Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Crisco Incident

Isn’t one of the joys of parenthood the setting down for posterity the embarrassingly funny things our children do?  I think so.

The Crisco Incident, as it has since been named, occurred when our munchkin was 3 or 4.  I was getting ready to make some banana bread and had a can of Crisco out on the kitchen counter.  My dear sweet child saw the container and got all excited.  “Momma!!!!  Dessert!!!!” and she pointed to the container. 

She can’t be blamed, I guess.  I mean, there it is - a picture of a piece of cherry pie on the label, big and flakey and red.   

How my child came to make the connection between this picture and dessert remains a mystery to me.  I have rather strong feelings about pie.  Un-American feelings, some may say.  I am very much not a fan of cooked fruit.  Pies did not exist in our household, unless they were cheesecake, which isn’t really a pie, or pumpkin, which is a creamy puree of deliciousness.  Texture is a huge part of the food experience for me, and cooked fruit is rubbery.  And slimey.  Slimey is the big culprit here.  I do not like slimey food.   Apple pie in particular seems to be the slimeiest.  Bleargh.  (See?  Un-American!)

So the connection is a mystery, how my child learned about pie, but somehow she had made the connection.  I tried to talk her out of it.  I opened the container and showed her the (to me) unappetizing white paste, but at this point she seemed to think that Mommy was trying to pull one over on her and that this was really the most amazing food substance on the face of the Earth, and nothing I said could dissuade her that she did not want to stuff her face with the whole container.

At this point, I decided to make this A Teaching Moment.  At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  My husband will tell you it’s because I have a sick, twisted sense of humor, but don’t believe a word of it.  I told my daughter fine, she could have some “dessert” if she ate all her dinner without complaining about it.  Her plate had to be clean, not one whimper.  She agreed, and I can’t remember now exactly what I served her, but it was something I’d just spent a previous dinner arguing with her over how she wouldn’t now eat what used to be her favorite dish.  Teaching Moment, remember?  I am a sweet loving mother.

She did clean her plate, and I told her to get a spoon out and come get dessert.  She, thinking herself smart and sneaky, got the one of the big spoons out of the silverware drawer and scooped herself out a full teaspoon-sized dollop of Crisco.  She stuck the whole glop into her mouth and sucked it off the spoon.  There then proceeded an extended round of what I refer to as a “cat eating peanut butter face” as she attempted to chew and swallow a tablespoon of Crisco.  I asked her how she liked her dessert, and she absolutely and completely refused to acknowledge that Mommy had been right that she didn’t want any Crisco and it wasn’t really dessert.  (The husband says this is a sign that she is definitely my child.  I say it’s a sign that she’s definitely his.  When asked, our friends refuse to take sides.)

Being the sweet, loving mother that I am, I told my child that she could have more “dessert” if she wanted.  She put the very tip of the spoon into the Crisco and barely got a microscopic dab on the tip, then stared at it for about 5 seconds before putting it into her mouth.  She swallowed, and said “That’s enough dessert for tonight, Mommy.”

“Are you sure, honey?  You can have some more if you want.”

“No, that’s okay, mommy.  I’ve had enough dessert.”

That was the end of it, and the next day we had a nice discussion about how what’s on the outside doesn’t always reflect what’s on the inside.  A bit deep for a toddler, but it doesn’t hurt to start early.

The munchkin will be 10 in a few days.  During the holidays last year some magical switch flipped in my head and I started grudgingly admitting that maybe all fruit pies weren’t steaming baked piles of rubbery slime, and actually started baking some myself.  (I haven’t made a pie yet that I didn’t personally like.  I’m still up in the air about pies baked by other people.)  As I experimented with pie making, and perfecting my pie crust, the Crisco spent a lot of time on the kitchen counter again.  (I’ve found that half butter, half shortening is pie crust magic.)  Of course, I had to tell the munchkin the “dessert” story.  She didn’t believe me, and during the course of the story I invited her to try some Crisco.  This time she took out a tiny little spoon, one of the ones I use to serve my homemade boozy jellies with at parties, and tasted a pea-sized dollop.  Children do learn.  See?


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