True Squares.
An offering from The Fella’s Father

Last week I received an unsolicited email from the fella’s father.

He wanted to talk about squares. Not the mathematical kind, the edible kind. True squares to be specific.

That led to an email exchange about True squares which I would like to share with you now.


Hi Karen,
If you’re still in the market for a true list I offer the following:
The Fella’s Father:


There are three true squares and one honourary true square. All other “squares” are nothing but overdecorated, unappetizing sugary horrors that ought to be scraped into the garbage at once. The true squares are:

The Nanaimo bar, aka the Mabel bar, perfection on a paper napkin, the pride of Vancouver Island and the only true square that doesn’t require baking.
The date square (real oats only, no instant porridge mix—ever.)
The brownie (NO NUTS!)
The honourary true square is the lemon square. I don’t like them myself and would sooner open up a vein with a rusty fork than eat one, but I put it on the list to show I am broadminded and open to new ideas.

With the exception of the Nanaimo bar, true squares require baking. If you’re making something with crème de menthe, Jell-o or Rice Crispies and the recipe says to refrigerate, you’re not making a square, you’re making a mess.

True squares should measure at least two inches per side. Church ladies take note: Nothing mars a funeral like the puny half-inch squares served up after the rites. Make them bigger.


This email prompted an immediate reply from me. What about the peanut butter square?  Was that not a true square?  It’s either covered in chocolate, or at the very least offers a delicious chocolate base.  What about this as a true square?   Was there room on the list for this?  Or fudge?  If it was cut into a square was fudge not a square?  What about a square of fudge?  Or a coconut square?  These all seem like viable options to me.  What about them?

My email went unnoticed.  He still hasn’t replied.

Other than a single lined email that said “I’m giving true meats some thought.” I haven’t heard from him since.  Last I heard he was seen wearing a tin foil hat picketing the doors of the hamburger bun factory that recently added a whole grain option to their product list.


[print_this]Nanaimo Bar Recipe

Bottom Layer
½ cup unsalted butter (European style cultured)
¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut

Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8″ x 8″ pan.

Second Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar

Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

Third Layer
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.

(recipe from the Nanaimo, B.C. website)