Okay, so I have this kid who gets these ideas into her head about cooking. Specifically, that she wants to cook something, and then she will ask me OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER again to make it. Because she’s four.
This is a month of birthdays here at The House of Peevish. Stinkerbelle’s Grammy and Grandad both have birthdays this month, and I have a birthday coming shortly. This, combined with making some cookies last week as a practice run for the holidays, has driven That Girl into an OMG LETS BAKE SOMETHING frenzy. Usually cupcakes, because she is ALL ABOUT THE CUPCAKES, but the emphasis was on the LET’S BAKE part. Also, with some WITH THE MIXER thrown in because she loves the mixer.
Sometime late last week, I think after grocery shopping, we were in the car, and Stinkerbelle started asking to bake. She said, from the depths of the back seat, “Mom, you should make a pie.” Randomly. Apropos of nothing, because a) I don’t often make pies, like, AT ALL, and 2) she doesn’t actually eat pie. So why she thought about pie that second, I don’t know. But she did. And for days afterwards was all MOM MOM MOM PIE PIE PIE PIE MOM PIE PIE PIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIE.
I didn’t make pie.
But then, she shifted from The Pie, and moved back to just generally baking. Something. And I guess today at school, when they began a unit on Christmas, and started talking about Santa and the reindeer and leaving cookies out for Santa, and the school’s Breakfast with Santa event… well, she kicked the whole baking thing into high gear.
Now, we’re trying very hard to keep our spending at the grocery store down to a tighter budget in the weeks leading up to Christmas, so we have some extra cash for the holidays. So the ingredients for baking are generally pretty thin. But, in an effort to — pardon me, any judgy parents out there, but — SHUT HER THE HELL UP, I decided to try to find something, anything, for us to make together.
(Also, it’s a good exercise for her, developmentally. It lets us work on following directions, structuring and order, and some fine motor skills. So, you know, it could be said that I am doing it for those reasons too. NAH.)
The truth was, though, there was very little in the pantry that would be easy to pull together. And then I found a bag of marshmallows. And some rice krispies. BINGO. Something easy and quick to get the Cooking Monkey off my back.
If I am COMPLETELY honest, the marshmallows were a little past their best before date. And really, they are marshmallows. They’re still soft and squishy and white? THEY’RE FINE.
The rice krispies, however? TOTALLY NOT EXPIRED. Although, the box has been open for, what, MONTHS. So, possibly a little stale. I didn’t bother to check though because, dude. It’s rice krispies. In rice krispie squares. How bad could it possibly be?
Also, in the interest of speed, and also to keep That Girl away from a hot pot on the stove, I opted for the microwave method. Which seemed quick and easy, and allowed for her to stir throughout the process without getting too close to anything too hot.
SOUNDS PERFECT, RIGHT? Well, there were a number of flaws in my plan.
For example, when I say “stir”, what I really mean is “flail about a little bit until one gets bored and/or distracted by Sesame Street“.
Also, when I say I used the microwave, I learned that microwave cooking sometimes lacks the staying warm power of something cooked on the stove in a metal pot. And also, as anyone who has microwaved things like bread before can attest, sometimes things heated and then cooled in the microwave can get a little… spongier… than they originally were. Or maybe that was the age of the marshmallows talking.
And when I noted that the rice krispies might be a little stale…
Well, since Stinkerbelle had forfeited the job, it took all my strength to stir up the mess of cereal and marshmallows and get it into a pan, because of the rapidly cooling nature of just-microwaved stuff. And once I got it into the pan, where it was Stinkerbelle’s job to pat it out flat with a spatula, she gave it a few token SMACKS with the spatula and then buggered off to see whatever Kermit was up to. And it was up to me to finish the job.
I let it “cool” — HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA — for a couple of hours on the countertop. I poked it occasionally, where I noticed that it was still decidedly sproingy. Not as firm as I remembered rice krispie squares should eventually become.
I cut some squares out after dinner. Both Stinkerbelle and BDH most emphatically passed on having one — OH MY DOG YOU LITTLE TWERP, YOU MEAN I DID THIS FOR NOTHING? — and it was left to me to Throw Myself On The Rice Krispie Squares.
Where, I have to tell you, that stale rice krispies do not have a nice crisp crunch, as the name “Krispies” would lead you to believe, but instead will make an interesting and somewhat disconcerting SQUEAK when you chew them.
So, that was nice.
So, let’s just add rice krispie squares to the ever-growing list of Ridiculously Simple Things I Cannot Make To Save My Life. Don’t even ask me about Minute Rice. Just DON’T.