Monday, May 28, 2012

One Day You Will be Old Enough to Read Fairy Tales Again


"I look for magic in the ordinary and ordinary in the magic." So says my artistic statement. And I base my work life around that. Whether I'm adapting La Cenerentola (Rossini's opera about Cinderella) or writing about teens during the Vietnam War - that statement resonates through my work. And even more through my daily life. I have a decade birthday coming up. I've always been good with "decade birthdays" but this one has thrown me. There's more vulnerability, less taking anything for granted and many glimpses back to understand now.  



Somewhere in the time-machine meanderings of my mind, I came upon these s'mores cake pops And decided they needed to come to roost on my dining room table. Never mind that there is no cake in them. Never mind that it's been a long time since I embraced s'mores. Never mind that no one at my dining table is younger than 22, this is what I would serve. The cannoli would wait. Although this is a rare occurrence, I must concede that "something cute just struck my fancy." So out of character for me - is this what the new decade-birthday is doing to me? Searching for "cute?"

I am looking back. I am wondering to trust memory. When I write for young people - am I dipping into what I remember as a child? What I wish I remember? Am I writing what I think is their world - but viewed through mine? 


Last week I commented on a blog - a blog that showed a high school commencement and the sweetness therein. The blogger replied with happiness and ...

"... sometimes I wish I could go back to shoes that light up and Winnie-the-Pooh sneakers."

Sometimes I wish that, too. But usually - I don't. Twenty years of Halloweens, road trips  and cuddling with books are little heartbeats that still make me skip and still make me ache. There is the utter sweetness of being and your second chance at glimpsing through the eyes of a child. Because when you were a child and glimpsing - it wasn't easy. And there are the playground lessons. Lesson you cannot protect them from. Lessons that you cannot kiss and put a band-aid on. Lessons you thought you let go of when you were finished with them. Lessons that hurt far more than when you were doing battle. No, I won't go back. I'll stay here and marvel at how far we've come.



I saw these on Pinterest and followed it to The Family Kitchen blog. They suited my mindset. I may have cynicism furrowed on my brows but I still must count each color in the rainbow - not to verify it - but to hold my gaze.

Buy marshmallows, heavy cream, your favorite chocolate bits and graham crackers. Target has the lollipop sticks. Put about 8 graham crackers in a food processor and pulse till you have crumbs. (Yes, you may buy the already crumbled ones.) Put crumbs in shallow dish. Mix 1/2 cup heavy cream with 2 cups of chocolate on top of a gently simmering double boiler. As cream simmers and chocolate starts to melt, remove from heat and stir till smooth.  Put lollipop stick in marshmallow, dip in chocolate mixture and then dip in graham cracker crumbs. Put on baking ban or parchment paper to set.

Behold: Cute!



You may want to halve the mixture. This may not be Italian but you do start to feel like you're feeding Sicily. This makes at least 60 - and more chocolate leftover for dipping strawberries. And even more chocolate leftover to send home with someone skinnier than you.


Nobody passed the dining room table without grabbing one. And we're talking about people with a few more decades on those 20-somethings.  I even found myself saying,

"Aren't they cute?"

While wondering who I was. But you know - they are so ordinary and so magical. They are simple + childhood.

"When I grow up, I want to be a little boy." - Joseph Heller.

Well, I don't want to be a little girl. I don't even want to go back to "if I knew then what I know now." Really, how awkward would that be?

I did not grow up with "Drama Queen," "Daddy's Little Princess" or "Pretty in Pink" bandied about so I cannot explain what I needed to make this drink.


But it is so pretty in pink, isn't it? It came my way via The Inventive Vegetarian who got it from Martha Stewart. It's rhubarb iced tea. Except it has no tea. (Kind of like my cake pops with no cake.)

It's rhubarb, water and sugar.
8 stalks rhubarb
8 cups of water
1/3 cup of sugar

Cut your clean rhubarb stalks into 3 inch pieces (make sure you discard poisonous leaves!). Simmer in 8 cups of water for one hour. Strain liquid. Add sugar - stir till dissolved. Cool. Fill glass with ice and pour "tea" into it. Garnish with mint leaf and serve. I would have added some strawberries - but I used them all dipping them into the extra chocolate.

"One day you will be old enough to read Fairy tales again." - C.S. Lewis

And so I am. And so I do. These are the perfect accompaniments to fairy tales. They are sweetness and light to defend yourself against the sometimes dark and scary places fairy tales can inhabit. I don't believe in sugar-coating fairy tales. But once in a while, I like to sugar-coat my life. Have I finally found balance?


When I was one, I had just begun.
When I was two, I was nearly new.
When I was three I was hardly me.
When I was four, I was not much more.
When I was five, I was just alive.
But now I am six and I'm as clever as clever
So I think I'll be six now and forever.
- A.A. Milne

The first poem I fell in love with. I think I was more than six. But I'm not anymore. I'm not six yet. So don't wish me a happy birthday!

