So the other day I was having a phone conversation with my son while he was at his dad’s house.
If you have teenagers, I know what you’re thinking: “What miracle occurred that you were able to get a fifteen year old boy to talk to his mother for more than fifteen seconds?” Before you hand out mother-of-the-year tiaras, I feel the need to clarify that he had some homework to do. Procrastinating by aimlessly keeping Mom on the phone is preferable to tackling a two-paragraph essay on the death penalty.
I’m always interested in the political opinions of my kids…or their opinions on ANYTHING, for that matter. If you have teens, you understand this – answers to questions requiring deep thought, critical thinking, or the location of the Very Important Thing* they JUST HAD last night usually have the answer of “I don’t KNOW, Mom!” punctuated with an exaggerated eyeroll.
* Last week, it was his ear buds. Most recently, the TV remote. It was in the freezer. ???
So, since I knew he had this assignment to complete, I asked my son what he thought of the death penalty, curious to hear the perspective of a fifteen-year-old. He did start with “I don’t KNOW” but then, surprisingly, he thought he might be in favor of it.
I asked him why.
“Because I have a sister.”
It’s a stupid assignment anyway.
Seriously. TWO paragraphs for a 10th grader to discuss the pros and cons of the death penalty and draw a logical conclusion? What? Is this being communicated in textspeak and emoticons? How on EARTH can you navigate the complexities and moral bifurcations of the death penalty in two brief paragraphs?
After ranting about this for about fifteen minutes (during which time I’m sure my son finished his “essay,” took a nap, and made a Hot Pocket), I decided to accept the challenge. So here’s my statement on the Death Penalty:
We live in a society where the deterrent of the death penalty is necessary. But I hate that we live in a society where the deterrent of the death penalty is necessary.
Anyway. My son had started snoring by that point, so we started talking about food. Because, if you’re fifteen, and a boy, and Mom doesn’t play XBox….well, that’s our Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Food.
Somehow, the conversation got me reminiscing about the food at a little breakfast shop in State College, PA, called The Waffle Shop. This breakfast/brunch local favorite was opened in the 1960’s by a dude who came over from Greece to pursue the American Dream, complete with bacon.
(Side note: If you’ve spent any time in PA, you have probably come across a diner or two. Many of those are run by Greek immigrants. Not sure why they corner the market on diner food, but you can always get a decent hot turkey sammie from a good Greek diner. Plus, baklava is never a bad answer, regardless of the question.)
So anyway – this guy was freaking brilliant. Waffles, home fries, BACON, in a college town? Money doesn’t grow on trees, it spouts from a griddle fertilized by parent-funded tuition leeches with unfortunate hangovers.
Yeah, I was there a lot.
And one of my favorite things to get there? Corn pancakes. (Which they STILL HAVE, according to the menu.)
Yes – Corn in pancakes. Trust me, it totally works!
I remarked to my son that this is one of those things that sounds weird…until you taste them. Then, much of the world starts to make a lot more sense. YUMMO.
One of the reasons I liked these so well is due to a fond childhood memory of my mom making Corn Fritters:
- Beat 2 eggs
- Stir in ½ C milk
- Sift together & beat in 1 C flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt
- Beat in 1 tsp oil
- Add 1 C drained corn
- Drop into hot deep fat and fry until brown. (Fat doesn’t have to be that deep)
- Drain and serve with syrup.
Hey, we didn’t have a lot of money, and this was a creative way to use leftover veggies, so we ate ’em. PLUS THEY WERE DELICIOUS.
It sure beat the endless salmon balls we choked down. I’ve mentioned before that Grandpa was a salmon fisherman. His hobby kept us stocked with an endless supply of canned salmon that ended up in nearly everything BUT pancakes. Salmon fritters? Once a week. “Tuna” salad? Close enough. Macaroni salad? Sure, stir some in. Chili? Well, we’ll try it once. Jell-O? Um…why are the children crying?
Back to corn. I was very pleasantly surprised to see corn fritters offered at our State Fair. I’m not supposed to eat wheat, but I did have some, anyway. I mean, sometimes, ya just gotta. And, while they weren’t as good as the ones Mom used to make (they never are, right?) they were a tasty throwback.
So I’m discussing this with my son, touting the wonderfully sweet deliciousness of corn pancakes, and he’s just not buying what I’m selling here.
Him: “Corn? Corn is not…no. It’s dinner food. Not pancake food.”
Me: “But…you just HAVE to try it! It’s SO good. Fritters, pancakes….HEY! I bet corn would be AWESOME in COOKIES! We GOTTA MAKE CORN COOKIES!” <starts dreaming of Tollhouse, Iowa-style>
Him: “Mom. No. Just stop.”
Me: “Why not?”
Him: “Because corn is, like, a vegetable.”
Me: “Now you just wait a minute. Corn TOTALLY belongs in cookies. I mean, HELLO. CANDY CORN!”
Him: “MOM. That’s candy. Not actual corn.”
Me: “Oh yeah? Go grab a bag. What’s the FIRST ingredient of Candy Corn? Hmm? Hmm? Wanna guess?”
Me: “NOPE. It’s CORN SYRUP. CORN SYRUP. WHICH IS CORN. CANDY CORN IS TOTALLY MADE OF CORN.”
Game, set, match, my friends.
My enthusiasm apparently bubbled over to my son, who was suddenly re-energized and enthused about writing down ALL his thoughts on the death penalty RIGHT NOW, and he promptly hung up.
He hates it when I’m right. 🙂