Creating a Monster


Parenting Blog -- Cooking with KidsIt was a long standing assertion during my marriage that I never quite made casseroles properly. A real casserole, it seems, is cooked from a mystery list of ingredients and is always “saucier” than my version. No matter how often I tried, I was never able to replicate the various casseroles my ex-husband’s mother made legendary. I swore I wouldn’t do that to my poor future daughter-in-law.

I lied.

I make my own sweet pickle relish. It’s an amazing recipe out of the William Sonoma‘s The Art of Preserving Cook Book that takes 24 hours to soak and almost an hour more to cook and process. This homemade sweet pickle relish is to the store-bought jars what artisan-crafted smoked Gouda is to Velveeta. In other words: there is no comparison. And little did I know that by making it for my kids, I was creating a couple of monsters.

The other day, just as we were turning on the BBQ to grill up some hot dogs, we realized that we ran out of my family’s favorite new condiment: my sweet pickle relish. The news came as a shock to the kids who are accustomed to a bottomless canned goods pantry.

“Then we can’t have hot dogs,” Joseph said firmly.

“We can. I can go get a nice relish from the store,” I replied.

He scrunched up his nose. “That’s okay. I don’t need to eat a hot dog.”

And then I did it. “Do you want to hold off on the dogs for a day and let me make up some relish?”

He nodded enthusiastically. “Yes! You’re the best mama in the whole wide world.”

“I know, baby,” I replied smugly while reaching for the recipe. And then it dawned on me while I sliced and diced. My poor future daughter-in-law is going to hate me.

I guess I need to teach Joseph how to can his own relish.