Two areas I’ve always felt myself lacking are cooking and creating traditions. So sixteen years ago, I announced to my kids that I was starting a new tradition and every Easter Sunday, I was going to prepare a family brunch. “That’s great, mom!” my eight-year-old, Joey, said. I called them to the table when everything was ready and we thanked God for our meal. As I served them, I talked again about our new Easter tradition, and my five-year-old said, “Mommy, are we going to have terds every year, too?”
“Paul!” Joey said. “Those aren’t terds; they’re sausages!” I laughed so hard, I had to sit down and wipe my eyes. So much for tradition. . .
Years later, their Little League team had a fundraiser and we were to bring baked goods. I always made cookies, and a friend had given me a banana bread recipe, so I signed up for the bread. I was wrapping the small loafs in aluminum foil as I yelled at the boys, “We can’t take these! They’re hard as rocks!”
“We HAVE to bring them, mom. You signed up.” When I got to the breads table, I said, “I’m sorry, but these really aren’t. . .” One of the women said, “Oh, I’m sure they’ll be fine. Just set them down there,” and I did, but walked away red-faced. About an hour later, I hear a woman yell, “Boys! Put that bread down right now! How could you?” I turned around just in time to see a boy toss one of my banana breads to another kid. “But they make great footballs, Mrs. R.” She walked over and took it out of the boy’s hands and said, “My gosh! These are hard as rocks! You could have killed someone with this if you hit them in the head!” The first boy laughed and said, “Yeah! That’s what my mom said.” She picked up the other two bread-footballs, marched to the nearest garbage can and tossed them in. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk.
One Thanksgiving I offered to make the mashed potatoes. We have to make a lot for all our big eaters. So, I had peeled and cut and boiled a whole bunch of potatoes. I drained the water, put them back on the stove and added butter and milk. I mashed and mashed, but there were just too many potatoes! (And, I had the burner on too high. . .) “Sis!” my brother said after we all sat down. “You burnt the potatoes!”
“I did not!” I said. “Not all of them. I took the burnt ones out.”
“That doesn’t do any good. They all taste burnt.”
“Well,” I said. “Then we’ll call them smoked potatoes.” Every year he reminds me not to smoke the potatoes.
Then there was the Thanksgiving I volunteered to cook the turkey. My mom said, “Are you sure you want to do that? It takes a lot of preparation and they have to be cooked properly.” We were on the phone. “Yes, mom, I’m sure. It’s about time I did this.” I swear I read the directions, but everyone arrived and we kept waiting and waiting for that little red-timer-Butterball-thingee to pop up. Finally, my brother goes in to check. “Sis,” he called. “C’mere.”
“What?” I said.
“You put the turkey in upside down.”
“I did not!” So, he got two large serving forks and flipped it over. “See, the breasts are facing up so they get cooked. And they have to be up to see the timer.” Ohhhhh. We ate about an hour and a half later.
My daughter’s dad, who is a great cook, decided the best way to handle me in the kitchen was to make jokes. One night he walked into the kitchen and I was making spaghetti sauce in that same big pot. It was boiling like crazy! Some of it ended up on the ceiling! He walked toward the living room and said, “Kids, your mother’s in the kitchen. Cooking. It’s dangerous in here.” For months he’d shake his head and say, “I still don’t understand how you got it on the ceiling.”
Those were the good old days. I hope you will share some of your funny stories with me in the comment box. Laughter is, as they say, the best medicine.