Halton Hills, Ontario, Canada
My two preschool entrepreneurs quickly agreed on the name of their
future restaurant, "Zoom Yummers.” Spurred on by the advice I
found in the parenting books—“Encourage their creativity”— what
followed were many days of recipe development.
Darren, always the equipment man, ensured that his recipes
utilized the maximum number of pots, pans, utensils and
appliances. Anything electrical and noisy had the advantage of
being able to drown out the non-stop narrations of his older
brother at the push of a button. He discovered the magic of the
slotted spoon—the perfect instrument for lifting the muffin batter
(cornflakes, raisins and BBQ sauce) out of its apple juice
marinade. Spread the batter across the muffin tin, bake in a
preheated 350°F oven until dried out or the thinner parts
Brendon, who always had an artistic flare, developed recipes with
interesting colours and textures, ones that felt good when mixed
by hand. A bottle of paprika did wonders for his otherwise bland
looking porridge (oatmeal, icing sugar and mayonnaise).
I learned early on what my roles were to be in this venture. I was
not to be the CFO. My comments on the price of pecans went
unheeded as an entire bag disappeared into the balsamic vinegar
soup. Nor was I allowed to comment on the advantages of small
amounts of certain ingredients such as peppermint extract. Darren,
who was testing the "bigger is better" philosophy, still insisted
on pouring the entire bottle into his icing. He was, in fact,
correct—I could only detect a subtle nuance of peppermint in the
final product. Maybe grinding the whole bottle of pepper into the
icing "to add speckles, Mummy!" somehow neutralized the extract.
Brendon went through an equal rights phase (pancakes: 1 cup flour,
1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup salt). I occasionally had to remind
myself what the parenting gurus preached—"Let them learn from
"Mummymummymummy I NEED some flour!" came a request from one of
the chefs standing on his chair while stirring a soggy looking
batter. One of my jobs was to fetch the hard-to-reach ingredients.
I found a long forgotten bag of Kamut flour. "This flour is from
an ancient Egyptian grain,” I explained. "Mummy what is Gipshun?"
I got out our world globe and sticky fingers soon found where we
live and the location of Egypt. A brief lesson in geography,
wildlife and literature ensued. Fingers dipped into the flour,
were licked, the chefs debated, then passed a motion that allowed
Gipshun flour. Thus an international flare to Zoom Yummers was
born with the first batch of Lyle Lyle Crocodile Cookies. I
secretly made plans to unload the rest of my aged and neglected
food-stuffs to this worthy cause.
One of my other jobs was to chauffeur the boys and their precious
dishes into town to their customer. Proudly clutching what they
had created they would run into his office exclaiming, "Dadn, we
made you LUNCH!" Dadn, relishing his role as taste tester and
customer soon learned to ask the chefs and chauffeur to join him
in eating his special meal. For some reason we were often all
surprisingly full and could only eat a small amount from each
dish. Chocolate chips, the most ubiquitous ingredient in their
recipes, came to the rescue here. We quickly learned to dig them out of the culinary delights for sampling. They had the ability to retain their taste despite the other ingredients they had had to rub
shoulders with in the cooking process.
All too soon the chefs would be back home for their afternoon
naps. While they dreamed of Zoom Yummers I searched the parenting
books for ideas on how get green food colouring out of linoleum
and cat fur.
new book "Digging for Dinosaurs"
we NEED shovels
Author’s Note: Lyle Lyle Crocodile books by Bernard Waber are
about a Nile crocodile who lives with a family in a brownstone in
New York City.