Butterscotch Memory Lane

So, I’m in my car trying to make my way to a Friday happy hour, and BLAM!  Traffic accident.  And, man, was it a doozy! Which means I had plenty of time to think. And plenty of time for my tummy to start rumbling.  Which got me to thinking about food. Which got me to thinking about butterscotch. (Hey, don’t judge!  I said I was on my way to happy hour and I like scotch on the rocks and butter goes with everything.)  Nonetheless what exactly IS butterscotch, where’d it come from and why did I have it on my mind amidst a serious accident?

image00Butterscotch itself is actually a simple confection.  It’s somewhere between the flavor of toffee and caramel and with similar ingredients. Butterscotch, which is said to have originated in Doncaster, England in the early 1800s, actually requires a simple mix of brown sugar, butter, milk or cream and salt.  Actual scotch isn’t required but a splash doesn’t hurt. The trick is in the cooking process.  It’s a delicate blend of bringing the ingredients to the right cooking temperatures and blah,blah blah blah blah.  This isn’t a culinary blog.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I associate butterscotch with my grandmother.   She’d keep these little hard butterscotch candies in her purse and would pass me one whenever I got antsy in church, usually because Reverend Scipio’s sermon was too long. I mean, there was nothing sweeter than unwrapping that crinkly yellow cellophane to reveal the little bite of deliciousness inside. (Critics would say this flavor is actually very different than actual butterscotch, but hey, I’m going for nostalgia here!) My grandmother also kept them in a butterscotch-colored candy jar in the kitchen so us kids could sneak one whenever the mood hit us.  Now, butterscotch was an ‘old folks-flavor’ candy, most kids ate the little round red and white peppermints instead, but I always found myself migrating towards the creamy smoothness of butterscotch.

image00My butterscotch love affair continued into early adulthood. My family would throw these epic holiday parties and a new friend and future love brought these wonderful confections called haystacks to one of the events. I was instantly intrigued!  I mean, butterscotch is daring–it makes a bold statement because not everyone goes for its unique flavor.  Yet who could resist these cute little treats resembling loose piles of hay in a wheat field? Again, the ingredients and recipe, were simple; crunchy chow mein noodles, butterscotch chips and peanuts all melted together and tablespoon-ed onto wax paper and allowed to cool.  Yummers!

Finally, one year when life and love were particularly tough, a made-to-order cookie company opened downtown.  On the days and nights when my head and my heart were not in alignment, I’d find myself at the cookie counter ordering my specialty…sugar cookie dough with butterscotch and pecans.

It was these cookies I was thinking of as I inched forward towards the accident that had first started my butterscotch reverie. And as I (finally!) approached the flashing lights of the ambulances and fire trucks, it dawned on me that it wasn’t my delayed happy hour that’d made me think of scotch and food, but rather the lesson of butterscotch itself…

…when life is at its hardest and most chaotic, it’s the taste of something simple and sweet that soothes it all and lets you know that everything will be okay.  

So, as I crawled past that accident, I visualized all the accident victims sitting at a buffet table piled high with butterscotch candies, haystacks and cookies…and I felt assured they’d all be just fine. I even planned to have a Butterscotch Martini in their honor.

Now, what’s your butterscotch?

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What Do Men Carry in Their Pockets…and WHY?

PocketI was stuck in the “Gotta have my coffee!” drive-thru this morning behind a guy who was clearly having trouble finding his “that’ll be $3.73” in his pockets.  C’mon, you’ve been that guy!  You’re at the window, and either your wallet’s caught in your pants or you can’t quite reach that nickel wedged in the corner of your khakis so you have your feet braced on the floor and your butt lifted off the seat in order to crook two fingers into your pocket to get better access.  Yeah, you know the pose…and I was trapped behind that guy.

But it got me to thinking……….What do men carry in their pockets and why?

Now, let me be honest, I’ve always been fascinated with what men keep in their pockets. And ladies, you know you’ve asked a man at least once what’s in his pockets—-or else you’ve examined all the crap he tossed onto the dresser at the end of the day.  Yeah, I’m that chick too. Ever since I was knee-high to my daddy’s thigh, I’ve wanted to know what was in his pockets.   All of my life, my daddy’s pockets have contained a nail clipper, Chapstick and four quarters. Why this stuff? Well, I assume he’s metrosexual (don’t tell him I said that) about his nails and skin, and the four quarters are from the days of pay phones.  He always wanted to have change in case of an emergency.  Why he still carries the quarters, I don’t know, because he’s a 65-year old iPhone wizard, but hey…maybe one day the network will go down…..

At any rate, my brother pays homage and follows in my dad’s footsteps by carrying the exact same stuff.  My grandfather always carried an actual buckeye…even though he was from Arkansas. He said it was for good luck.  My first love, for years, carried the first letter I ever wrote to him…and a toothpick.  I always imagined him as that guy wrapping that letter around the toothpick and staking his claim….

An artist friend of mine never leaves home without a gel pen and a pacifier….he’s a dad of four and who knows when or where creativity will strike! I met a guy once who carried a bedazzled bobby pin in his pocket.  It was his greatest pickup line ever.  After he’d said a basic hello to a woman, he’d lay the pin on the hard space between them and tell her she’d need it later to pin up her hair for a long night of dancing.  He stated it never failed, the shiny rhinestones always grabbed her attention and women are naturally intrigued by a man who can dance.  I have to admit, even with my short short hairstyle, I had a momentary flash of myself on the dance floor with that pin in my hair!

What I also have learned over the years is that men are creatures of habit. They unanimously carry their cell phones, drivers licenses, credit cards, Chapstick and sometimes cash. At the end of the day, those things make us women feel safe somehow…and that’s really why I want to know what’s in a man’s pocket. I suspect it’s why every woman wants to know….

So fellas, the next time the sweet thing in your life asks  about what’s in your pocket….this video says it all:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qrwwM1Hgwk

She really just wants to know that you can take care of her.