Friday’s Weekend Column
The Mall of America

by James Glaser
March 11, 2005

I don't know how big the Mall of America is, but I wore a pedometer and put on over 17,000 steps and I never saw it all. I wanted to buy a suede sport coat and couldn't find one in northern Minnesota and thought the Mall would be a place that had several to choose from. I bet I tried on thirty there.

I had a budget and didn't want to spend over four hundred dollars. Actually I didn't want to spend over a hundred and a half, but I knew that was a dream. As it was, I got the one I bought for just over two, as it was on sale and summer things were coming on the floor and the winter stuff was going off and I guess a suede coat is winter. I now have a blue suede sport coat. It is very dark, darker than navy blue.

Now I know what Charmaine was doing when she would buy a new dress. The first place we would go after she bought a dress was to a shoe store, because she knew that none of the dozens of other shoes she owned would ever go with this new dress. Well I don't know if I need new shoes, but I could use a new shirt and some new pants.

People are still waiting for some sign of spring. Last night it snowed and today was cold, but I can tell the deer know it is getting better out. They are running around and having a good old time. I think they are finding little pieces of grass to eat where the snow has melted back from the road. They have quit coming over to my house to eat from the bird feeders, so they must have a new source of food.

When I was in the cities I bought new kitchen cabinets. They come in a sort of kit form and you have to put them together. They were made in Sweden and are of birch and stainless steel. Each base cabinet is like a separate piece of furniture and you can move them around, to change the look of your room. Only the sink has to stay stationary, because of the plumbing lines.

It will be nice when I finish putting it all together, but it is a lot of work. When you take everything out of one old cabinet it is amazing, all the things you lost and now you find them. That cover you looked for or that pan you knew you had but could never find. Of course you have to wash everything so you can put it in the new cabinet. I never knew we had so many bowls and I bet I now have thirty coffee cups and you know those insulated cups with the lids? Well I have six of those and I never use them at all. I am doing some culling.

Canned goods. I know I have some that are at least 9 years old and there are things in there I would never buy, they must have been on sale or they were impulse buys. After I am all done, I will have more space to put things and I will have a lot less things. If there is a pan I never use, it is going to get tossed and I will have to give a lot of things away. I do like cooking and so did Charmaine, but some place along the way we acquired way more pots and pans than we could ever use. If I had the space to seat people, I could set thirty place settings. Things might not match, but they would have everything they needed. I will be culling there too.

It is hard to put together a room by yourself. Self doubt creeps in and you never know if what you are doing looks right. I keep moving things around until I have tried every combination there is and many times I end up finding the first idea was the best. It will be nice when I am all done and I think the room will actually look bigger because so many of the things hanging on the walls or in sight will be able to be put away behind cabinet doors. I will have more counter space too.

The fudge this week was good. Good but not great. I went back to using store bought bakers chocolate and I have to admit that the expensive chocolate does make a real difference. It has a better taste and the fudge comes out creamier.

I guess I pick recipes that have a little something different in them, something that makes then stand out from the others. This week I made "My Mama's Fudge" and like I said it was good fudge and maybe with better chocolate it would be better and I think I might remake it with the more expensive stuff and see.

What caught my eye is that this recipe called for unsalted butter and heavy cream. Also it called for spreading a half stick of butter on the bottom of the glass pan that you pour the hot fudge in. Now I know this is called my mama's fudge, but it isn't my Mama's fudge. It comes from Alabama and a woman by the name of Sister Ruth sent it to me and she didn't day what the Sister part of her name was all about.

My Mama's Fudge


3 cups of sugar
1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter
12 0z semi-sweet chocolate
6 0z. heavy cream
2 marshmallows
1 tps vanilla
1 cup of nuts

First you take an extra ½ stick of unsalted butter and spread that out on the glass pan you are going to put the fudge in. You then combine the sugar, cream, and the butter in a heavy pan and start heating that until it is liquid. Then turn up the heat and boil it for 4 ½ minutes while stirring. Turn off the heat and start stirring in the Chocolate and it helps if you break it up into small pieces. Add the two marshmallows, which I don't think does much to the whole thing and then add the vanilla stirring all the time. Then add the nuts last and stir them in and pour the whole thing on to the buttered glass dish. The butter disappeared into the fudge. Let it stand a couple hours and you can then cut it. I liked it. I gave most of it away, so that I wouldn't eat too much and maybe that is why I am going to make it again with a different chocolate.

BACK to the Essays.