41 comments:

Pegasuslegend said...

What a fabulous little treat! I love Smores with coconut! I love them will make both! Your right we do remember how far we come. I would love to go back with my knowledge now.. so much has past but I also would do it all over again... You did a great job on these with lots of love and inspiration as always you don't disappoint a great read and happy ending! xo

Barbara F. said...

These are perfect for a treat and I don't think anyone will miss the "cake".. xo

SKIP TO MALOU said...

your post is always engaging but this post is one of my favorites. i felt like i was in pigtails, prancing with these smores.
what a delightful way to celebrate a happy occasion...

WokandSpoon said...

One of my favourite poems! I don't wish I could go back but I wish I could protect my little ones from the lumps and bumps of childhood. Lovely post which made me go hunting in my kitchen for marshmallows!

Beth said...

I love your artistic statement - a great way to write, and a great way to live. And what a beautiful quote by C.S. Lewis. I have a decade birthday later this year too. They've never bothered me, and I hope this one doesn't either!

Joanne said...

This is such a wonderfully written post! I love the nostalgia and yet...the lack thereof. I would say that pretty much sums up how I feel about growing older also. I want to look back, but not GO back, if that makes sense. These s'mores pops are SO cute!

Tina Bk said...

This does make me thing of the song "forever young" and I have vowed never to have the mindset of questioning if I was too old for something. Age is a state of mind. So if you catch me watching cartoons, do not be shocked.
Usually crafty projects of food do make me feel young as well and these look to be the perfect choice for a decade birthday! Enjoy your special day!

The Mom Chef said...

I think you've struck a chord with many of us on this one. I had a big decade birthday last year. Ever since I was in my twenties, I've wondered how 'they' got my birth certificate so wrong.

In a way, I'm lucky, because I have a 5 year-old. I'm back playing with a dollhouse on the floor, coloring and watching cartoons. But, I'm also wincing at the questions of 'why does Jo-Jo say I can't be a ninja because I'm a girl,' and worse. I wouldn't really go back there for anything in the world.

Except maybe non-cake s'mores cake pops. I love them.

Vibey @ Yumbo McGillicutty said...

Such beautiful words, and ones to live by, too. Like you, I think I have also - at least almost - found balance.

Coincidentally witnessed in part by these two batches - vanilla bean and choc-mint - of homemade marshmallow sitting on my counter at the moment. I so needed Marshmallow Madness! - the book they're from, that I ordered (read: ORDERED) it from my children on Mother's Day. Not because I needed to learn how to make marshmallow, but because I needed to play. Make something completely frivolous and unnecessary, because such frivolous and unnecessary things bring necessary balance to one's life.

That choc-mint marshmallow is made with crème de menthe and the chopped-up remains of a dark Lindt Easter bunny. And if that, along with your S'mores pops, is not an object lesson in what we're talking about, I don't know what is.

Happy birthday!

Gina said...

I think it's a perfect artistic statement. The more I go forward the less I want to go back. I did get a huge kick out of buying a pretty-pretty princess game for my nieces' b-day a few weeks ago though. These marshmallows would probably get a few smiles around here. Hope you all had a relaxing weekend.
Happy Birthday,
-Gina-

Jeannie said...

Great looking dessert I would love to serve on my table too! I enjoyed this post very much, hope you have a great week ahead!

Angie's Recipes said...

Poem, dessert...this is delicious and fun post indeed.

Kimberly (Badger Girl) said...

I just don't know what I love more, your post kept getting better. I LOVE the S'mores cake pop. And the rhubarb tea. And the lovely poem.
This past weekend we had a BBQ and I had a decorate-your-own-cupcake bar. The kids liked it, but the adults loved it. imagine grown, well-grown men exclaiming, 'A cupcake bar?!!!" And then diving in with frosting and sprinkles.
Priceless.

Kimberly (Badger Girl) said...

I just don't know what I love more, your post kept getting better. I LOVE the S'mores cake pop. And the rhubarb tea. And the lovely poem.
This past weekend we had a BBQ and I had a decorate-your-own-cupcake bar. The kids liked it, but the adults loved it. imagine grown, well-grown men exclaiming, 'A cupcake bar?!!!" And then diving in with frosting and sprinkles.
Priceless.

Balvinder Ubi said...

I think I should not have to wait for that day because on some days my daughter ask me to read stories at night and she is 17. And on those days we talk a lot about her friends, school, her life in general.
You did find some good picks on pinterest.

Lizzy said...

Oh, I love this post, Claudia...I find myself getting quite sentimental with my last high school graduation this spring. Winnie the Pooh was his constant companion...in fact, we had to tuck "Winnie" in his backpack when he went off to Kindergarten...the poor thing is quite tattered but is sitting up atop my dresser.

