Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Today was so snowy and bone-chillingly cold that Chris came home early. I put on a pot of decaf for a little warming four o'clock break for Caro and me, and made Chris a big mug of cocoa with a handful of little marshmallows bobbing atop. He stirred, ate a few with his spoon, and as he always does, asked, "Remember the time . . ." And we all laughed.

Several years ago, I had bought some of those pastel flower-shaped marshmallows for the older granddaughters' Easter box, since they wouldn't be here that year. They were pretty little things, pale pink ruffly "petals" around a creamy yellow center circle. They even had little center dots---to represent stamen, I suppose, and they tasted just like regular marshmallows---one of those "cute" things the candymakers burst forth with all the time.

So I thought they might be pretty on the sweet potato casserole for Easter lunch.

A few nights before the holiday, we shared a baked sweet potato, taken out of the shell and mashed with brown sugar/butter/vanilla, then topped with a few of the marshmallows and baked in a little gratin dish.

Glad I made them for an early trial---they were AWFUL. They lay atop the creamy potato mixture in the heat of the oven, gently spreading a bit as they softened. Next peek in the door revealed blobs of pink goo, with clops of yellow bubbling in the center, bits of browned marshmallow appearing as it crisped a bit.

I said "Oh, Well, they'll taste OK," and set them aside for a few minutes while serving up the dinner. The scoop of the spoon down through the potatoes disarranged all the colors, spreading a strange rainbow amongst the deep rust/orange, and when served upon the plate, the stuff was NOT attractive. Chris looked at his plate, said a few complimentary words about the chicken livers and other dishes, then said, "What is THAT?"

I told him, and asked "What did you think it was?"

He said the first and only uncomplimentary thing about my cooking that he's EVER said in all our twenty-some-odd years: "Looks like a doll died in a pile of poop."

I took a look, and we both fell out laughing. There was the little ruffly petal-bonnet surrounding a small pale face, with strands and streamers of pink circled all through, little speckles of burnt sugar, and the contrast to the deep gold potatoes---well, it was just too much.

THEN, he capped it all by saying of the browned bits, "I can see its little eyes!"


Kim Shook said...

Rachel, I did the same thing, except they were little Christmas trees. And I didn't do a trial run. My littlest niece has the job of topping the sweet potatoes every year and I thought she'd like them. She did, but was dismayed at what the broiler did to them. Bizarre! Loved Chris' "I can see its little eyes!"


racheld said...

Green food, good. Browned food, yummy. But BROWNED GREEN food---except for roasted broccoli and those wonderful stir-fried green beans---not so appetizing.