 o’clock in the morning. So we don’t call Eileen late.

Without thinking of the time, he called her cell phone and it rang through to voicemail. And he left a message that went like this:

“Hi, it’s Matthew, I’m actually calling because Meredith has burned her finger pretty badly . . . ” he glanced at the clock and trailed off when he saw it was after 9pm. Then he quickly finished the message by saying, “. . . Oh. It’s too late.” And he hung up.

Which, since it sounded like I had perished while he was leaving the message, gave Eileen quite a shock the next day when she listened.

Theatrics aside, the pudding was amazing. I can’t find the recipe at the moment but will include if I do.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 7, 2008 7:57 pm

    Hahahaha… and also, ouch! I’ve suffered many cooking accidents, and this sounds awful.If you will give me the recipe for those cookies, I will give you the recipe for Butterscotch Nibble.

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