Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ah, Grasshoppa!


My Daughter is at church camp this week. I hope she gets the ‘room cleaning’ anointing. She turned 16 while riding the bus to Mississippi. That reminds me of the day she was born.

While I was pregnant with this promised child, My Husband bought a black 1950 Chevy pickup truck that we named Big Black. It was my primary source of transportation. It had a three-speed shift on the column, with reverse IF you could find it. I was so large in my waist I had to push the seat back to allow all of me and the baby belly to fit. With the seat in that position, I could hardly reach the steering wheel, which measured 2 feet across and had a lot of play. No airbag (except me), no anti-lock or power brakes, no power steering, no radio, no power windows or locks. In fact the doors wouldn’t lock, and it had no A/C; but it had a damn good heater year round because it wouldn’t turn off. Well, the shocks and suspension on those older vehicles are nothing like the ones on the newer cars so if you hit a pothole, your head would probably hit the roof of the cab. There I was nine and a half months pregnant, having contractions five minutes apart, and I’m taking my sweet time about getting dressed to go to the hospital. We packed all the gear in the family car only to find that it wouldn’t start. Plan B: My Husband drove me to the hospital in Big Black. It took twice as long to get there because we had to creep over every bump in the road. When we got to the railroad tracks, a major contraction hit me, and we had to stop until it subsided. I threatened to walk the rest of the way not because I was a sissy about the bumpy roads, but because I thought it would be faster on foot. I could have made it too. I was in great condition. I had plowed, planted, and picked a one-third acre garden with my grandmother that summer. She and I had picked and put up 2 bushels of green beans the day before I went into labor. It wasn’t a surprise to anyone when I delivered a 9 pound-1 ounce trophy with no painkiller. I must have been crazy back then. Maybe I still am.

My Daughter and I made the grasshopper cake before she left for camp. The recipe was difficult even though it had step-by-step instructions including pictures showing Betty Crocker beating egg whites, fluffing and folding egg yolks, cooling but not chilling, heating but not boiling. We never did figure out how to fold an egg yolk. I beat the whipping cream too long and it turned to butter. We successfully divided the layers horizontally with a string of sewing thread, but the icing was truly a disaster! The crème de menthe and crème de cacao had to be mixed with the whipping cream and Knox gelatin and cooled for 15 minutes. Then there was the trip to Pep Boys that took longer than expected. When we returned with a solenoid for My Son’s car, the green liquor Jello had gelled and the whipping cream was flat. We were too embarrassed to go back to the Piggly Wiggly for a fourth time so we decided to use the gelled mess anyway. When I got the third level of icing on the stack of ½ inch cake layers the whole thing started slithering off the plate. 

“Come back, grasshoppa!” I gasped. I grabbed the toothpick box and stabbed the layers together, and then slapped on the last stage of the too thin icing. The icing slid off the sides and over the edge and looked pitiful. I had some Ready-Whip in the fridge that we squirted on the empty places. I went out to the herb garden to get some fresh mint. When we came back inside the Ready-Whip had joined the rest of the icing and was in a puddle on the kitchen counter. We put on the mint, and placed it on a crystal cake stand. It was ugly, but it tasted fine. The whole ordeal took two hours and three trips to Piggly Wiggly to complete.

No comments: