How the hell did I do this?

So, I went about trying a new recipe for an upcoming barbeque. Actually, I had six new recipes to try out for this thing. Yes, six new recipes for one barbeque. Because, you see, in my world there is bored, and there is overly bored. And when I get overly bored, I tend to go overlyboard. Oh yeah–when overly bored I tend to go COMPLETELY  Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell  on your ass. That’s accurate.

And I’ve been bored with the things I’ve been cooking lately, plain and simple.

So, I stumbled across some new recipes, among them–PB&J cookies.

Ahhhhh-ahhhhhhh-ahhhhhhhhh!

What’s that you say, God? Peanut butter and jelly cookies? And also, that despite certain patriarch-influenced depictions, you’re actually a gloriously curvy, blue-singin’ woman? I KNEW IT! Well, all except the PB&J cookie thing, though. That was a new thought. A delicious, delicious new thought.

So, my first order of business before any of the rest of the recipes was to make the PB&J cookies. And then another set of experimental cookies that night, and several new dishes to follow the next day.

Right. So, I get to mixing this recipe I had found on some woman’s blog. I get all the way through mixing before I realize this recipe hasn’t called for any flour or sugar or butter or anything like that which one might find in a non-imposter cookie. No, this one is mainly peanut butter, with a dash of baking soda, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg white. And jelly, of course. Mmmkay. That doesn’t seem right, but I’m on the phone with a friend of mine at the time who’s an AWESOME baker, and she suggests I might as well put them in the oven and see whether they come out.

And so the recipe (already hearkening back to the foreboding feeling I’d experienced with a previous dessert incident–The Great Cookietastrophe of ’09) told me to put the mixture into little balls and place them on the cookie sheet before placing a divot with my thumb in the middle of each for the jelly.

Only, these things, as you’ll recall, are mostly peanut butter. You know what? You try sticking your hand in a peanut butter jar, pull it out with a handful of the stuff, and try to make shapes out of it. Yeah. Good luck with your new nickname, Grossyhands. These did not shape into a ball of any sort. They didn’t even suggest balls. They just sat there, little abominations staring at me accusatorily through the unseen eyes of their agonizing, grotesque, amorphous blob-type figures, as if to cry out, “What. Have. You. Done?!?

And then I filled their piteous craters with strawberry jelly.

I popped these sad saps into the oven, waited about 8 minutes, and then decided to check on them once they’d stopped screaming. I pulled them out, and…

Someone took a bunch of craps in my oven!!

AGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!

What the blue hell?

They are monsters!!!!! I’ve created monsters!!!!!

I mean, they are as enormous as Grand’s biscuits and a sickening light brown color. Why??? They were little petite globules with jelly in the middle! And now they look like an entire steaming tray of Mastiff feces, with traces of blood at the center of them. Honestly, if I ever saw this come out of a Mastiff, I would have the heart to put the dear creature out of its misery.

THIS IS NOT OKAY.

What the hell went wrong? I didn’t miss any steps or ingredients. I checked the blog to look at her picture of the finished product.

Her cookies:

“SCREWWWW YOUUUUU,” I yell at the image on the screen. My darling male companion now ran into the kitchen for the second time in ten minutes, thinking I had undergone some awful culinary injury due to my continued Tourette’s-like verbosity.

I take the offensive, little piles off the stove and set them in my dining room to cool while I calmly try to figure out my next move. I send a picture of them to my friend who had earlier said to just pop them in the oven and see–my friend who then proceeds to laugh so hard she almost has to pull over, and immediately tells me she’s coming right over because she just has to see them in person.

When I go back to the dining room table to peer at them again, once more they have decided to astonish me and alter their disgustingness into a totally different image of bleghh.

Mmm. Lunch?

Now they have completely flattened, as if someone had stopped pumping air into them and had forgotten to put the cap back on the hole, and the jelly has gotten, well…frothy. Frothy.

At this point, figuring “What the hell,” I cut a cookie-like thing out of the solid cookie sheet hulking mass and taste it. I mean, it slops partly onto my spatula and partly back onto the pan like ingredients that desperately miss flour, but the taste? Actually, quite brilliant! Taste just like peanut butter and jelly. And you know what? If I had just placed it between two slices of bread rather than deciding to expose it to 8 minutes of 350-degree heat blast, it might have been an acceptable thing to put in my mouth.

I ended up scooping up the whole thing–both already baked and still “dough”–with a giant spoon and dumping it into a great, big bowl, which I then put a fork in and handed to my darling male companion. Who, of course, was only too happy to eat it.

And you know what? I do believe he rather liked it.

And that is my epic cookie fail for this year.

Okay, kiddies. There is a way to do things, and there is a way not to do things.

On a first date:

Do compliment the other person if you think they look nice.

Don’t arrive late.

Do bring your first date to somewhere unique, preferably where you both have an excellent opportunity to get to know one another’s sassy little personalities with a pretty backdrop.

Don’t, oh…beseech your first date to let you photograph the two of you together so you can win money once you conceive your first child. Mmmkay? It’s in the first chapter of the Creepy Textbook.

See, as you might have heard, Groupon is proposing a new dating service.

