Monday, February 28, 2011

Forever young

Chester the Molester. What an inappropriate nickname....well, maybe not so much. My lovely friend and former co-worker came by it quite honestly....she was forever getting called on the carpet and half-heartedly scolded for her latest scandalous behavior - she is just one of those people who only half-grew up, retaining the semi-crazy and completely childlike joy of being a kid to the delight and bewilderment of everyone around her.

Her laugh is addictive, and I was hooked the moment I met her - it was a fix I was forever in search of, would do nearly anything to get, even at my own expense...and that happened a lot. She is a touchy-feely person, and by that I mean she would grab you in the most inappropriate places just to hear you squeal....not terribly politically correct in this day and age, but wildly entertaining - the better she knew you, the more likely you would be the target because she had no fear of official retribution. She earned her nickname with the signature move, "The Chester Chop", in which she would sidle up behind an unsuspecting victim while they were otherwise occupied in a standing position, then reach down and place her palm between your knees, thumb pointed up, then sharply raise her hand in an upward "chop"....squealing was requisite and quite involuntary.

Inappropriate emails were also a staple - most of them sent to personal addresses, most likely after being warned by an administrator firmly biting down on his/her tongue to keep from laughing out loud at the futility of the order to "never do that again". I wonder at the childhood she lived....I can't imagine she was the only one in the family with her sense of humor and lack of fear in using it - not sure how parents could have ever disciplined such a child and kept a straight face. I never saw her in a bad mood, and even when sick or in pain, she would find a way to laugh or make you laugh. I have a large print of her that she gave me that will eventually be framed and grace the wall in my spare bedroom, a great big sunny smile, gloves, boots, hat and an artfully draped scarf, and which I'm sure my grandchildren will ask "Gramma, why does that lady on the snowmobile have no clothes on?". I will just chuckle, and tell them "That's just Chester...isn't she silly?"

Chester moved on, but I still hear from her via email almost every single day, and altho some of the emails she forwards are repeats, (she must get SO many from everywhere because almost all are new and always funny or amazing) she is the ultimate email supplier. She shared a recipe with me a few years back, and it's uber old country - it is dutch I believe, and I think the translation is "butter cake" is a buttery moist shortbread that is SO rich I think butter would drip out of it if you squeezed it....and that you have to cut in VERY small pieces if you don't want to get sick on it. It's a wonderful recipe, simple, delicious, and a great one to ship because it's so dense....and I think it was a family heriloom, so I was honored to accept it, and got her permission to share it with you. Enjoy it as I do, in very small portions, and with eyes in the back of your head....she may be sneaking up on your right now, and you don't want to choke if you get "chopped"!

Boterkoek (pronounced "Boater-kook")

1 C. sugar
2 C. flour
1 dash salt

Mix with a wire whip; add:

1 C. very soft butter (NOT MARGARINE...CHOP!)
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all together until it forms a ball. Pat ball into a round cake pan, ungreased. Using the back of a spoon and a little milk, smooth out the top. Add your favorite nuts, pressing almonds, pecan or walnut halves, hazelnuts in the top....I use almonds. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cool completely, remove from pan and cut in very thin wedges, or into small squares - you can think about how you're going to cut it when you put the nuts on top, and place them accordingly.

So simple, SO rich, and so delicious....the browning process gives the butter amazing flavor and your entire house will smell like a European bakery. I miss Chester being around....even tho I hear from her almost every day. I still expect to see her rounding the corner, hapless stranger in tow, introducing them to everyone in the building....and not necessarily a co-worker, just someone random she picked up in the hall. Crazy? Yup. Belongs in a nut house? Mmmmmaybe, but if you put her there, I want to go too. Love ya, Ches....

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