I consider myself fairly consequent. There are times, however, when I’m caught breaking my own rules and then I realize how silly it is to make absolutes in life.
I let my son help out around the house. Some may call it cheap labor, but I would like to think of it as him learning responsibility and spending quality time with mommy. One of our favorite things to do together is cook. He has his very own ladder to get him up to counter top level and his own collection of aprons and oven mitts. When we bake, I always remind him of the ills and woes of raw eggs and that we, under no circumstance, should eat them. For that reason, I do the handling of the eggs and after he has beaten them, we wash his hands immediately and thoroughly.
One day when he was younger, my husband and I baked a marvelous Madeira cake (no Madeira involved in the ingredients, unfortunately). The creamy mixture looked so inviting that I had to dip my finger around the bowl to get the batter off. I know this gesture makes some people retch, but I always enjoyed licking the bowl as a child. I grew up in a time when salmonella poisoning was pushed to the dark recesses of the mind when it came time to do the baking. I decided that I didn’t want to deprive my son of this tradition so I saved some of the batter for him. I checked the date on the egg carton, again, to make sure that they were indeed fresh.
After naptime, I raced to get my fully rested child from the grips of the sandman. Together we bounded downstairs where my son noticed that there was a cake in the oven. He’s keen to get a piece, but it wasn’t ready yet so I offered him the next best thing… the batter. As I shoved the rubber spatula in his direction with the beige creamy substance still hanging on, he made a “what the heck is that?” face and pushed backwards. I explained to him that it was the batter from the yummy cake that we would eat later. He wanted to wait for the cake.
Smiling I said, “No, no, no, you can also have some of the batter. It’s just as good.”
He overcame himself and tried a tiny, and I do mean tiny, microscopic bit of the batter. He gave me a fake “yeah, that was good mommy,” and then ran out of the kitchen.
I couldn’t let it rest. I chased after him with the rubber spatula dangling and slinging cake batter and told him to try some more. He refused. I then made the mistake of putting it on my finger and told him he could do the same. He was appalled. My son is a bit of a clean freak. He’s usually suspicious of any food that he’s “allowed” to eat with his fingers. I finally gave up the good fight and was convinced more than ever that too much of a certain relative had made it into my son. This was all very disconcerting.
As I walked away, defeated, my son stood up and said, “I love you, mommy, but we put eggs in cake and we don’t eat raw eggs. We don’t eat cake batter, mommy. We’ll get sick from that.”
My husband smirked. I grunted and went to the kitchen to wash off the rubber spatula. When did children get so smart?