The sickness came upon me quickly and silently, like a black blanket, blocking out all rays of light. Yet, I was starving, and knew that no one here could make the food “just the way I liked it,” so I proceeded with the meal on my menu, the pineapple ham, a fresh cantaloupe, and bread.
This wasn’t going to be enough; my stomach was aching for food. There were only five small red potatoes, no rice, no couscous, yet still, starch was what I craved. One of the, and actually one of the most fun, challenges of being at the lake is that you cannot just “run out to the store” to get something. You must make do with what you have. I expected to have to make a run to the store eventually, during the middle of the week. Then, I spied the bowl of lemons I had brought, and decided I could make pudding — something soothing and creamy. But with no Internet, how would I ever manage to find a recipe for lemon pudding?
Luckily, my friend, left me with two of her Gooseberry patch cookbooks, and there among all the stories about friendship was a recipe for lemon meringue pie — without the crust, I would have lemon pudding. (I made a mental note to write her a note to thank her in the syrupy style that embodies this cookbook. Something about how this lemon pudding saved me in my darkest hour.)
But with 6 people, would I have enough to stretch the pudding? I was soooo hungry. The recipe called for three eggs — I only had a dozen to last until the store run. Three eggs — that would certainly make plenty of pudding? Right? No need to double this recipe. So, the chemical process of turning starch and sugar into gel began. My legs were weak, and I wondered if I could commander this whole production to the boys, while I lay on the couch. Then, I rightly realized that would require more strength than standing here stirring.
But, never mind, I had my own sweet reward. I had the whole bottle ginger ale to myself, and I pinched my own private sips throughout the whole cooking ordeal.
So, the pudding had thickened, and low and behold, it was a paltry amount. The pudding, I realized was really intended to be “rounded out” by a crust and piles of meringue — which I was not about to make.
So now, the pudding was going to create a food fight, because everyone would want the last spoonful. The amount of pudding I made was a tease; a mere pittance at quenching my hunger.
This lousy pudding was making more work for me. Now I had to make something else sweet to quell the cries for more, and I still needed a starch. So, I settled on a can of baked beans to round out the meal (something as simple as possible), and I made a paltry effect at making a pie; A tortia shell filled with blueberries, butter, sugar and cinnamon. Not good, by the way.
The meal was made, my belly only partially satisfied, and I finally lay on the sofa while the boys cleaned up. My teenager started playing rap songs, (how did they get on my laptop, by the way?), and in my weakened state, I said, “Honey, can you please turn on something a little more soothing. I don’t feel well, and that music is getting on my nerves. (I am so middle aged.)
The little boys, who have spent the entire winter (don’t ask me how or why) driving us crazy on their Beatles kick, chimed in and said, “Yeah, how about something like Words of Wisdom. She would like that.”
“What is that?,” we all said?
“You know, ‘speaking words of wisdom…”
“Perfect,” I said.
I feel so loved.