November 10, 2005

I Almost Failed First Grade Today

I volunteered with the 1st Graders today, in Bone's class. My job? To make cornmeal journey cakes with another Mom. We were to get three groups of 2 children, a ½ hour each, and in that time, we would make these journey cakes, have the kids make a beaded necklace, and then if there was time, go over some reading flashcards.

Sounds simple enough, does it not? Now perhaps it would be, for a Mother who actually had her head in the game, but it’s not been a good week for me. I’m still feeling rather frayed since Monday night’s ambulance ride and trip to the ER with a kid struggling to breathe, quite frankly, and this upcoming camping trip hasn’t helped. Evidently going camping is a spectator sport to my spouse. Heh.

To say I’m on the border of becoming a zombie is a severe understatement.

And this other Mother I was paired off with, she’s just as goofy as I. Great combo. I think, however, the teacher realized her error early on.

Griddle set up and sprayed, we looked at the recipe. It called for 1/3 cup of cornmeal, ¼ tsp salt and ¾ tsp sugar… and 1/3 cup of water. Before I arrived, Goofy Mom #2 had been told not to use all the water, just to pour it in a bit at a time, until everything was moist.

The sweet kids came to our table, a boy and a girl, and talked to us as I had them measure out and pour the ingredients… but I misread and had them pour in ¾ CUP of sugar. And then… Goofy Mom #2, just dumped the ENTIRE 1/3 cup of water into the batter.

She poured it on the griddle and it spread out in a watery cornmeal mess, bubbling and hissing. The kids stared and said, “Its not supposed to do that.” Great. We have NO IDEA what these things are supposed to look like. I’ve never seen a ‘journey cake’ in my life and I don’t even think there is cornmeal in my kitchen. I think the last time I touched cornmeal was when I dated a Texan and we poured some on the floor so it would be slick and we could two step better.

I quickly added more cornmeal to the batter, trying to thicken it up. Goofy Mom #2 poured it on the griddle. Same effect. A little boy from the back of the classroom says quite loudly, “It didn’t look like that when MY MOM came to do it with the class yesterday!”

Great. Goofy Mom #2 and I look at each other and I whisper to her under my breath, “This is great. We so suck at this.” And she replied, “We’re going to get fired…”

More cornmeal was added and poured, same freaky mess appeared on the griddle. Goofy Mom #2 turns to the little girl sitting behind us and says, “Sam, what did yours look like yesterday?” to which Sam says, “They were puffy.”

Puffy? Since when does cornmeal get ‘Puffy’? Pulease! And ours was… yellow and runny and truth be told, it looked like breastfed baby poop. Yellow and seedy. It was nasty.

Our two ‘victims’ are just watching us, saying not a word. Finally Goofy Mom#2 and I tell them that we felt certain that OUR journey cakes would have turned out much better if we had actually been able to grind OUR OWN corn into cornmeal. That is met with a raised eyebrow from the boy and a sympathetic look from the girl.

I’ve now thickened them up considerably, but they are still ‘not right’, but what are ya gonna do? So while our version of journey cakes cooked, we had them start on their beaded necklaces. Each necklace had a ‘bear claw’ to string. It looked like a big tooth to me and before I handed them out, I put them up to my mouth and said to them, “Look! Fangs! I’m a killer rabbit. Runaway! Runaway!”

They looked at me like I was nuts. No sense of humor these kids nowadays. Their parents must not be Monty Python fans. What a shame.

Somehow we managed to scoop our baby poop cakes onto their plates, hearing from little voices behind us that we were supposed to ‘flip them’ when cooking. One does not flip baby poop. One squishes it into a pile and turns it over as one would flip a dog turd.

There was syrup for the kids to have on their journey cakes, but upon tasting them, both kids said “no thanks!” and then decided they weren’t hungry anymore.

They left and the 2nd shift of victims filed over… and this is when I reread the recipe and realized that it was only ¾ TEASPOON of sugar NOT a CUP! Holy crap. No wonder they didn’t want syrup.

I also took control of the mixing of the water and created an excellent consistency that not only puffed up when cooked, but was flippable. We were in the journey cake business and out of the cooked baby poop business.

Goofy Mom#2 and I made sure we made two extra and we had the poor kids who endured our Vaudeville act and attempted to eat the crap we put on their plates to humor us and be polite, come back for REAL Journey cakes.

