Sunday, April 6, 2014

Too Much of a Good Thing

Somebody I know just came into wealth of black beans.  Asked to provide nine cans for a church dinner, she dutifully poured them into her crock-pot and delivered the goods.

No one ate a single bean.  Which leaves her with too much of a good thing. 

In an effort to help her deal with this misfortune, I offer:

Soft Chicken Tacos  

Ms. Many-Beans has also requested Bye-Bye Nesquik's official chocolate chip cookie recipe.  You know, the one from the cookbook page well-spattered with decades' worth of butter and vanilla.  So, thanks to the Betty Crocker cookbook (whatever edition was on the shelves when Bye-Bye Nesquik established her household), here you go:


1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar 
2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 package (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375'.  Mix sugars, butter, shortening, egg and vanilla.  Stir in remaining ingredients.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake until light brown, 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet.  Total recipe = 6740 calories.  

Bye-bye Nesquik's cookie secret is to bake them until they're barely set, then let them sit on the sheets until they flatten.  This makes for a cookie whose middle is on the chewy side of underbaked.

So, seeing as how the rising generation of cooks gets all its recipes from the web, do they spatter the butter and vanilla all over their computer screens?  If so, I assume they clean it off.  But when they die, how will their children ever know, Yep, this is the official birthday cake Mom always made for Dad?

I have still not finished Hawthorne's Blithedale Romance.  Hawthorne is, no doubt, one of our High Priests of Literature.  But sometimes all those words are, like nine cans of beans in a crock-pot, more than what anybody can use up.  I find myself attempting to translate his prose into the speech of the T-shirt-and-jeans era.  It's a time-consuming way to read, let me tell you.

But let's try it, just for fun:

“Why are you so secret in your operations?” I asked.  “God forbid that I should accuse you of intentional wrong; but the besetting sin of a philanthropist, it appears to me, is apt to be a moral obliquity.  His sense of honor ceases to be the sense of other honorable men.  At some point of his course—he is tempted to palter with the right, and can scarcely forbear persuading himself that the importance of his public ends renders it allowable to throw aside his private conscience.  O, my dear friend, beware this error!  If you meditate the overthrow of this establishment, call together our companions, state your design, support it with all your eloquence, but allow them an opportunity of defending themselves.”  -          N. Hawthorne

“What have you got to hide?” I asked.  “Not that I’m judging, but it looks to me like most do-gooders start to think their ends justify the means.  Pretty soon, they're cutting corners.   Look, buddy, don’t try it.  If you’ve got plans to turn the farm into some halfway-house, don’t be a sneak about it.  At least ask the rest of us what we think.” -          B-B. Nesquik

Phew!  What an effort.  I wonder what would take longer -- eating up all the beans, or translating the remaining 250 pages.

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