PS...Nick has his grad party on Thursday...wish I had seen these earlier as I know the kids would go nuts for them!

Amy said...

Love the cake pops and love the lemonade! Both are just fabulous and summer bbq party worthy!

Velva said...

Your post had the spirit of magic...I am digging the smore"s not really cake pops, that is right up my alley. The rhubarb tea rocks too.

Velva

Rosemary said...

Yes, Claudia , a poignantly beautiful post. These smore pops are being filed away for a Fourth of July picnic. I'm also having a decade birthday later this year -- I'll look to you (and re-read this post) when I start feeling angst about this one, the first that's bothered me.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A lovely post! I try to keep the mind and heart of a child. In that way I stay young...

Wonderful treats and delicious drink!

cheers,

Rosa

Lori Lynn said...

Cute indeed.
Rhubarb tea sounds great too.
Always fun reading your posts Claudia.
LL
P.S. We're in virtual Italy over at Taste With The Eyes, virtual restaurant Ciao Fiore! opens tomorrow. I think you'll get a kick out of it.

Kitchen Riffs said...

One of the best things about getting older is you no longer have to be so "adult." When I was in my 20s and 30s I was so serious! Life was earnest and all of that. Pffft! Fairly Tales are more real. And so are those s'mores pops. Great idea. And I really like the rhubarb iced tea. Good post - thanks.

Erica said...

I made some of those pops for my son's birthday and they were a hit. They are delicious and easy to make. Those look perfect!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

My decade birthday comes next year, so I am going to enjoy this end of the decade one very much in preperation, Claudia! Let us alwasy stay young at heart!

I also know what you mean about not wanting to turn back time with your children. That is what is good about being a grandparent-- you can relive those happy childhood days without as much turmoil over the unhappy ones. It is a different perspective.

I know my oldest grandson would LOVE these marshmallow pops! They look like a fun treat.

The rhubarb tea sounds unique and looks very pretty!

Lyndsey said...

What a fun post, so good to know you better each time. I know exactly where you are coming from. I do think that working in an elemantary school I certainly visit my childhood more I than otherwise would. Plus I can get away with wearing things that other women my age would not wear. You have some perfect treats for summer break coming up! It makes me smile.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I think your little Smores are cute and would be popular with any child (no matter how old we are). The nice thing is you don't need to have a campfire to enjoy these.

CJ - Food Stories said...

Oh no ... a decade birthday :-0

Kathy said...

Loved your post, Claudia!! My grandkids would love those treats….and so would I!
I would never want to go back…you miss out on what’s happening right now!

Gloria said...

Love these Claudia look amazing I love these treats!

Lynda said...

Love this post Claudia, and those little smores pops really are "so cute". And the rhubarb drink sounds wonderful!
I've found myself changing a bit too recently-maybe because I too, am coming close to a decade birthday, (yikes!). Or, maybe it's because I take care of my almost 3 year old grandaughter everyday that her mother works. She keeps me felling young.

Cucina49 said...

What a beautifully written post. When I was traveling, I happened to see music videos from my teenage years, and I had this immense feeling of nostalgia for a more innocent age. Incidentally, I read "Stolen Figs" on the trip--a good read!

Fresh Local and Best said...

I think that it is a very healthy attitude that comes with the solidarity of perspective. This post makes me happy to be where I am too and that's the best because it encourages us to live in the moment.

Sue/the view from great island said...

Beautiful post, Claudia! The cake pops strike the perfect chord, you're right, congrats on the new decade!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I want to make these for kids or maybe with kids this summer. Looks easy to make and fun for kids. I like your rhubarb iced tea more. I've never had rhubarb drink before and it looks wonderful!

sophiesfoodiefiles said...

Lovely treats to lick up & I absoluely love this rhubarb drink! Lovely & apart too! I love the colour too! :)

Outlander Kitchen said...

Cakeless cake pops and tealess tea? Both look irresistible! Theresa

Jenn Kendall said...

those cake pops are absolutely adorable, i definitely want to make them with the lil guy...and that rhubarb drink sounds delicious!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Those marshmallow treats drew me in, but your writing makes me linger - just beautiful.

Magic of Spice said...

These are so fun and I am sure delicious! And I am loving that ice tea, looks so refreshing!

reyahskitchen said...

i love to create those mallows in the kid party that we are organizing.

Roz said...

Oh Velva, I used to have three precious childhood books on fairy tales, poetry, and Greek mythology and sadly, I have no idea where those books are to this day. I have thought and thought about them and your post resurrected those feelings once again. Maybe if I make some rhubarb tea, I will be able to magically find them someday! Thank you for such beautiful post! xoxo Roz