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Fruitcake anyone?

So apparently we do need to know fractions.
See when it comes to me and math, I sort of assumed after elementary school, it wouldn’t be necessary because I was never going to cook anything that required a measuring cup and watches with calculators were being sold at Sears. One of the many things that drew me to my husband was his rapid-fire response to my rhetorical question of "how many ounces are there in a pound?" (16, by the way) and I stood there stunned! I didn’t really think there was an answer to that question. If I needed to double a recipe, I didn’t do the math to figure out that 1/4 +1/4 = 1/2. I just used the 1/4-cup twice. Seemed reasonable and I made it all the way to my 30s without too much struggle or strife.
And today I am baking cookies because it is what you do this time of year. I got the sugar cookies ready for the kids to cut out shapes and decorate. Every year I have the same vision of my children making cookies and laughing and smiling and building holiday memories that they will one day pass on to their own children. My vision rarely includes flour being thrown at one another, a sword fight with the spatulas or me yelling at them to stop making anatomically correct snowmen (or women), or eventually ending with me begging them to go outside so I can take an Aspirin.
I decide to call my sweet 70-something-year-old mom to have a nostalgic moment and relive Christmas past and am abruptly informed that she doesn’t want to talk to me. She wants to talk to her grandchildren. But mom, it’s my birthday. She reminds me that I am not 12 years old and to please go get the kids. She asks why do I have to live so far away? Why did I have to take her favorite grandchildren (she seemingly has forgotten her other favorite grandchildren that live around the block) to another state and how she never gets to see them, etc, etc. I don’t hear most of this because I am yelling in the backyard for my kids to come and talk to grandma. She tells them it is ok to make snowmen (and women) "parts" as long as the kids remember to make clothes too. And I can hear her giggling like she is one of them. They tell her that I am trying to make cookies. More giggling.
The little traitors! At that point I tell them they have to get off the phone. My cell phone battery is about to die or be thrown across the room. I am not sure which yet. I am now wondering if I can ship my mom a fruitcake before Christmas.
I go back to the mountain of utensils and ingredients spread out all over the kitchen. What was I thinking? With a sigh I attack the "almond roca" recipe. Oh no. I accidentally put too much sugar and butter in to boil. I put A THIRD too much. What the heck does that mean?! How do I measure the chocolate now? The room starts to spin and my palms start to sweat. Where is the Sears calculator watch now? The chocolate is packaged in ounces and I need a cup plus some more. Do I have to subtract the chocolate that I ate? No I have to add that, right? Meanwhile the butter and sugar are definitely at a rolling boil, as was suggested by the directions. How long should it roll? I have just decided that I hate non-specific directions on recipes handed down from family members. Think. Think. Oh forget it, just dump it on the sheet and throw on chocolate until it looks right. I mean how bad can chocolate, butter and sugar ever really be?
Well, guess what? It’s not bad! I would send you the recipe except I don’t know what I did exactly, but it involved about a third more of everything. The kids are licking the bowl and the spatula of what is left of the chocolate. They are laughing and have smears all over their faces. My son just said that my cookies are the best he’s ever had. My children are off school for Christmas break and it will be another year or so until they will learn fractions in some future math class. When it comes along, I apparently still won’t be ready.

The undomesticated
Ennis, Texas

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Posted by on Dec 24 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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