It occurred to me yesterday, as I was baking muffins at 6:30 in the morning, that my children are exceedingly spoiled. I might go so far as to say that my husband is, as well. Of course, anyone who knows me would think that is probably a rich statement, coming from such a princess, but just because I am incredibly spoiled doesn’t preclude my family being so as well.
There is a difference, I think, in being spoiled and being a spoiled brat, and I will say that the latter is not the case. And, as one of my students said to me as I mentioned that my dog has become much more spoiled with age, that is on me. It’s true! It’s my fault. I don’t really think the kids are spoiled in terms of material things, not really, but they certainly are in terms of food. Hence, muffins at 6:30 in the morning, so that the kids will be able to have a delicious homemade snack when they get home from school.
Delicious homemade snacks and fresh fruit are my two must-have-at-all-time-items, which certainly explains why all my free time is spent grocery shopping and preparing food. I was just telling a friend that I have two refrigerators and one refrigerator-sized freezer, and all of those appliances are chock-full of food all the time. Doesn’t food go bad though? she asked, and no. Nothing goes bad in our house, ever, with the exception of the odd mini-cucumber. This is because we never go out to eat, and I make all our meals, and most things, from scratch.
Side note: whenever I say I make something from scratch, I think of my beloved late Grandma Fern, who used to say about cakes allegedly made from scratch, Scratch your ass and reach for the mix? Oh, Grandma. I was a little skeptical about Hedy’s spice cake at the church potluck too.
Anyway, I do make most things from scratch – no ass-scratching involved – and so now my family is so accustomed to homemade things that store-bought or restaurant items “taste weird.” This includes but is not limited to: ice cream, muffins, loaves, cookies, cakes, brownies, pasta sauce, and, strangely, hummus. It is a problem of my own making but sometimes I’d just like to buy a container of hummus from Costco without everyone wondering what’s wrong with this hummus, it tastes weird.
ICE CREAM, you guys. A few years ago my husband bought me an ice cream maker, after we were at a dinner party at which the hostess served her own homemade ice cream. One thing led to another and now I have no fewer than three flavours of homemade ice cream in the freezer at any given time. And I don’t even eat ice cream! But I digress.
I am not one to talk, though, as I recently discovered my own “it tastes weird” scenario and that is store-bought cilantro. A few years ago, as a Valentine’s gift, my husband bought me my own indoor grow lights so I can grow HERBS NOT THAT KIND OF HERBS ACTUAL FOOD HERBS. I almost exclusively grow cilantro because a) it’s easy to grow and b) no one else in my house will eat cilantro, and I hated how quickly a bunch would go bad in my refrigerator. The only thing I will accept going bad is the single mini-cucumber every two weeks. So, for the past few years I’ve grown my own cilantro, loving how I can just easily harvest the exact amount I need when I need it.
Over the summer, though, we were out of town and so I took a cilantro-planting break. I didn’t feel I’d be around enough to give my little plants love, and also I am deathly afraid of fire and wouldn’t want to leave the grow lights on lest a cilantro plant weave its way into the fluorescent lights, dry out, and suddenly burst into flames, eventually leaving the house to be a smoking hole in the ground while we were off on vacation.
My two greatest fears in life are, in this order, my husband and/or children being diagnosed with a terminal illness, and fire. I cannot even contemplate having little scented candles in the house, I will never run the dryer if I’m going to step out of the house for even five minutes, and I look nervously at the allegedly harmless little tea lights that are lit in the yoga studio. What if someone knocks it over, and the whole studio goes up in flames? I think, extremely irrationally, given that the tea light would most likely just extinguish itself before such a scenario would ever happen. I even was anxious during Christmas Eve candlelight services, although that fear I think has much more basis. I mean, some of those little kids holding actual flames? What if one of them set my hair on fire? I would think, as a teenager. Given the fact that it was the eighties, and I went through a bottle of Salon Selectives a week, this was a pretty rational fear.
When I was a kid my maternal grandparents had a lamp that rotated, and when it was lit, it looked like a forest fire. A forest fire! God help me. No wonder I’m so crazy. I was obsessed with looking at the forest fire lamp, which probably explains a lot.
Anyway! Enough about fire. Back to the cilantro story. When we returned from vacation, I replanted some seeds, but in the interim, as I waited for them to sprout their little green deliciousness, I needed my favourite stir-fry garnish and so purchased a bunch from the local Co-Op.
People. I thought I had actually bought the wrong herb. It tasted…weird. Is this parsley? Or what? I thought, then looked at the little labeled twist tie. No. It’s cilantro. It tasted weird and off and I thought it must be the bunch. I threw it out – breaking my own rules – and bought another bunch at Superstore. I looked carefully – yes, it definitely is cilantro – and when I got it home it was the same thing. I have spoiled MYSELF for regular cilantro. After growing my own I cannot go back to conventionally grown cilantro. I can’t. I won’t. No wonder my kids look askance at bakery goods and regular ice cream. IT ALL TASTES WEIRD.