Yesterday I went to Target for a few last minute items for the Christmas menu. I needed evaporated milk for the pumpkin pie, Red Hots or similar cinnamon candy for the cinnamon apples, apples for the cinnamon apples and a pineapple for the Williamsburg centerpiece. Neal is making us Spinach Madeline this year, and I suspected he needed a few other items, but when I left he was taking a bath and I knew from days of old that he could be asleep in the tub for half an hour or so before he emerged.
Cell phones are lovely. By the time I bought a gift certificate at Office Depot and a few toys at the pet store, I figured Neal would be out and coherent, so I called from Target to ask what he needed. He needed chopped frozen spinach, shredded cheese and evaporated milk, and celery and garlic salts but John was checking to see if we had those. Could he call me back?
I picked up an 8 ounce brick of sharp cheddar and was heading to the front of the store when the phone rang. We had the celery and garlic salts at home, but he needed 2 cups of the shredded cheese. I told him I had bought 8 ounces, and that with what we had at home should be enough to shred into 2 cups. “Mom, he said with infinite patience, “They make bags of cheese that is already shredded. I need one of those.” I tried to explain how easy it is to shred cheese, but he was adamant.
“Okay”, I said, “I am walking back 7 aisles to the back of the store to swap the cheese in for the shredded kind.”
“That’s good,” he replied. “People need to walk more. Now that your foot is better, you need the exercise. You should thank me for this.”
I keep hearing from my younger internet buddies that they have parents who still keep those adult children under their thumbs. Are there classes you can take to learn to exercise that kind of power? Just asking, no reason.
“Do you want three blend cheese, sharp cheddar, mild cheddar?” We settled on sharp, and I went back to my pursuit of evaporated milk, which we both needed. In the process, I passed the aisle with the gin, which I needed, but I can’t drink these days. It interferes with my medication.
We discuss how chopped the chopped spinach needs to be, and I bypass “cut leaf” in favor of old-timey boxes that clearly say “chopped”. (To be fair, my son is a southpaw in a world of right-handed knives and that may contribute to his dislike for shredding, chopping and otherwise prepping food himself. On the other hand, cheese graters are ambidextrous.)
“Love you,” he said before hanging up. “Love you, too” I replied, adding “a little less at the moment than when you are across the ocean”, but only after he had hung up.
“If I were evaporated milk, where would I be?" I mused out loud, then answered myself, “On a beach in Cancun, sunning myself.” I found the evaporated milk. They had two kinds, name brand and house brand, but the only house brand kind they had was fat free. I’m making a fricking pumpkin pie, who would I be fooling with fat free evaporated milk? I think I asked myself that out loud, too.
I cruised the candy aisle twice, but no Red Hots. Their were cinnamon gummy bears, which I bought because I love cinnamon gummy bears, but they won’t melt correctly. Fortunately, there is such a thing as cinnamon extract, which would work better than the Red Hots for flavoring. I can even add some to the whipped cream for the pumpkin pie. (Pumpkin pie, whipped cream, you can see why I thought non-fat evaporated milk would be silly.)
My favorite checker is there, and her line is short. I hear her telling the customer in front of me, “Target does not do the drama” at Christmas. Uh-oh. Well, she didn't make any such promises about Target's customers.
When I got home, my son looked at the picture on the front of the box of spinach and was concerned it wasn’t chopped finely enough. I tried to explain that pictures on the front of food boxes mean nothing, but he called his stepmother for consultation. She assured him that anything that said “frozen chopped spinach” was perfectly fine.
“Attention associates: We need a clean-up in aisle 6. A customer seems to have melted.”
|The Williamsburg centerpiece is the thing with the pineapple on top.