Friday, June 1, 2012

Au revoir 2012

Teachers don't live by traditional calendars.  Our new year begins in August and ends in late May or early June.  Today is my last "normal" day (is there such a thing in middle school??) of classes.  Exams for 7th and 8th graders begin on Monday.  And while part of me is so relieved that she would do cartwheels if she still could, the other part feels a bit forlorn.  I've taught some of my 8th graders for three years.  All of them for two.  They head off to high school next year.  I know that they will be just fine, but I wonder if I've taught them enough.  Not just about French verbs and vocabulary, but about life.  One class has a list of my little "life lessons."  I know I can't protect them from all that's out there, but maybe, just maybe, my voice will come back to them in the future and something I've said will help them along the way.  Who knows? 

The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love provides a comforting recipe for feelings of forlorn-ness.  The proper combination of sweet and salty.

Chocolate Stuff
in the words of Her Royal Highness, Jill Connor Browne
The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love, Three Rivers Press, New York, 1999

Beat two eggs with a cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of flour.  Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt. In the microwave melt together one stick of real butter (I never use unsalted; I think it tastes flat) and 2 fairly heaping tablespoons of Hershey's cocoa.  Get regular Hershey's in the dark brown box-- anything different will screw it up.  Dump the butter-cocoa mixture in the other things, and stir it up good.  Then add a running-over teaspoon of vanilla.  I use real vanilla, but the grocery store kind won't ruin it.  Stir that up, too.  If you decide to go for nuts, use a whole bunch of pecans, chopped up fine.

Pour the stuff into a greased loaf pan, set the pan in a pan of water, and stick the whole business in the oven set at about 300 degrees.  Depending on how your oven cooks, it  needs to stay in there for 40 to 50 minutes.  If it seems crunchy, I'd take it out.  You can't really undercook it since it's good raw, but you don't want to overcook it and lose the gooey bottom so crucial to the whole texture experience.

Trust me.  This is the best thing that has happened to you in a very long time, possibly ever.  From now on, for as long as you live, just the simple act of getting out the bowl to make Chocolate Stuff will have an incredibly assuaging effect on your psyche.  I can say, without fear of contradiction, there is virtually nothing, not one situation, that can't be faced with calm and grace and serenity if you have Chocolate Stuff.  You can eat it and feel better fast, and when it wears off, you can just make another batch.  Believe me, in no time at all, you'll be grinning like a mule eating briars.

The BFF, Her Royal Highness, and moi and a book signing at The Regulator in 2007.

Bon appétit, 2011-12!


Your Ginger of '16 said...

I have learned from you! Maybe it seems creepy that I read your blog (but hey, first amendment). I'm pretty sure I've cried multiple times today because I'm not going to be in your class anymore... :'( But I've decided to make this chocolate stuff to see if it works, and get a good grade on my exam to give you my last gift.

The ginger in B period

The Sabbatical Chef said...

It is not creepy at all, ginger in B period. I am quite flattered, as a matter of fact. Hope that's not creepy!