My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

What Kind of Sauce are YOU?

2006-08-17

Remember how back aways I said I was a weird kid? I was. I guess. I don’t have much of a basis of comparison because we all have our private little quirks that we, not so much hide, but do not really think about in the light of day. Around other people. These quirks shape us, make us who we are (in my case: odd), but do not keep us from appearing normal to others.

Last night, during my bedtime turn with Dusty, she wanted me to play with her rather than read to her. Usually, I veto this in favor of reading and when I finish reading, she’s always begging for more. Occasionally, though, I’ll throw her a bone. It’s not like I don’t want to play with her. Not at all. It’s just that I really like laying with her and reading to her. I like giving her that feeling of being transported to another place that reading gives me. But, I also understand that sometimes, that’s not what she wants – needs – from me. So, okay.

She had her old-school Fish3r Pric3 people and the old-school pleasure cruise boat out and all the little people were out on a lake. She lined them up so that they could all take turns diving off the diving board and I remembered when I used to do something similar with condiments.

You read that right: condiments.

I grew up in a house built about 1906. In a neighborhood where houses looked similar to this one.There wasn’t much in the way of storage space. No pantries, not enough cabinets. The kitchen was old, outdated, and cramped. So my parents put a large metal cabinet in the downstairs half-bath to store food and condiments and spices, etc. There’s a different cabinet – a 1930’s style hutch – in there now but still a few of the items (cornstarch, anyone?)stored within date back to my childhood. No lie. I think I’ve mentioned that my mother is a residential hoarder? Yeah.

I was not a highly-supervised child. For those of you from my era, I doubt you were either. I mean, it just wasn’t really the done thing back then. More likely our parents said, “Go outside and play! Get out of the house!” and we’d be off, running down the alleys that ran behind our houses, trashpicking treasures out of the metal trash cans left by residents for the trash men to pick up.

And while I did spend a lot of time outside, when I was inside, I had a houseful of crap to keep me company. I was never bored. There were either art books to look at or...condiments to line up. I’d play a game where they were lining up (sometimes by height, sometimes by material – glass, cardboard or plastic, sometimes by color or use) at school to go to assembly. Or lining up to dance in a chorus line. Or just lining up to make a pattern. Didn’t really matter since there wasn’t any purpose to this play other than experimentation with objects and their relation to each other.

I could do this for upward of an hour if left alone. Usually, though, my mother would seek me out. Either someone needed the bathroom (for its intended purpose) or needed to run a load of laundry (did I mention that the washer was also housed in this bathroom? This is what I put the food jars on.) or needed one of MY food items for a meal in progress. My mother was a “gourmet cook” – she'd won Pillsbury Bakeoffs and taught cooking classes. Our stove was a cookoff prize. As was the Cuisinart mixer. So there were lots and lots of herbs, spices, bottles of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, three kinds of vinegar, cooking wines, on and on. I had lots to play with.

Now, though, I have a kitchen with enough cabinet space to house my condiments. Nobody plays with them. The kids are relegated to playing, for the most part (we usually recycle the empty spice boxes for the play kitchen or sandbox), with actual toys.

A shame, really. I enjoyed my little world where the Worcestershire sauce thought he was better than Soy sauce because he was English, not Chinese. But the Soy sauce would gang up on the ketchup and mustard because they were just too pedestrian for words. The spices in glass jars always snickered at the herbs in small metal boxes. The jars were in 5th grade and the boxes were always kindergarteners who would cry if they fell and spilt.

Like I said, I was a weird kid. Thank goodness.

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11:25 a.m. ::
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