Thursday, May 21, 2009

And a bowl full of mush.

It seemed for a while like I was the only Mommy on the continent who didn't have the book Goodnight Moon to read to her child every night at bedtime. Hence, when I saw it at Barnes & Noble several months ago (when I was actually there shopping for a birthday present for my dad, but just had to wander over to the kids section), I snagged it, plus a book of nursery rhymes with a velvety spine. "For his birthday." His birthday came and went and I forgot I'd bought the books and put them back, so instead, they became Easter presents. He already had a couple of books that were his bedtime staples - Curious George Rides a Bike, The Very Busy Spider - so Goodnight Moon took a while to work itself into his rotation. Actually, I think I just snuck it in one night when he refused to decide on a book. "If you don't choose, Mommy will choose." Mommy chose something different, because Mommy was tired of George and Spider.

It's still not one of his favorites, really - those are George, Spider, The Little Engine that Could (or "train book") and Mother Goose for Babies ("mudder doose") - but it sneaks in a few nights a week if he's just not quite ready to sleep yet after we read one of the other main books. His favorite part is the kittens; I explained one night that a kitten is a baby cat, so when we get to "Goodnight kittens," he says, "Goodnight baby dats." He also likes "Goodnight nobody." Go figure. And a few nights ago I was especially proud of him when he pointed to the picture of the phone, which does not have its own "good night" in the book, and said "Goodnight moh." Moh is phone. He speaks toddler, work with me here.

The part I am actually intending to get to is this: "And a comb, and a brush, and a bowl full of mush."


When I was a kid, Mom worked a lot and didn't cook often, so the meals that I do remember having with her - especially the ritual meals, like the time period where every Sunday we'd get 3 orders of biscuits and gravy from Hardee's and split them between the two of us - ring a special happy-childhood bell for me. As I've grown up, I've discovered that two of my favorite mom-breakfast foods were apparently pretty uncommon. One was rice - cooked rice, flattened on the top rather than lumpy, with enough evaporated milk poured over it to juuuust reach the top, and a sprinkling of sugar on top of that, then you stir it all up to mix in the sugar, and flatten it back out again, because that's just how it's done. The other was cornmeal mush, eaten about the same way, only I usually skipped the milk on that and just stirred in a little sugar.

Since reading Goodnight Moon with Raiden more often, I have started craving "a bowl full of mush." So finally, the other morning, I called my mom. "Mom, I'm sorry to bother you at school, but I have a very important question." "I'm not at school yet," she said, "what's going on?" "How do you make cornmeal mush?"

She laughed, and then hemmed and hawed because, apparently, it's one of those things that isn't really measured - she just tosses it all into a pot until it looks right and cooks it until it looks right cooked. The recipe I got from her was:
- A cup or two of water
- Three or four soup spoons of corn meal
- Oh, and salt it, not much, just like you would macaroni

Cook it on high until it boils, then turn it down low and let it cook until it looks done.
Amazingly, that recipe was pretty accurate. Though as it turned out, it would've taken longer to cook than I had time before work, so instead, it was my dinner that night. Rich looked at me like I was crazy, and asked if that's even good for you. Probably not, but he's the one who introduced me to biscuits and chocolate gravy, and I don't think that's good for you, either.

Anyway, I'd made a little extra, too, so I'd have leftovers to use for fried mush.

Yep, fried mush. Am I the only one who's heard of any of this? It doesn't matter, the fried mush didn't turn out quite right, anyway. Not crispy enough. I'll have to ask Mom on that one, too.

The mush tasted so good to me that night, though, that I've also had it for breakfast the past 2 mornings, tossing it all together on the stove as I'm getting ready for work, then dumping it into a bowl, rushing out the door, and eating it when I get to work. 

I'm sure this odd craving will get out of my system soon, but everytime I read, "And a comb, and a brush, and a bowl full of mush," especially now that I've reminded my mouth how it tastes, it just sounds so good. And every time, it has been, except I think it would taste better if I were eating it with my mom.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Big kid swing.

I intend to fully catch up at some point, but right now I really need to say:

Where on earth did this large child come from and what did he do with my little baby?!