Two things happened when I said that. Franny ran upstairs, and I remembered a picture I’d taken when I visited my parents last spring.
A couple of seconds later Franny came running down. “Do you have three minutes, Mom?” And she sat down next to me with Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go!. “I read this yesterday when I was babysitting. When you said ‘slump’ I thought of it right away.”
I’m not sure how pleased I should be that a book Franny read to a three-year-old struck her as possibly useful to me. But I knew better than to argue. As usual, she was right.
By halfway through the book I was hooked. Especially once we arrived in the Waiting Place. It sounded so familiar, full of people waiting for things to come and go, phones to ring, and the pot to boil.
My interest piqued, I listened a bit more carefully, waiting for some instructions. Surely on the next page Dr. Seuss would lead us away from the Waiting Place.
This was not what I expected. Though perhaps I should worry that I was thinking Dr. Seuss had all the answers.
And that picture I’d taken? On that visit I’d looked through my mother’s old recipe file. And there, in the dessert section, I found this yellowing scrap, with my name written across the front (I remember feeling quite proud of that cursive capital ‘G’ and ‘S’).
Opening it I found my first recipe. I had given it three names. The first was simply (and so descriptively) ‘Stuff’. Then I tried ‘Apple Mush’, but decided that wasn’t texturally pleasing.
Actually, I’d wanted to call it ‘Apple Slump’, but thought that sounded a bit depressing. Apparently I didn’t yet realize that ‘Apple Slum’ wasn’t exactly tempting either.
In my defense, I was barely 7 years old. I’m a little shocked by the paltry amount of sugar I added, though maybe I was balancing it with the sugar in the cookies. So clever. I think I get extra points for proofreading, having caught and crossed out the ‘h’ in sugar. I knew enough to add 4 butter (4 cubes? 4 Tablespoons?). Dessert should have butter. I think the recipe was my answer to the banana pudding on the Nilla Wafer box.
The last thing I remember about that recipe is how proud I felt when I wrote it, and presented it to Mom. Like a real cook.
And most importantly, I remember how seriously she took me and my recipe. We even made it together. I think the cookies got crushed, and perhaps the eggs omitted. In my memory, it really wasn’t that bad.
Maybe slumps don't have to be bad.
Here’s the recipe, as I wrote it:
1. Crack 2 eggs
2. 2 teaspoons of s
3. Stir 10 cookies in
4. 4 Butter
6. 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon
With its creative spellings and vague directions, if you squint you could almost think it was an early American recipe. Almost.