Saturday, October 2, 2010

Night of the Skittle Pancakes!!

I honestly don't know how it happened.  She grew up in a house where meals were cooked at multiple times each day.  I have been in the food business all my life and my wife is an excellent cook.  Molly passed by us both while we were chopping, peeling, battering, dicing, brining, roasting, sauteing, baking, and tasting.  Our trash can is not piled high with pizza boxes and styrofoam takeouts.  For 17 years she watched the process, but here she was about to go to college, and my daughter couldn't (or wouldn't) cook a thing.  So I simply asked her to plan and cook a meal for the family, once a week until she went away.  OK, I "asked" her like I "ask" my kids for anything, which is telling them to do it and expecting full and complete compliance. You've met me right?  In the house I grew up in, you had two choices for dinner, what was served or you went hungry.  Not surprisingly, my "request" was met with resistance and counter arguments.  I remember these classics, like "I'll just marry someone who cooks"  or "I'll just make enough money to hire someone to do it for me"  or the dreaded, "I will just eat Ramen, and pizza".  Now I could have backed down, but it's not my nature.  In a stubborn match I will win, and quoting from my son Dan, "You don't negotiate with terrorists", so the edict stood  (Dan is going to be an excellent parent, because he gets it already).  Which brings us to Skittle Pancake night...

     Day 7 of the first week had arrived and I was home from a trip.  I asked Molly if she had cooked for the family while I was gone, and the answer was no, so I "suggested" tonight would be the first night then.  After the obligatory rolling of the eyes, sighs, grunts, and assorted noises meant to show her displeasure, she arose from the couch and entered the kitchen.  I gave her space, less I squash her creative thought process.  I listened to the cupboards opening and closing, pots and pans clanging, drawers opening and closing, all mixed with the constant muttering.  I can't say for sure what she was saying, but I swear I heard things like "if he thinks I will ever..." and "I'll show him".  The word stupid got muttered a few times for sure. I read my paper, and laughed recalling the same type of deals with my Father, in which I was the mutterer, and he was the smug adult watching me do all the work.  You see, that's how it's supposed to work, they teach you how to parent, and you parent the same way.  Minor variations allowed.  I gave her space and after it sounded like she had started the process (PRO-cess, for my few Canadian fans who read this blog), I sauntered in for a preview. I knew we were in trouble when there were only 2 things on the counter, pancake mix and Skittles.

I hate breakfast for dinner, and she knew this.  I think it's cheating, and doesn't qualify as actually cooking dinner.  I know more than half of you are saying...  "oh, I really like that when we have pancakes, and waffles and stuff for dinner, it's so cute..."  Quit it. It's my blog, and my story so get with the program and hate breakfast for dinner too, or the post won't be near as funny.  There yet?  I'm waiting...  You did read up top that I win stubborn contests, right?  OK, good.  To continue.....

     I couldn't say anything, because she was following the rules I had set.  She had planned the dinner and was cooking it. I now felt compelled to watch.  She dutifully mixed the batter, and poured it onto our non-stick skillet, smirking all the while.  She then liberally sprinkled Skittles into the pancakes and let them melt.  It looked like a clown ate a box of crayons and threw up on my stove, but I couldn't say anything, because she was following the rules.  After the first couple, however, they started to stick.  The sugars caramelized and then burnt, and each subsequent Skittle pancake that came off the griddle, had less and less of a pancake shape and more burnt sugars attached to them.  It looked like a clown, ate a box of crayons, threw up on my stove and then spontaneously combusted.  It took the better part of an hour to make enough to feed the family, with the spatula getting a better workout each time. The last skittle pancake that came off of my formerly non stick skillet looked more like a pile of disassembled parts of something, than a pancake, but it was now time to serve dinner.
What I should have been eating, but at breakfast and sans Skittles.

The family gathered at the table with the multicolored discs set in the middle, yet no forks moved towards them.  Dan looked around for the hidden camera.  Nolan just stared.  Char looked back at me with a look that clearly said "Do you have to be like this? Now look what we have to eat."  I started loading my plate, and did the same for the rest of the family.  I took my first bite.  I'd like to say how delicious they were, how my daughter, on her first attempt at cooking had found the perfect mix of ingredients, to make an incredible dish, but I can't.  They were as horrid as you would expect them to be.  They tasted like a clown ate a box of crayons threw up on my stove, spontaneously combusted, got cold and congealed, and then jumped into my mouth.  They went together like Yoko Ono and singing.  Forks dropped around the table, with family members either offering false compliments or exclaiming how they had forgotten how big and late a lunch they had.  I, on the other hand, finished my plate.  I then asked for seconds.  You see in a stubborn contest, I will win, no matter if they might have to pump my stomach later, or not.  I also made Molly clean the dishes after.

     So she learned a few things whether she had intended to or not.  She eventually accepted the loss graciously and even bought me a chicken wing kit for us to cook together that summer.  By the next year, she started the "Sunday Night Supper Club" on her dorm floor where each room had to cook a meal on rotation for the other rooms.  Another time, I came home to find the house full of sauteed garlic and onion smell and Molly standing at the stove.  This week, she invited me to her home in Buffalo and cooked me a delicious meal.  You have to have to have some mad skills to make Tofu taste good, and now she does.  So, ending with a lesson, like I like to do, keep the faith, they do come around eventually, even if you have to choke down a Skittle pancake or two to make your point.

     I dedicate this blog to the cast of the original TV series Wild Wild West.  It was one of my favorites growing up and I loved that the titles always started with " The Night of...", as did this blog, this time.

4 comments:

nolan said...

I stared in awe at first because I thought they would be delicious.I was TERRIBLY WRONG!

pege said...

I am going to have to get an xrzy of my ribs..I laughed so hard I think I cracked one!

timbob said...

Missed this post. Ask your Aunt from Quincy/Brockton about the hot dog pancakes. They were made out of necessity, and I told my kids, who requested them, now they LOVE them for dinner, and request them often, with Ketchup. Go figure, what I and my cousins ate out of necessity, my kids actually WANT!!!!

torcon said...

GREAT post - loved it! The key to great pancakes (with or without Skittles) is peanut butter. Slather enough of that on with maple syrup and any regurgitated-circuslike flapjack can be choked down ;-) Thanks again, awesome!