Posted on Dec 13, 2011
Mothers are notorious for making their children look dumb. They are truly exceptional at it, mostly because moms are smart and children are morons. It is when these children are dumb and stubborn that you get into trouble. I happened to be one of those (dumb and stubborn) children. Seriously, are you even remotely surprised?
When I was in grade school my mom taught me to make Nanaimo bars. They were my first dedicated foray into the world of baking; they were a recipe I could pull off a batch of without too much fuss and they always tasted delicious. I would tint the middle layer of icing pink for Valentine’s Day, green for St. Patrick’s Day and purple for Easter. Sometimes I even added sprinkles or flavours. They were just so amazingly delicious and completely versatile. I would take batches of them to school dances, fundraisers, birthdays, picnics and end-of-school parties. I managed to do this through almost to the end of high school without any problems arising… without feeling like a right idiot, at least. Everyone loved them.
One day I took them to a pot-luck dinner at a friend’s house when I was almost finished high school. I had chosen dessert because I knew I didn’t have a lot of time before the party and that these would be simple yet delicious. I whipped them up and took them, proud of my Nanaimo Bars and feeling very much the domestic goddess because of them, for the umpteenth time.
The hostess brought them out to the table and referred to them as (and I quote) “Jennifer’s Brownies”. No, hang on a second, she actually called them “Jennifer’s I-thought-you-said-you-were-bringing-Nanaimo-Bars-and-all-you-brought-are-these-weird-brownies-instead Brownies”. I looked at her, and rather rudely said “Those are Nanaimo bars, you moron”. She went stomping into her mother’s kitchen, to return toting a Canadian Living cookbook/bible that had a recipe for Nanaimo bars. Flashing me a holier-than-thou look she presented to the company at hand a recipe for REAL Nanaimo bars, which while similar were not what I had brought. Apparently Nanaimo Bars have coconut, graham wafers and almonds in them. And they are topped with semi-sweet chocolate rather than unsweetened.
I never spoke to that girl again after that night. I went straight home, cheeks aflame, and asked my mother why she would do such a horrible thing as to lie to me. Her response to my tears and theatrics was her usual arch of an auburn eyebrow, a shrug of the shoulders and a defiant “well, I prefer them my way”. Something, by the way, that I am sure to repeat verbatim when Leith runs home to tell me I made him look dumb in front of his friends (although if I know him he’ll be the one schooling me on what is right and wrong long before his friends get the opportunity to school him).