Tuesday, April 26, 2005

On Being Five

Five Years Old!

Our youngest son is five today and it seems such a threshold year. He has been emerging out of toddlerhood in the past two years, long out of diapers, and able to hold his own with his 7.5 year old brother and even his 16 year old sister. When my husband and I got married almost nine years ago, an aunt said, "Wouldn't it be nice if you had two boys, about two years apart?" Well, the Fates so blessed us--they are like best friends or scrapping pound puppies depending on the day--and the Fates had also blessed me with a daughter a decade before that.

E. is our baby and he will always be my "Easy-Eye". He was the kind of baby who slept for three hours, woke and nursed heartilty, smiled and cooed a bit, and then fell back asleep for another three hours. He still smiles and coos and thrives on the routine of a well-paced day. Yet, fortunately, he is not bound by it as "Routine" and I are at constant odds.

I must now frost his cake and wrap the rest of his presents. He has requested cheeseburgers on the grill, deviled eggs and "YOUR macaroni and cheese, Mommy...NOT Annie's!" for his birthday dinner. It really is the best mac & cheese on the planet and the secret ingredient is Velveeta...although I find that Kraft makes a shredded cheese blend, "Classic", I think, that works just as well, especially when paired with the tang of the sharp cheddar (I also use whole raw milk and a pinch of dry mustard, and a hearty dash of cayenne pepper). Dinner will be served in our cozy but seldom-used breakfast room, at E's request, complete with fine dishes and silver. You are not five every day!

A white sauce for macaroni and cheese was the first thing I ever learned to cook, aside from cake mixes in my Easy Bake Oven--one of the prized toys of my childhood. It was aqua-colored, one of the first, before they went all microwave on us. Imagine, baking a cake to the heat of a lightbulb. Their cake and frosting mixes were adorable as were the miniature implements that came with the oven set. Betty Crocker mini mixes had the same boxes as Mom's right down to the logo.

I made E. a devil's food cake from the old BETTY CROCKER PICTURE COOKBOOK. I just got a first edition that belonged to a friend's mother who passed away (she was in her 90s). Surprisingly, the family didn't want the book. It is in excellent shape and even filled with recipe clippings from the 1970s. I'll let you know about the cake--it looks a bit pale in color for a chocolate cake but hopefully it will make up in flavor and "crumb".

"I like a good 'crumb'." Sounds like something George Constanza would have said on SEINFELD...maybe he did. Or was it cheek? "I like a good 'cheek'".

So, here is to my five-year old beautiful boy, E. May you have a full and happy life and a good 'crumb'.

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