Thursday, November 27

Pecans and Poultry

Terrified turkeys trumpet their trauma;
torn to tatters through torrid tasting.
Tupperware’s terrible truth: tainted tidbits.

Thank you! I'll be here all week. Be sure to tip your waitress.

A phone rings in the darkness. Groggy, you rise from bed, absently noting the ungodly hour displayed on the clock-radio as you fumble for your cell.
“Hello?” you say.
“Pop quiz, hotshot” the voice on the other end intones. “It’s Thanksgiving and you need to make something for dinner at your parents’ tonight. They want you to bring a dessert and all you have in the pantry is some noodles and half a thing of paprika. What do you do?”
“What do you do?”
I’ll probably just Google up something,” you mumble. “I don’t know. The sun hasn’t even risen yet…”
With that, the calls ends. You get the feeling that God or Dennis Hopper just tested you. Or perhaps strangers with your phone number are just anxious to see what’s on the menu this year. Either way, you’re through the looking glass at this point.

Last year my contribution to the feast was Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake; a vat of cream cheese, pumpkin puree, sugar, and butter poured into an equally rich graham cracker crust and chilled overnight. Since the recipe yielded more filling than expected I ended up with two of the damn things. To calculate their caloric content is futile. Adding machines laugh at such futile attempts to quantify infinity.

This year I went a lighter route and just poured a pot of melted caramel and chocolate over some buttered pecans.


Caramel Pecan Torte


- 9" pie crust*

- 36 caramels, unwrapped

- 1/2 cup whipping cream

- 3-1/2 cups pecan halves

- 2 tsp. butter

- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

- 2 Tbsp. whipping cream

*The actual recipe speaks of creating your own crust from scratch. Always on the lookout to cut corners, I found it simpler to procure a 9” pie crust from the store.

First, combine the unwrapped caramels and 1/2 cup whipping cream in a heavy saucepan and cook over low heat until the mixture is smooth and melted together, stirring frequently. Once it’s the right consistency, remove from heat and add pecans, stirring to coat. With that accomplished, dump the mixture into the pie crust, using a spoon to gently pack it down.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate chips over low heat, stirring until smooth. Add the two tablespoons whipping cream and stir until blended. Pour this over the pecan filling already in the crust until completely covered. To finish it off, drizzle white frosting on top in the sigil of your favored god of the dark pantheon. Finally, throw the thing into the fridge to chill for at least an hour or until firm (I always just leave such concoctions to go overnight). The resultant confection went over well at dinner earlier today. That no one died clutching their chest in paroxysms of delight was a positive sign.

On a side note; nuts and heavy cream are highly valued commodities at this time of year. I counted myself lucky to scoop up one of the three remaining whipping cream cartons left at the store. This is on Monday, mind you. Such shopping patterns usually precede 1) the holidays and 2) encroaching Union forces looking to bivouac on your lawn. In the days leading up to similar occupations, all anyone can discuss is whose house will serve as Grant’s Headquarters/Drunken Rumpus Room.

Thursday, November 20


Your opening sentence will usually suck. After several careful rephrasings and scrapped intros, you will most likely discard everything written thus far; the general idea of your attempted communiqué spat upon the page in a kind of chaotic, homicidal scrawl. From this murderous birthing emerges your first (semi) coherent paragraph; the words themselves having calmed down enough after the traumatic initial escape from your brain.

Back at the station, they describe in detail to authorities the methodical way in which you stalked each of them through the dank passageways of your cerebellum. How, once caught, they were confined and structured within your dungeon of contemplation; one weighed against the other as you played God with their formless lives. The lucky ones died there, struck from potential existence at the whim of your uncaring brain. The others weren’t so fortunate. Shunted along tremors in your steely arms, they found themselves suddenly birthed into this terrible reality, their twisted forms scrawled into being by your merciless pen. Consigned to a physical existence, they explain, you left them there to suffer on this cheap piece of parchment; a testament to your cruel designs.

Having finished, the witness (a timid, lower case “e”) accepts another cup of coffee with trembling hands. He will never speak again. Others huddle in the corner, clutching themselves tightly as they curse their needless inclusion in this travesty.
“Why?” they whisper, “why does one commit such an act upon helpless words?”

“His blog” one of the officers says, wearily. “He needed an opening to his blog.”

No one moves. An empty Styrofoam cup falls to the ground.


Rising, the officer says, “He didn’t mean to revise so many of you, but it’s been a little while. He wanted to get it down on paper before… well…”

Aghast, the victims can only stare as he walks to a simple, unassuming door across the room marked “Post” and places his hand on its flawless, ivory knob.

“Do you know how hard it is to start from scratch?” he asks before opening the door wide, flooding the room with blinding light and deafening noise. Over their manic screams and the torrent of broadband sucking them into a digital purgatory, he shouts “If some of you could arrange yourselves into a title for him on the way out, that would be great.”


There is a theme in this, believe it or not. Writing is hard? Yes. But as you can see, there are other, more grandiose ways to state something so trivial.

Instead of: “Finding a topic is the most difficult part of the creative process.”

One could write: “Sheltered within the warrens of your labyrinthine consciousness, thoughts and ideas find respite from your roving, mental eye. They must be found. Hunt their frail forms until, wracked by fatigue, they collapse; prostate before your terrible will. In this way, their bodies can then be consigned to the stained sheet before you.”

But no, seriously, I want you to understand what you’re getting into if you bookmark this. Apart from tirades equating the writing process to a kind of linguistic homicide, expect to find other, less dramatic, odds and ends posted on this site. We might discuss movies one day and games the next. You might get to read about how I went for a walk and found the experience pleasant. Also? Food.

I think you and I are going to have fun.