Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Butter Tarts

            “Ever since the advent of Agnes Findlay Mother has been doing a lot less cooking, but there is something about the holiday season that has Mother stirred up.  Right now she is in the kitchen baking butter tarts,” said Alfred to Horace Whittington on the phone. “Now, I love butter tarts and Mother tells me that she has a fine old Canadian Recipe and she is determined to provide us with a special treat.”

It was mid-afternoon on Tuesday and Alfred put down the phone and picked up his Edinburgh Crystal Sherry glass and took a sip.   “Very fine,” he thought to himself. I do enjoy a little Manzanilla Sherry from Andalucia.”

            Just then he heard Mother slam down a mixing spoon on the counter in the kitchen and give a small disconcerted moan.  That in turn was followed by some mild but colorful language on the part of Mother.  “So much for reading,” said Alfred, and headed toward the kitchen.

            Mother was standing there with a large Homer Laughlin mixing bowl and a look of utter frustration on her face.  “Oh, Alfred,” said she, “Whatever will I do?  The recipe is for 48 butter tarts, and I wanted to double the recipe, but I made a mistake.  I tripled the amount of vinegar instead of doubling it.  Math was never my strong point. ”

            “Well,” said Alfred, looking at the recipe on the counter, “Why don’t you add another 3 tablespoons of vinegar, then double the other ingredients.”

            “Oh, Alfred, do you think that will work?” said Mother.  She quickly began to add the necessary ingredients while Alfred watched..

            “Oh, Oh, Mother.” said Alfred, “you might have done it again.”

            “Alfred! I need some help!” said Mother.

            “Well, let me see what we can do,” said Alfred, looking over the recipe again.  Together the two of them began adding ingredients.  At last they stepped back and looked at the mixture.’

            “I don’t know Alfred,” said Mother, “We may have done it again.”

            “Well, Mother,” said Alfred, “let me get my calculator.” 

Very carefully Mother and Alfred, added, and added and mixed and mixed.  At last Mother said, “I think we have got it, but that seems like an awful lot of tart filling.  What do you think, Alfred?”

“Let me see,” said Alfred, punching a few numbers into his calculator, “That ought to make 384 butter tarts. That’s a lot of butter tarts! It’s a good thing you have a couple of extra tart pans and racks.”

Mother laughed, “That’s the first mistake I’ve ever made.  I hope you like butter tarts.”

“I do, Mother, I do, but even I couldn’t eat 384 butter tarts.  We will have to give some away.”

“I know,” said Mother, “Alfred, you can bring some to Choir Practice tomorrow night, and we can give some to the Whittington’s.”

“That’s a good idea, Mother,” said Alfred enthusiastically, “and I can bring some to the office; but even at that we will still have way too many left over.”

Mother paused, then she said shyly, “We could bring some to our new neighbours next door.  I really do feel rather badly about the reception we gave them when they first moved in.  I’m so glad that she didn’t get as badly hit in the rump with that load of rock salt as I thought she had.  Still, I’m mortally embarrassed.” 1

“That’s a good idea, Mother said Alfred, “It’s time we were just a little more gentle in the way we treat people.”

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27).

1See episode 2, A Shot in the Dark

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