These father--daughter Fridays now have a steady refrain: "Pud-ding! Pud-ding!"
Whenever my mother went to one of her AAUW meetings, back when we lived in Pennsylvania, my father made the chocolate pudding -- the My-T-Fine band -- you cook slowly, then refrigerate. We had to wait for it to gel. Then, right before bed, we had it. With Cool-Whip. And not the newfangled, cream-esque kind of Cool-Whip either, but the sort that tastes delightfully inorganic.
A few months ago, I had the inspiration to reproduce this fondly remembered ritual with Skylar. Now the two of us look forward to the opportunity to cook pudding together -- though we've been using Jell-o brand, since My-T-Fine is mighty hard to find -- and Kim enjoys the prospect of coming home from her night out to her own cup of rich chocolatey goodness.
Tonight, however, things went somewhat awry. We were running late after a trip to TJ's and I started the pudding with Skylar while dinner was still on the stove. Because I wasn't totally focused on the task at hand, I accidentally doubled the milk -- six cups instead of three -- and almost let it boil over onto the stove-top. Luckily, Skylar saw it coming and warned me. The pudding couldn't be salvaged, though, so we had to repeat the process.
At least Skylar got a lesson in multiplication.
After the second batch of pudding was chilling in the refrigerator, Skylar and I sat down to eat.
Now, like many kids her age, Skylar strives hard to keep the foods she eats separate. She'll eat broccoli, chicken, and cous-cous, but G-d help you if you mix them together.
When we were making the pudding, I had shown her the dish I was preparing.
It was a fast meal of TJ's items, added in stages. First an onion and a package of frozen bell pepper slices. Then cubed Kosher chicken breasts. Then white wine and a little chili powder (also the TJ's brand). Then a package of frozen mushrooms, the one with four different kinds. Then a mixture of teriyaki and "island" teriyaki sauces -- Skylar likes the flavor -- with some soybean miso paste thrown in for good measure. Finally, frozen organic green beans on top, with a lid over the whole shebang to steam them al dente.
Seeing my creation, Skylar expressed concern. "But it's mixed, dad. I can't eat mixed food."
I told her, in my best tough-love patriarch mode, that she had promised to start trying new foods, now that she's five and that I expected her to pick out different things to eat from the mix. She assented, grudgingly.
When it came time to eat, though, she seemed pretty happy to sample the ingredients. But what did she profess to like best? The slivered kikurage mushrooms from the TJ's package. "These are great, dad. Can we have these all the time?"