The Darcy & Micawber

The Darcy & Micawber: A Punch

In writing, as in grilled cheese sandwiches, you must strike while the iron is hot. When the muse taps on your shoulder you put aside your work, drop the weights, abandon the grocery cart, stop whatever you are doing and sit down with pen & paper. Because, if you ignore her tap, tap, tapping at your shoulder on Tuesday, she gets pissy and refuses to come back to you on Friday to reconstruct the post you composed in your head while you were walking the dog.

It was about a punch, well punches in general really, and their history. Alcoholic punches go a long way back into drinking history, having their heyday in London in the late 18th century and making regular appearances in the noblest of houses and clubs through the early 19th.

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Colossus Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Colossus Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Fleur de Sel (aka. How To Win the Bake Sale)

It’s a well-established fact among those who know me that I am what they call “competitive”. I have been banished from playing certain board games, my morning swim immediately turns into the Olympics if anyone else gets into the pool, and Mark and I have a whole contract drawn up regarding what can and cannot be said while our fantasy football teams are head-to-head. Blame it on Texas, or having two sisters, or the location of the moon and stars when I was born, but I can make a heated competition out of looking up the location of a coffee shop on my phone (because I will be damned if Mark’s Samsung is going to outstrip my iPhone).

So when Mark told me that the hospital was having a bake sale, what I heard was “Bring It.”

And I also don’t mind admitting that I like the deck stacked in my favor; which is why I went chocolate chunk cookies.

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Mexican Chocolate Toast

Mexican Hot Chocolate Toast

The sandwich was invented when The Earl of Sandwich wanted a snack while gambling. (true story.)

Chicken nuggets were the answer to the flock of pygmy chickens that broke loose from the circus. (that’s a lie.)

And this recipe was created when I helped myself to two big slices of beautiful challah bread, only to turn around and remember that our toaster was still packed away in a box in a moving truck somewhere on Interstate 10.

But I can be a stubborn mule at times, and where there’s a hankering, there’s a way. Toast, after all, goes almost as far back into our history as bread; whereas shiny electric toasters do not. We can trace the ancestry of toast back to cast iron contraptions stuck into fireplaces, and I feel sure that some guy at some point stuck a day-old loaf on a stick, toasted it over a flame and called it good.

Toast in Pan

But standing in my little kitchen I had no cast iron contraption, no fireplace nor an open flame. What I did have was a frying pan, a stovetop and butter.

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