I was on the phone the other night with my mom, doing some preemptive damage control (at my father's bidding). Controlling damage for a possible situation that might happen in the near future. it's not so much different than what i do for a living, so i was happy to oblige.
the boy and i are going to visit my parents who live just north of San Francisco for a couple/few days over Christmas, so naturally the conversation with mom eventually turned to food. it pretty much always does (followed by the Very Exciting topic of weight and weight gain, which she always rolls around to at some point). in my family, we really "do it up" on Christmas Eve, with a more relaxed Christmas Day. My parents' house is where everyone always ends up on Christmas Eve; it's been that way for as far back as I can remember. since people show up randomly throughout the evening, Mom likes to serve food buffet-style, that way early people can graze and get bombed on champagne and greet late-comers with hearty cheers and glazed-over eyes. Mom likes to serve very special foods, some smuggled from France in the toe of a stocking in the bottom of her suitcase. I think she does this for two reasons: one, she likes the luxuries. and secondly (but probably most importantly), she likes to show off and have her relatives ooh and ahh and Ooh La La over it. i can't blame her. if i'd smuggled truffles and foie gras and the world's stinkiest cheese from France, i'd want that pat on the back and some recognition too, dammit.
Part of the preemptive damage control i was working on was to ensure that we spend Christmas Day at home (and not elsewhere, like, say, at an acquaintance's house an hour and a half away from where my parents live, acquaintance who is not very well liked in the family, and which would pretty much ruin Christmas as it did the last time the family was forced to go there). so i roped her into a technical discussion about the Christmas Day meal. we delved into the merits of serving a capon versus turkey, versus standing rib roast (what the boy, my dad, and i are rooting for), versus a stuffed tenderloin (she saw one in the Needless Markup catalogue and is thinking of replicating it).
Then we started talking about gifts. this is the first year that the boy and i aren't giving each other anything. honestly, we don't need anything. we have enough crap as it is. but we're getting our families some gifts. my mom announced that she wanted some pastry brushes from Williams Sonoma (who buys their pastry brushes from Williams Sonoma? are they that much better than the ones at Linens N Things? seriously? but then again, who buys their stuffed tenderloin from Neiman Marcus? WHO deserves to be smacked on the back of their head?). then she said she was going to give my brother's kids an ice cream maker for Christmas. because ice cream makers are for kids, apparently. two kids well under the age of 10.
Mom: "So you think the Cuisinart ice cream maker is a good gift for the kiddies?".
Me: "Uh yeah, i'm sure if they had guidance, and had an adult help them prepare it or watch over them, then yeah i guess it would be okay".
Mom: "What do you mean, an adult help them? I don't understand. Can't you just put everything in the machine and it automatically makes ice cream? so it's not for kiddies?"
POOF! just like magic!
Me: "Well, I have a Cuisinart ice cream maker".
Mom: "You do? but you're not a kiddie!".
i'm all about kids in the kitchen, but i think the Cuisinart ice cream maker is not an age-appropriate gift for two kids who'd rather watch The Wiggles and Tom & Jerry than stare at cream simmering on the stove. am i wrong?