When my children were young, I duly noted their creative abilities and their vivid imaginations. Oh, it was true that these ‘talents’ often led them in questionable directions (and often to the principal’s office), but I felt that, in general, such ingenuity should be rewarded and encouraged, not stifled.
Which is why I found Gill sitting at the kitchen table the other evening searching eagerly through cookbooks and trying to plan a birthday dinner for Crazy D. Now, as regular readers know, my current attitude towards preparing elaborate dinners is to not do it, but I had to admire her determination to make sure Crazy D had a nice birthday. Although, if I were to examine her true and well-hidden motivations, I’d likely have to look no further than the ridiculous plastic fish mould she brought home from Toronto’s Chinatown — after several days of riotous fun with her friends. Need I say a substantial amount of drinking was involved? (I’d say she was drinking after being deprived of alcohol in the land of binge drinking, a pub on every corner, and vomit in the streets after all-night benders…but we all know that would be incorrect. She doesn’t drink a lot but neither is she NOT imbibing.) The fish was one of those ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’ flashes of inspiration. Or perhaps she drank more than I thought. At any rate, we have the fish.
“What could we make in this mould?” she asked of nobody in particular.
I, being the only one in the room capable of speech, answered, “Well, I suspect something of a jellied nature would be the most reasonable. But since nobody here actually likes jelly, and The Vegan won’t eat fish, and the idea of jelly and fish together makes me want to puke, perhaps we should just turn the mould upside down and put some pretty flowers in it for a table decoration. Then we could cook something real in the way of foodstuffs…”
“Oh, we can’t do that, Ma! I brought this delightful fish all the way home because it is so spectacular. It cries out to be used for something important. Wait until I consult my cupcake book…perhaps we can bake Crazy D’s cake in it!”
“You can’t put that plastic in the oven! It will melt.”
“Oh.” She was crushed. Crushed but not deterred. “Perhaps a non-bake cheesecake in the shape of a fish?”
“Possibly,” I noted. “But what fool would want that?”
Gill glared at me. “Me!” she said in a voice that brooked no argument.
“Well, “I considered. “How about a tomato aspic?”
“What is an aspic?”
“Something awful that involves gelatin and tomato juice I think. But I don’t know how to work with gelatin. Anything I ever tried using it came out too runny or with huge lumps.”
L’il Sis passed by and confirmed. “Oh, she’s not kidding. Don’t let her near the gelatin!” I could only ponder what terrible life-altering experience she underwent in her childhood that involved me and failed jello. I wasn’t about to ask.
A short time later, Gill came up with a brilliant idea: “We can make your famous play dough recipe, fill the mould with it and make a whole sea of fish as decoration. It will be like Sharknado on the table. Crazy D will love it!”
“Do you know how long it will take me to make all that play dough? Crazy D will be an old man before I finish the last batch.”
“Oh.” She was crushed.
She disappeared and came back later to announce:”I’ve got it! We can line the mould with jello powder and a bit of oil. Then we can take the mould outside, pack it with snow, and make a Sharknado display leading up to the front door of the house for Crazy D. He’ll love it! It’s genius.”
Oh My God! I know this is Crazy D’s birthday we’re dealing with and he is the king of wacky schemes, but what about a 38 -year-old man screams Sharknado display on the front lawn?!! I shouldn’t have shot down the fish jello…it would have been so much easier. Horrible, but easier. On the other hand, the entire neighborhood got to appreciate the ice fish across the street. And there is absolutely no truth to the rumour that the bylaw officers are looking for us!