Okay. Hmm. Well, I love Groupon–I think their deals rock face, and I enjoy that the company had a spine and rejected Google buying them out, even though I’m sure they were offered absolutely immoral heaps of green. And dating services themselves are…well, not my brand of whiskey, although it bears noting that I do maintain an online dating profile that I visit from time to time. Mostly for the entertainment; I liken it to visiting the zoo a few times a year. Not that I’m dating furries. Or bears. Or cougars. All right, it wasn’t that complex of a metaphor. I digress.

But somehow in combining these two things (deals and dating), Groupon has managed to stir up a big old cocktail of awkward, impersonal, unnatural, and disturbing propositions and make it the concept for a dating site. And more personally disturbing to me—an encouragement to spawn and make Groupon babies.

For real, though. I thought it was a joke at first, since they have such a great sense of humor over there in the Groupoffice. (I assume they do that with all their words.) But, no. They are literally encouraging you to make Groupon babies. They are giving out 2 scholarships a year to couples who can show photographic evidence that their baby was the product of a couple who went out on their first date using Groupon. Groupon spawn. Grouspawn.

(My assumption—and bear with me—is that Groupon’s motivation is creating a terrifying Groupon army that will inevitably snatch up our prized American traditions and culture, ruthlessly homogenizing our youth into an infestation of date-worthy creatures who are only interested in locating suitable mates by their willingness to bond over coupons. Then all our teenagers and twenty/thirty-somethings start breeding lovelessly for cash prizes, terrorizing cities by irritably demanding half-priced fares from only the trendiest establishments. Aggghhhhh! Your fears have been realized, Huxley–It’s the Brave Frugal World!)

Okay. Sometimes I get perhaps too excited. Possibly I’m a little low on blood sugar. Must seek out a lunch of some sort… I have a Groupon in my purse for—aggghhh!  *drops the Groupon and stares in horror*

But seriously, how not-okay is that for a first date? I want you to imagine yourself getting ready to go out with someone you’ve never been out with before. Let’s assume you barely know them, if at all. Your beau arrives for your very first evening together. It’s getting-to-know-you-time. You fish around somewhat for a conversation topic with common ground, he or she takes you out to a dinner they’ve bought a coupon for (possibly ever so slightly tacky on a first date, even for someone thrifty like me, but whatever). And then, once you sit down … they take a picture of the two of you, explaining that it’s just in case you breed? I’d … I mean … I’d just like to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.

You know? Like, eww. Go home, stalker.

Hell, I once didn’t go out on a second date with a guy simply because he brought me a bouquet of store-bought flowers on the first date. Yeah, already way too committed. Let’s keep this light, Prince Charming. Easy there on the crazy-grand romantic gestures, Endless Love.

So I can’t even fathom a relative stranger taking me out with the wink-wink, nudge-nudge anticipation that I’ll be the future mother of his child so that he can win $60,000. I’m sorry. Do what, now?

See, that just sucks the romance right out for me—dating for procreation and cash prizes. I mean, where’s the broken condom strewn haphazardly across a heated bed, post-one-night-stand? Where’s the teary-eyed, secretive peeing on a stick in the ladies’ stall at work? Where’s the shotgun wedding? All wrong! Romance is dead.

[Joke. Yeesh… I was making a point… *tugs at necktie* Someone warm this room up for me. No respect. No respect at all.]

Again, I love and use Groupon, and I myself would like to sire progeny with the best of them some day. But Groupon here has hit a ball to a very weird and undeniable place in our culture’s… outfield. Shut up. That worked, and you know it.

So when did dating become Gattaca? Don’t two crazy kids just meet and hit it off anymore? Just check out the web site for Groupon’s dating service—Grouspawn. There’s a link on the page: “Want a Groupon baby? Visit our dating service.”

Gah! *recoils, hisses* Don’t hit the button! (I suspect it’s a legal agreement to be frugally inseminated.)


You don’t join a dating service to have a baby. You join a dating service to find a mate. And then kids can come later. Want a Groupon baby? It should link to an adoption site.

Furthermore, in a coupon-inspired dating service where the outcome is to have a coupon kid, my imagination assumes you get matched up by how cheap you are, and then you’re given a (very reasonably priced) hotel room for the evening. (In my case, I’d be passing on the gift of life with some broke-ass person who has no true working concept of money, if they were to be my equal.) Go nuts, kids.  Have fun with all the fertilization! Hey, why need a first date be fruitless? Why wait and see whether it pans out enough in the long run to have a Groupon baby? Get knocked up now, save money later! It’s like an ounce of prevention…

So, just. Yeah. NO to all of this. No to you, if you even briefly entertained the thought of proposing Grouspawn to a first date of yours. You’re better off asking him or her over dinner conversation whether they could please scratch your hard-to-reach psoriasis for you than using any progeny-directed line Groupon will feed you here. Bad Groupon! Bad! What are you thinking? Go sit in the corner. Sit in it. Sit.

Not to mention, is it just me, or does “Grouspawn” look too close to “Groupspawn,” which would be a slightly more alien-movie way of saying “the tragic result of a group sexual endeavor”? Because that’s how I read it for the first 5 minutes. Who picks these names?? If someone I barely knew asked whether I wanted to engage in a Grouspawn with them, I’d shoot their eyes full of pepper spray and blow my emergency rape whistle after having groin-punted them into another room.

So, to recap, no. No, no, no.

No. Groupon—no.

No.

Original Chicago Tribune article on Grouspawn.

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