“I cook with wine; sometimes I even add it to the food!” ~W.C. Fields
Cindy’s been as busy as a one-legged man in a rear-end kicking contest ever since before Thanksgiving doing all kinds of cooking, cleaning, gift buying, wrapping, etc. I would have helped her out during those nerve wracking times but I know it pleases her so to do all these things herself. Of course, she has another explanation on why I haven’t been helping out, but it’s just too preposterous for me to put down in this paper.
Anyway, one day last week Cindy was in a bind.
Her good buddy, Alicia Arnold, at Springfield State Bank was retiring after 36 years of service. Cindy works with her and the rest of the gang out at the bank branch on Bardstown Road.
Craig Arnold was having a little get-together of the branch staff out at his house on the day before Alicia’s last day of work. About the same time another of Cindy’s good buddies, Stacy Hall, gave her a call. Stacy, who’s like my son’s second mother, wanted to have one of their infrequent girls’ night out. Cindy also needed to make a dessert for Alicia’s last day that evening.
She did not have time to make her famous fluffy dirt pudding dessert before she was supposed to meet up with Stacy. I generously stepped in and offered up my services.
Cindy held her sides as she laughed and tears rolled down her face while saying, “Stop, stop, don’t make me laugh like this. You’re killing me. You can’t cook. You consider heating a hot dog up in the microwave as cooking. You think a hot meal is peanut butter on toast.”
That got my dander up and I said, “That’s a gross exaggeration. You wound me woman. But I will have to say that if it’s hot and its food, then it is a hot meal. No court in the land would disagree with me. Now give me the recipe and get out of here.”
Reluctantly, she gave me her treasured recipe for dirt pudding and left with a skeptical look in her eye.
Belle’s my nine-year-old daughter and loves to help her mother in the kitchen, so I drafted her assistance. I used my vast intellectual skills carefully-honed at the finest schools in Kentucky, which will remain nameless due to threats of lawsuits, to quickly scope out the vital details of the recipe.
“Lets see, dirt pudding is made up of blender crushed Oreo cookies, butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, instant French vanilla pudding, and Cool Whip.”
I then laughed my “mad scientist in the laboratory laugh” at the simplicity of the recipe, “HA HA HA HA!”
Belle then said, “Daddy, I don’t like it when you start laughing like that.”
“Never mind Belle. Let’s get to work.”
We proceeded to skillfully measure out every ingredient with careful precision and then properly mix them to the letter of the recipe.
“This is so easy, Belle. I can’t believe momma didn’t trust me.”
Then we combined the mixture and it was done. The light and fluffy dirt pudding came out with the texture of what culinary experts would technically describe as a concrete block.
Belle looked down at it and said, “It doesn’t look right.”
“It has to be right. Try it out.”
“Don’t want to.”
“I said try it out.”
“You try it out.”
“You’re the expert on dirt pudding, so you try it out.”
“I’ll give you a dollar.”
“OK, but I want it now.”
Good old Belle. A dollar’s a dollar to Belle.
Belle took a taste and made a funny look.
“It doesn’t taste right.”
This obviously called for a second opinion.
“Hey, Will! Come in here and try out the dirt pudding. Belle says it doesn’t taste right.”
Will came in, took one look at it and said, “How much did Belle get for tasting it, because whatever she got I want double.”
So, in my best fatherly demeanor I said, “Shut-up and taste it.”
Will said, “It doesn’t taste like momma’s but I guess it’s all right.”
“You want some more?”
“Good enough,” I thought.
If the boy with the Hefty garbage bag for a stomach didn’t fall over sideways, then its good enough for human consumption.
Belle then said, “Something’s wrong with it and I’m telling momma.”
“Don’t you tell momma anything! You keep quiet. She’ll stay up all night remaking the pudding if she thinks it’s not right when she comes back, and she needs her rest.”
“I want another dollar.”
Cindy took the pudding into work.
An embarrassed Cindy brought it back after work with nine tenths of it uneaten and a spoon broke off in the middle of it. Four days later and Craig Arnold says he still feels like he’s carrying a brick around in his lower stomach.
Cindy asked me that evening, “What in the world did you put in that pudding? It was nothing like my dirt pudding.”
“Belle said it tasted OK.”
“I did not. I told you it wasn’t right.”
“Give me my two dollars back! I swear Cindy I put in everything. I put in the Oreo cookies, butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, instant french vanilla pudding, and Cool Whip just as it called for.”
“How much milk did you put it?”
“You didn’t put in any milk?!?”
“It called for 3 1/2 cups of milk!”
“You poisoned Alicia on her last day of work!.”
So, I end this column by saying to Alicia that I wish you the best in your well-deserved retirement, and I promise to remake the dirt pudding for you in the near future.
Now, if I can just get back my two dollars from Belle to buy the ingredients.