Christmas was coming and our ten-year old son Billy was all agog. “Are we going to get a tree pretty soon?” he asked.
“Yes, maybe we’ll all go to the Moraga Tree Farm this weekend,” I replied as he ate his breakfast. “Today I have to go grocery shopping. What kind of cereal do you want?”
“I think I’d like Cheerios. And could you get some fruit roll-ups and some juice boxes? Oh, and eggnog should be in the store now. Yum!” He always got excited when I went to Lucky’s, and he usually had a number of requests.
So he and his twelve-year old brother Johnny went off to school, and I headed to the supermarket. I often looked for new things that I thought he and Johnny might like. Today was no different. For the past few Christmases I’d bought Billy Lady Lee eggnog, but today they had Borden’s, as well. That brand brought back warm childhood memories, so I thought I’d let him in on my nostalgic thrill and buy a half gallon for him to enjoy. Wait till he tastes this. Good bye, Lady Lee! I mused.
I returned home and unloaded the bags. When the boys walked through the door a few hours later, Billy began checking out the cupboards and fridge to see if I’d gotten everything he’d requested. As I had thought, he was happy to see the Borden’s eggnog, and got himself a large glass to test it out. As he began pouring, he let out a squeal,” Ooh! Mom! This eggnog has gone bad! Look how thick and lumpy it is!”
“I can’t believe that! Borden’s has such a fine reputation!” I responded. “Let me see it.”
But before I had a chance to look, Billy was reading the carton and yelled, ”Mom, this isn’t eggnog drink—it’s eggnog pancake batter!”
“Oops! I’m sorry. I guess I should have looked more carefully at the carton. Well, I’ll be back at Lucky’s soon, and I’ll get you some Lady Lee’s then. Maybe this weekend I’ll make pancakes with the Borden’s.”
When Saturday rolled around, I decided to make the pancakes. As I was taking the carton out of the refrigerator, I noticed that it was very light in weight. I started to make a remark, when my husband John entered the kitchen. He spied the carton in my hand and asked, ”Can we throw that stuff out? I’ve had three big glasses of it this week and I don’t think I could stomach another one. I think it’s gone bad.”
Billy heard this, and before I could say anything, he shouted,”Dad! You’ve been drinking pancake batter all week! Didn’t you notice how thick and lumpy it is?”
Sheepishly, his father tried to defend himself by replying, “Well, I thought it was just on the verge of spoiling and didn’t want to waste it.” He was always the thrifty one.
At that point, the two boys and I had a good laugh. We kidded him about that for years after. Whenever he’d say something tasted good or bad, we’d remind him that we couldn’t rely on the opinion of someone who could drink three large glasses of pancake batter and not know it. When he and I went wine-tasting, I asked him how the wine’s bouquet compared to pancake batter. Eventually, he even started mocking himself when we’d go to restaurants with friends. Someone would ask him how his food tasted, and he’d say, “Great! But don’t take my word for it, because I can drink pancake batter.”
Actually, this trait has come in very handy at times when I’ve screwed up the dinner. He never knows the difference. It works for me.