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A valentine for the underemployed

February 12, 2009

by keito

Like any good, disorganized writer, I keep a notebook full of random notes, ideas and the occasional haiku.  I sometimes forget what I’ve put in it until I find it by accident, usually while searching for some other notes I’ve lost.  I found a great example of this the other day, and it just so happens to be seasonally appropriate.

The top line of a page reads: “‘Success is as dangerous as failure, and we are often our own worst enemy.’ – Lazo Tzu.”

And right beneath it?

“Ugly as Sin Fudge
Aka Failure Fudge”


I’m sure many of you know the psychological pains of under- or unemployment.  I wrote the recipe for “Failure Fudge” in my notebook around Christmas time, when I had recently started The Talking Twenties and was otherwise unemployed (read: very frustrated with myself).

For those in career limbo, there’s an almost universal feeling of frustration, mixed with a lot of anxiety, as time keeps going and there are no prospects in sight.  You might, like me, have moments where you feel like a failure and wonder where you went wrong and what you should have done differently in your education and in your life.  It’s important to know that the feeling is elementary, and, most of all, that it will pass.

So here’s to all of you who are singing the failure song, on Valentine’s Day and on any other day of the year:

Keito’s Ugly as Sin Fudge
aka Failure Fudge*

Enjoy the bitter taste of defeat!

(unwittingly adapted from the recipe on jars of Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Crème)

You will need:

  • a candy thermometer
  • 8 squares semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla OR 1 bottle vanilla extract with not quite enough left to give it any flavor
  • 1 jar marshmallow crème
  • optional 1 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1½ sticks butter
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • willingness to fail

Melt butter into saucepan with evaporated milk and sugar on low heat.  You will need to stir constantly to prevent sticking to pan and burning-use a utensil long enough that you will not get molten sugar burns as mixture comes to a full boil.

Clip candy thermometer to side of pan, OR, if you feel like epically failing, don’t.  (CAUTION: do not attempt to retrieve.  It’s a goner.)  Boil till mixture reaches 325º F.  You will notice scorched bits floating by even as you continue to constantly stir and your hand begins to cramp.  Do not worry; this is par for the course.

Remove from heat after mixture reaches 325º.  Add in chocolate and marshmallow, stirring just enough that a nice, sludgy layer of darker chocolate forms on the bottom of the pan (just enough to make the fudge uneven, but not so much that it really burns and you have to throw out the pot afterwards.  Failure Fudge should not be completely hopeless, just hopeless enough).

Mix in vanilla extract and (optional) nuts.  Pour into 8×8 greased pan.  Attempt to smooth surface after scraping out sludgy chocolate bottom.  Fail.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

*NOTE: this fudge actually tasted great.


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