Monday, December 28, 2009

Mystery Food

Mystery Food

Have you ever gone to take a bite out of a piece of food, expecting one thing and then been totally surprised because it is not, I mean WAY not what you’d expected? Well I have.
I can think of three examples right now, two that I personally experienced, and one in which I truly wish I’d been there to see the expressions on the tasters’ faces.
It was many years ago, perhaps 27, seven months before I married my husband. It was April, specifically, April 1st, otherwise known as “April Fool’s Day.” I’d only known my husband’s mother a few months, not long enough to know what a prankster she was, and not long enough to know that she NEVER made brownies. She made and decorated cakes, she made cookies and fudge and brittle, but never brownies. Little seemed amiss when I walked into their dining room and admired the blue china plate of brownies. They were nice generous squares liberally frosted with fudgy icing and topped with a sprinkle of chopped walnuts. The family, all either sitting around visiting or engaged in light tasks were congenial and attentive.
“Help yourself!”
“Have one; they’re there for anyone.”
“Gee, thanks!” I naively responded, and selected a nice fat one. It was surprisingly light. Probably sort of cake-like brownies, I thought, and took a big bite.
Boinnnggg! My teeth went down but not through, and then back up again. I saw the tell-tale blue color through the frosting. She’d cut up sponges and frosted them! It’s nice to be able to laugh at yourself so you can join in the common activity in cases like that.
Several years ago, my mom Mildred married Sam Criswell, my Pop, at a lovely ceremony at the Lemoore Senior Center. I’d been busy with the decorations, making and setting up the wedding cake, taking pictures, dressing up, helping my mom with her hair, and just generally being the daughter-of-the-bride, helping to make sure everything went smoothly. Finally, I was sitting with my husband in the chairs, trying to relax before the big moment. He was holding a nice tall insulated paper cup with a sipping cap on top. It was a coffee cup, and he was sipping out of it. Oh my goodness, how lovely a sip of hot coffee would taste! He looked at me kindly, lovingly, and whispered, “Would you like some?”
I nodded, mutely, and tipped it up. Waaaugh! It wasn’t hot coffee, it was cold beer! Aieeee!
My Pop, Sam, must restrict his sugar intake. But when it’s your birthday, you get a birthday cake. That is some sort of cosmic rule, and if you don’t get one, then something is seriously wrong in your quadrant of the universe and you should investigate. One birthday, when they were trying particularly hard to follow the sugar rules, Mom had a novel idea and made him a birthday cake with a twist. They packed up the “cake” with them that evening as they headed off to a friend’s house to have a Bluegrass Pickin’ Birthday Party.
The cake was gorgeous. It was round and covered with the fluffiest, pinkest frosting you ever saw and topped with birthday candles. They sang, of course, and then cut the cake, revealing a rich, chocolaty colored crumb inside. Though I wasn’t there, I heard that at least one was mightily surprised when, after a bite, the “chocolate cake” turned out to be meatloaf frosted in beet-juice tinged mashed potatoes!
A person could get tight over that. “I wanted cake, Darn it! You let my sweet tooth down!” Or she could say, “I wasn’t expecting this, but it’s sure fantastic meatloaf!”
The unexpected can be scary or disappointing. Turkey instead of Prime Rib. Your 16 year old nephew driving instead of Uncle John. Yes, it can be a shock getting a classical CD for Christmas, or a romance novel instead of a western for your birthday, but get over it! Try it! Be open and good-humored about what comes your way, and you are a long way towards a living a life of peace and contentment. And although I’ve never developed a taste for sponge brownies, after awhile, I did appreciate sharing that drink!


  1. The time I ate hummus out of the frigde, thinking it was peanut butter was the most rememberable incident for me. I still don't like hummus.

  2. I have always loved fruit or honey glazed hams. One day while I was on WESTPAC in the Navy, glazed ham was served aboard my boat. I looked like apricot or honey glazing. I sat down and served it up (submarine so it was all family style), removed the raisens like I always did, and put a hunk in my mouth....And about decorated the guy across the the table with it. I gagged until they made me leave the table. Only the Navy could have a reciepe for peanutbutter glazed ham.....


  3. I remember the hummus episode. Hey, hummus is pretty good...

  4. Heehee...Father, I remember you telling me that story, so I could never like it just by association lol
    Grandma told me how she would take her special brownies into work....I would have loved to have seen those expressions!