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The Year of the Macaron

It was meant to be a short vacation. The Fat Fingers of Justice would lay off the keys, stretch out, and get a little sun in Acupulco. But, the high-stress world of nearly-biannual blogging proved to be too taxing. Plus, I had a family to support. Cats to pet. A liquor cabinet. A brief regrouping turned quickly to a three-year sabbatical. My thoughts would sometimes drift back to this blog, and to its brave words thrown mightily against the walls of America’s strongest bastions, making cracks and shedding light into the financial world, the pharmaceutical industry, the brunch-nap industrial complex. While I existed in a blissful bubble, it was one increasingly close to popping from the cumulative weight of so much corruption, and the pleas from so many. The fingers, well, they began a-twitchin’.

Yesterday, I fired up the ol’ laptop, took a sip of brandy, and faced the truth – America has shit the bed. The rise of ISIS, a Donald Trump presidential run, countless assholes doing incalculably-massive asshole things, and McDonald’s Egg McMuffins now available at any time of day. In other words, total madness. And no matter where I look, from comment sections, to Facebook, to Twitter, all of Internetburg is eerily silent. I can’t seem to find anyone’s opinions, on anything, anywhere. Either the plague of political correctness has us tongue-tied, or outrage has simply fallen out of fashion.

Fear not, dearest readers (Hi Mom, Girlfriend, and Spam Bot Sam!), the Fat Fingers are back, and they have at least three-to-four blog posts of things to say in the new year. While the bad news is too much to tackle all at once, I’ll focus this return on good news – news to satiate long-waiting appetites, while whetting those for an exciting year sure to be full of a solid 2-to-1 ratio of excuses for not writing, to actual written content.

Prediction! The coming year (2016, if anybody’s still counting) will see a new dessert rise to the top of the food search matrix, and by December, everyone will know someone, that knows someone, that has sort of an idea, albeit mostly incorrect, of the delicate magic that is the macaron.

It is not macaroni, and it’s not a cheesy raccoon dish, but I promise – it’s just as delicious. I had one recently – pistachio-flavored. They’re similar to a cookie, but not unlike a perfect, tiny cake. A thin, outside coating cracks easily upon biting, revealing a soft and moist center. Fluffy? You bet your ass. It’s sweet, with a lightness that could trick an easily-fooled man into making himself sick on the damn things. I haven’t yet, but I’m confident I will.

Commonly mistaken for tiny Play-Doh cheeseburgers, macaroons are an edible dessert typically made without the former's borax and petroleum additives. Confirm with your baker before sampling.

Commonly mistaken for tiny Play-Doh cheeseburgers, macarons are an edible dessert typically made without the former’s borax and petroleum additives. Confirm the ingredients with your baker before purchasing.

playdoh kid

If your baker wears a disguise made of Play-Doh, don’t just take their word for it. If it walks like Play-Doh and talks like Play-Doh, there’s a pretty good chance it’s not a macaron. The confectionery world is full of charlatans – be discerning!

Fox News, as far back as 2011,  suggested macarons would be the “new cupcake.” This, despite acknowledging the dessert as both “elite” and “French,” words the news organization typically associates with liberals, the human subspecies known to haunt them without cessation, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. While never identifying the old cupcake, or ur-cupcake, one can only presume that whatever it was, it was invented by Ronald Reagan and helped to defeat Communism forever and ever, amen.

The macaron is a fancier dessert than a fried Snickers bar, bacon-wrapped donut hole, or Oreo-crusted s’more, but don’t worry – it’s still bad for you. Try to overlook its lack of a swirling ice cream center and fructose-dripping heart-attack sauce, and appreciate it for what it is. It’s like a tiny, adorable cake for people that aren’t monsters. I was told to eat it slowly, and I tried. I really did. Unfortunately, I am an insatiable animal who has not met many desserts I didn’t like. I dragged it out, I’m proud to boast, for an excruciatingly long two-and-a-half bites. I believe the world record is four.

Now is the time for an important clarification. In fact, it should have come sooner, but it’s a little more complicated than distinguishing a macaron from a macaroni. You see, this infinitely complex world of ours apparently saw fit to include in its  abundance not just the macaron, but the macaroon. I thought, even halfway through writing this post, that they were one and the same, and assumed it was a to-may-to/to-mah-to situation.  Imagine my sullied journalistic credibility had I published before learning the difference.

I’ll let the Macaron Master do the dirty work of explaining.

macaron-vs-macaroon

It’s a lot like the 1988 film, “Twins,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito. In this case, Arnold would be the more refined macaron, and DeVito the streetwise macaroon. Well, hold on a second. That doesn’t sound right. DeVito is kind of like the shriveled, partially burnt batch of desiccated coconut shavings that comprises the macaroon, but Arnold as fancy confectionery? Let’s just say that both the characters and the maca-whichevers, are the results of a secret lab experiment, and you shouldn’t eat either Danny DeVito or a macaroon. You probably shouldn’t eat Arnold Schwarzenegger, either, and if someone offers you something they pronounce as macaron, but it looks like a burnt biscuit, slap it out of their hands and onto the floor. Then grab a bag of real macarons, watch Twins, and come up with your own damn analogy.

I plan to dive sweet-tooth first into 2016 this weekend, by visiting both Walton’s Fancy and Staple and La Patisserie Bakery. A confectionery bloodbath looms. Few, if any, macarons will be spared my butchery. I mean, my god, look at this Walton’s spread:

waltons macarons

I’ll report back as soon as I’ve bankrupted myself on the full, delicious rainbow gamut.

A final bit of trivia: On the French version of Sesame Street, the Cookie Monster is known as the Monstre de Macaron. Due to consistent mispronunciation, the character was killed off the show in 2012.

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