Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Joy of Grandsons

There are several absolutes about the above species. They eschew running water; their feet stink; they are always hungry; if you fry it they will come.

Ensconced at the cabin with soon to be 13 , Benjamin, the absolutes are crystal clear. Nagged about taking a shower - four days into his stay he finally humored me. Used 5 towels in the great dry-off but he certainly smells better.  He has a few idiosyncrasies - weather reports being among the more remarkable ones. "Hey, G'Ma , it's raining in Chicago" - this at 5.45 a.m. The reports for Mumbai, Tripoli and Aix au Provence follow in quick succession. The converging clouds on our little hamlet of Nutrioso are reported at 30 minute intervals throughout the day. Yesterday we noted a 2" rainfall - historic in proportion. The "what if" scenarios followed. "What if the cabin gets picked up in a water flow; what if the horses in the flooded bottom meadow don't  know how to swim; what if the pond overflows and the giant grass carp move in with us and eat the dogs". Enough!

It's the food pre-occupation that gets to me. He finishes breakfast (detailed in conversation the night before) - scrambled eggs, chocolate chip pancakes. "What's for lunch",  he asks as he pops his plate into the dishwasher. This sequence of eating and establishing  the provenance of the next meal is repeated throughout the day.  His mother , the judge, is a superb cook - their house has two filled to over flowing refrigerators. This child has never gone hungry.

His "nuncles" - my sons,  did the same thing. My line of defense was to teach them to cook ( and to learn how to avoid the foot odor - the rule was put your own  socks in the washing machine.) Dinner planned thanks to his insistence before noon , we did a fridge raid and established the ingredients for Orange Chicken and Stir Fried Rice.

He did a great job slicing, dicing the red and green pepper, scallions, just picked from the farm across the lane asparagus, mincing fresh ginger and garlic.  We found a box of tempura batter in the pantry that he mixed to directions.  As the tempura coated chicken sizzled in the oil (hey, I didn't say this was a healthy meal) the "crinklings" - loose batter floated to the top and I scooped them out.  Epicurean Eureka!  - "G'Ma - we should package these and sell them!".

Nostalgia set in. I told him about my cousin Maureen's Gran - Mrs. Morris. She owned a fish and chip shop in Salford, Lancashire and sold little bags of "crinklings" for three pence. Maureen - set me straight if I have the name and price wrong. I got to wondering if the "crinklings" - those free-floating chunks of batter were a Yorkshire pudding of sort - something to fill you out to stretch the meat or fish.

Dinner was a success - as I scooped crispy, battered chicken from the oil - Benjamin set the table and called out -"G'ma - this dinner needs candles". Indeed it did. I shall remember it for a long time - probably have heartburn too. A small price to pay for a candlelit dinner with a charming young man.

1 comment:

  1. You sound like the best G'ma I have ever heard of... a lucky young man for sure!


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