Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


The other day, I had to pull out the big guns. The high drama had begun and something had to be done. Lambchop #1 was having a fit, and anyone with a five-year-old knows that nothing gets rid of a good fit better than a great poop story. And, I just happen to have one in my repertoire of childhood mishaps, blunders and general embarrassments (incidentally, the cookie picture above has absolutely nothing to do with the poop story).

So, should I start with the poop story or the cookie? It's a hard decision to make. On the one hand, I'll gross you out after having talked about a delicious food item. On the other hand, I'll make you never want to eat one, because all you'll be thinking of the whole time you read about the cookie is the poop I disgust (hee hee - I mean discussed) earlier. Tough one. Maybe I shouldn't be talking about these two items in the same post. But, hey, that's the way the cookie crumbles some times. I guess I'll go with option number one and start with the nasty and end with the tasty.

The following is the story that instantly came to mind when my eldest child was having a crying fit (the reason for the crying fit was completely unrelated to the subject matter you are about to read):

I must have been about 9 years old at the time of "the incident." Not a care in the world, unless of course you consider crippling discomfort caused by my starting puberty a little earlier than the other girls to be a care. On second thought, let's say "not a responsibility in the world" instead. That works pretty well. We had been sent out to recess. I was actually allowed to go out, despite the fact that I frequently spent recess indoors writing fun phrases like "I will not talk in class." over and over again (I know, in reading my verbose prose, you have trouble believing I could ever have been punished for talking too much.).

Many of the kids were playing chase. I joined in and ran until I was flush in the face and needed a break. Then, I stepped backward out of the game area until I felt the cold, red brick of the school building against my back. Slowly, I slid down the wall until I was seated. Several moments later, I noticed the distinct odor of dog poo. I looked around, not yet in a panic. No sign of the offending odor-causer. Surely, it was my imagination. It wasn't until the bell rang, signaling the end of recess, that I realized what I had done. I don't think there's any suspense here. You know why I could smell but not see the poop.

Naturally, I was horrified. Not only was my backside covered in a not-so-appetizing-substance, but I also had to make my way back to the classroom with said not-so-appetizing-substance slathered across the seat of my pants - for all to see (or smell, as the case may be). Come to think of it, horrified doesn't quite describe what I felt at the moment. The time it took me to make it over to my teacher to sob out my story is a blur. I cannot even really tell you how I was able to get to her. Was I discrete? Did I run screaming? I don't recall. What is very clear in my mind, however, is the time I spent in the chair-desk in the hallway across from my classroom, awaiting the arrival of my mother with a new pair of pants. As opposed to allowing me to marinate in the dog poop, I was given a jean jacket from the lost-and-found bin to use like a wrap skirt until my mother arrived. So, there I sat, eyes wet with tears, wearing someone's cast-off outerwear. Once again, I spent my time separated from the other children. Not to write out 100 sentences meant to teach me better control of my mouth, but to spare me the humiliation of being seen in my make-shift skirt with the lingering odor of doggie doo floating in the air around me.

Dry your tears. I know you're crying for that sad girl of yesteryear. Go ahead, get a Kleenex and wipe your eyes. Blow your nose a little. Make that loud horn noise if you need to. Oh, and stop the laughing and rolling around on the floor while you're at it. Yes, I can take you laughing at my expense. Why not? My very own flesh and blood - the fruit of my loins - does it. Why shouldn't you?

There you have it. One of Lambchop #1's favorite stories, which is why, in a pinch, when I really needed to stop the crying fit, this story came to mind. It just popped right up. I'm not even sure why. I've got a better poop story to tell. And, that's the one she usually gets (surely, I'll share it with you another day), but the other day, this is the one I thought of first. Just threw it right out there, prefaced by, "Have I ever told you about the time...?"

I hope you can now see why I chose to post a cookie picture. I know people generally like to see pictures with a post, but somehow going out next to the dog's house outside to snap a little shot of her "business" didn't seem appropriate. And, now, not to leave you with a bad taste in your mouth (sorry, bad choice of expressions there), I'll tell you about the cookies I made last night.

I like to make homemade snacks for the kids. All of their little friends show up to class with quite an assortment of prepackaged, chemical snacks (surely loaded with the cotton seed flour we talked about in yesterday's post). In contrast, I often ship them off in the morning with a piece of fruit. I was pleased to know they were eating well until I was told by one of the teacher's aids that some switching was going on. One day, Lambchop #1 loudly declared that she was fed up with apples (my quickie snack of choice at the time). The little boy next to her was all too happy to exchange his hydrogenated oil-laced cookies for her organic apple (yep, apples were apparently a rarity in his diet). I figure it's not going to kill her to have an occasional nasty-snack in a foil wrapper. I would like to limit it, though. So, I try to make them goodies that can proudly take on the store-bought cookies in a snacktime brawl. Problem is, I often end up eating them while the kids are at school. But, whatever. My heart is in the right place.

Yesterday's cookie recipe was the "Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Pecans and Dried Cherries" from the May/June 2005 issue of Cook's Illustrated. I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand and threw together a batch last night. One word. Tasty. And, since I can never just stick to one word (Hello. I'm the little girl stuck inside at recess writing sentences, remember?), I'll tell you a little more about them. The one in the picture is from the black-painted cookie sheet, so it's a little over-done (don't use dark cookie sheets unless you want your cookies burnt). And, it's still good. I would have to say there are a few too many cherries in the recipe. I think it could have done with a little less sugar, as well, but that's just me. Not a particularly complicated recipe, and the taste is certainly worth whatever trouble is involved in making them. They appear to hold up nicely, too. So, they shouldn't crumble even when only wrapped in cellophane (yeah, I know, that's not very eco-friendly - nobody's perfect. Any suggestions for eco-friendly packaging of school snacks?).

Oh, and there's a moral to this story:

If you think your children are faithfully eating the exotic, vegan meal you send them off to school with, well... you can go on believing that, I guess.

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