Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Is Jello really a food?

I am posting again. Things are a bit scary at work and I need an outlet. I mean scary like 'the economy is scary', not like 'the people are scary'. The people at work can be scary, but I adjusted to that long ago. I can adjust to almost anything as long as the paycheck still comes. Once that paycheck thing stops happening, everything feels scary.
Mom (or grandma if you're my kid) has been babysitting for the past two weeks and I love it. She really is far more talented in the domestic department than I am. She cares about her meals and cooks like she means it. I cook to avoid the loud complaining from Hubby and the kids after several days of no meals. I am of German Lutheran heritage and it is reflected in my mother's cooking (not mine). Meals have a meat and a potato and a vegetable and, if you're feeling fancy, a jello mold. I don't know why German Lutherans emphasize potatoes and jello in their cooking because I don't think either is a health food, yet the jello molds and potato salads are a presence at every potluck. Manther (she's almost 4 now) hasn't seen a lot of jello molds and seemed very enthusiastic when Grandma made one. It was a very pretty orange in a white bowl and had carefully suspended mandarin oranges. Grandma put is outside to finish 'setting' and Manther added a little snow for garnish. Grandma carefully removed the snow and issued a gentle reprimand. I came home from work about this time and thanked mom and sent her on her way home. I was nursing Scoots (my 3 month old) and relaxing and I felt an unnatural quiet in the house. I walked into the kitchen and found the jello mold dismantled and assembled into a sort of orange stonehenge on the kitchen table. Mandarin orange slices were scattered in front of the orange monuments and I began to piece together that they were the 'people' and the monuments their 'houses'. I launched into the 'food is not a toy' lecture and noticed confusion on Manther's face. "But, this is Jello," she replied. I started to explain that Jello is food, but I realized I'm not convinced of that truth. So, I switched gears to 'let's not hurt Grandma's feelings by breaking her pretty things' and scooped the jello back into the bowl.

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