Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Super Heros and Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

Today was the day.

That's right, I'm not gonna lie.

There have been reports that I am not going to confirm or deny that Klecko may be part of the 2012 State Fair Television commercial.

I won't comment as to why those cameras were following me around while I did a demo by myself, the one where I discussed Savory Dutch quick breads.

If you've followed this blog, or ever had the chance to talk with me, you know that it's true. Klecko yearns for attention, always has - always will.

With that said, I decided when my first demo was complete, I'd troll the fan base to see if there was just one soul that would help me avoid loneliness.

So after the first show, an officer from the Midwest Baking Association,and maybe my favorite guy in the whole guild walks over to my booth.

He's older, early 70's, and he's wearing a baseball hat.

Could I be seeing this right? His head looked like it was shaved, but against my Klecko curiosity....I decided not to ask any questions.

Then I saw his wife entering from across the exhibit hall, she was weaving through Fairgoers like an Olympic skier on the slalom course, but by the way she navigated her entrance....I think it was safe to say she wasn't going to reach the medal platform.

When she finally reached us, I noted how dark and sunken her eyes were.

I've seen these eyes before, I've worn them.

She had the countenance of somebody who hadn't just finished crying, but HAD been crying a lot, for perhaps an entire season.

Her husband, my friend, a mentor, then revealed to me that he had cancer and had been undergoing treatments.

When I expressed my sorrow, he mustered up an explanation that assured me his recovery team was tremendous, and he was out of the woods.

But from the look in his eyes, and the tone of his voice, I'm not so sure. I wondered if perhaps that was a positive karma shot that he was trying to implant in his wife.

But my clock was ticking.....3-2-1

It was showtime. I had to go. I didn't see them after that.

At 3 O'Clock I had my only guest of the day. It was a woman who I have known for years and she is the Twin Cities token expert on Scottish Culinary.

Her name is Amy Goetz and her mission was to instruct our audience on how to make STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING.

Her daughter Sophia came with her, and her mere presence might have given me the biggest smile I've had in several weeks.

I hadn't seen her in 3 or 4 years since Sue McGleno and I ran into her and her mother in one of the Fairs cow barns.

Sue McGleno was carrying a big a** stuffed animal that she won on the midway. A stuffed animal that she was proud of, but when she saw Sophia, she handed it to her without hesitation.

Sophia was just a twerp back them, but now she was a young lady.

At 13 years old she gave me an image of who her mother must of been while she was growing up. In a way...I guess I was blending both of their personality's into the kid.

Amy is one of the reasons I wish I controlled my life better. Not only have I always respected her in the business world, but I must say, she seems really nice and I would be better if I had her around me more often.

I regret that I don't know her better.

Over the years when I've gone to trade shows, Amy is in the 1% of people that Sue McGleno will talk to for more than a split second.

It has been said that the Lord won't give you more than you can handle, but I don't know......Amy got a dose of sadness dropped on her that just doesn't seem fair.

Earlier this year, both her mother and father got cancer. Both were being treated at the same time, and both were being seen by the doctor who Sue McGleno works for.

What are the odds?

My wife had to assist and help usher Amy's parents out of this world.

I knew it was taking place, but I didn't really ask any details since the situation was personal.

It's only been a couple months since both parents left Amy, but maybe that's another reason why her daughter inspired me. I guess Amy's now been put in a position where everything is about going ahead.

When you work my demo kitchen at the Fair. It is really an interesting set up.

The kitchen has an oven, sink, microwave, walls.....the whole deal, but it's plopped in the middle of a space which could serve as a factory. Its huge.

So when I stand in that kitchen between shows, it is kinda like swimming in a fish bowl. I just do my thing, and hoards of people continue to pass by.

Some smile, others extend sarcasm, and then there is always the group which look battered down from their long day.

After years of being in this fish bowl....I have learned to keep my sanity by tuning the people out occasionally so I can recharge my mental batteries.

I did this when I was talking to Amy.

We were in the very back of the kitchen. 25 feet away from anybody. They could see us, but natural boundaries prevent them from getting to us.

After a moment of Silence, Amy asked how Sue McGleno was doing, and if anything was new with her and her Doc. I shared the following story.

"Let me tell ya Amy, last week I popped my head into her sewing room, and stretched out all across the tables and floors were a rainbow of satin fabric. There was red-green-blue-purple, and some of this stuff had been sewn into little capes.

To be honest, I was kinda freaked out and asked if we had some Hobbits coming to dinner, but Sue McGleno didn't laugh. She didn't even answer.

When I asked her again what the stuff was for, she told me that the women at her work had been really concerned for the children who have to come with their parents while they get treatments.

So they decided to help them find courage by sewing them super hero costumes."

Then I looked up at Amy and her eyes were filled with tears, and I'm not gonna lie, when I saw that look in her eyes....in the fishbowl, in front of an entire Fair, my eyes got moist as well.

Both of us have lived in an industry where people give you praise and accolades because you can cook a dish, but while that's taking place....there is a handful of women that are doing everything in their power to help your family either stay alive....or at least separate with some kind of dignity and hope.

That moment with Amy was brief, but I do care for her very much, and I will remember our time together, in the fish bowl...for a very long time.

The following is her recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding. and she told us that in Scotland, the word Pudding would translate to "Cake" in America.

And for the record, it was the best item I have eaten since I have entered the Fair this year.


1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple sugar
1 large egg
1 cup flour
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup chopped dates
1 tsp B-soda
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter, sugar and maple syrup together until fluffy. add beaten egg. Fold in flour. Add B-soda and vanilla. Pour boiling water over dates, stir and add butter to mixture. Split evenly into 6-8 lightly oiled custard cups. Put on a baking sheet and place in oven for 20-25 minutes.


1/3 cup butter
6 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup cream

Combine in a pan and heat slowly until sugar has melted.

Those Scottish people are really into their butter huh?


  1. What a great tribute to Amy, and Sue and to all who make their way against the odds. Funny how such a thing as a State Fair can provide so many connections over the years. thanks for writing this,

  2. Nice story, thanks for sharing it!

  3. Beautiful. You can write AND cook.

  4. Big K....thank you. Anytime I've ever had with you has been fun, funny or encouraging, but this time, I was just happy to be with my friend. And, Sophie always loves to see you - with or without a big a** prize! I love how small the world can sometimes be. How perfect that it was your sweet Sue to help us through our "journey". Tell her that superheroes usually need someone with a big heart to let them know they're stronger than they think. Love ya right back!
    Everyone else: don't forget to pour some heavy cream over your warm sticky toffee pudding and sauce. It's the Scottish way!

  5. Amy--very sorry to hear of your loss, but I'm glad you were connected with Sue McGleno! The recipe sounds delicious! I'm going to try it here in Brussels later this week as I welcome US friends for Belgium Beer Festival.

    Hugs to all of you!