As I left, the teachers were laughing at us. I’m just wondering if we’ll ever get asked back… And I really really like Goofy Mom #2. What a trip.

Posted by Boudicca at November 10, 2005 11:38 PM | TrackBack

ROTFL. I was not goofy Mom #2!!! GRIN. I felt like a goofy mom yesterday.

Posted by: vw bug at November 11, 2005 06:57 AM

two stepping on the corn meal. now that sounds like the name for a country and western song--

Two Stepping On the Corn Meal When Bubba Shot The Juke Box Last Night

Posted by: GUY K at November 11, 2005 07:16 AM

Okay, I have to ask... Pioneer or Indian studies? It has to be one or the other for beaded necklaces and journey cakes...

My kids teachers only ask me to come to class once... then they tell me I don't need to come back. Why do people get nervous about my teaching kids to shoot and trap?

Posted by: Contagion at November 11, 2005 08:21 AM

That is SO funny! I LOVED the fang part - I would have done the same thing. You know, I've encountered the same reaction - kids look at you like you've lost your marbles, instead of laughing. You pulled a success out of a funny experience - and you get an "A" for the day.

Posted by: suze at November 11, 2005 10:12 AM

Journey cakes? Not a Jersey thing, for shitsure.

Posted by: Jim - PRS at November 11, 2005 07:57 PM

Comment Party!!!! I have one tent that sleeps two and some wine and dark chocolate. Who brought the DVDs?

Posted by: VW Bug at November 11, 2005 08:46 PM


Needs more sugar :-)

Posted by: Harvey at November 11, 2005 08:59 PM

Dancin' on Cornmeal is not right... That precious stuff is used to make hush puppies(no, not the shoes citislickers), not saw dust. ;)

Those lovely golden brown morsels of deep fried birth, that can be taken straight up, or with an artery cloggin' dose of "butta". Dancin' on corn meal... To me, and probably me only, that was the funniest part. Killin' cornbread would've been a better description IMHO.

Glad you took over the "recipe" part and squared it away. Nice footwork on the "If we would have made our own"... thinkin' on your feet for sure.

Jim, they're not known as Journey cakes in Joisey. Up in that 'neck of the woods, I believe the Joisey version is referred to as "hash brownies", however, in Bou's locale, I suspect they make 'em without the hash. I could be wrong. ;)

Posted by: RedNeck at November 11, 2005 09:13 PM

Are you sure you didn't mess up on purpose to not get called back?

Have fun camping!

Posted by: Denny at November 11, 2005 09:33 PM

setting up Dr. Seuss tent in living room....throwing marshmellows EVERYWHERE. Stocking bath tub with walleye so we can fish.

Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at November 12, 2005 12:37 PM

Since I only know one kind of camping... *Throws up 10x12 foot wall tent plus 10X16 fly. Starts fire in living room. Digs "waste disposal" area in master bedroom.*

Hey I'm camping... there's not flushables while camping!

Posted by: Contagion at November 12, 2005 01:20 PM

Have some fishing poles... but they are just wood poles with fishing line.

Here is some steaks and potatoes. Anyone able to cook this up?

Posted by: VW Bug at November 12, 2005 02:11 PM

You definitely MUST make some for your campling trip...

"Their parents must not be Monty Python fans. What a shame."

For shame! They should be jailed for child abuse.


Posted by: David at November 12, 2005 02:35 PM

unpacking 1 40 gallon dutch oven, firewood, assorted pans, spoons, apron,

*making delicious biscuits and ham and beans for dinner*** very chuckwagon style...

Its a good thing

Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at November 12, 2005 04:35 PM

AWTM, weren't you supposed to bring the moonshine?

Anyone need anything from Mexico? I can bring it on over?

Posted by: Sissy at November 12, 2005 06:12 PM

Sissy: How about some good mexican food? You always need good gassy food on a camping trip. ;-)

Posted by: VW Bug at November 12, 2005 06:18 PM

Hmmm, this place looks familiar...

Oh, *that's* where I installed that camera.
I wonder what it recorded????
Let's see.....

Posted by: _Jon at November 12, 2005 06:19 PM

Watch out the Hamster is loose!

VW Bug:
There he is!
VW Bug:
What, behind the Hamster?
VW Bug:
It is the Hamster.
You silly sod!
VW Bug:
You got us all worked up!
VW Bug:
Well, that's no ordinary Hamster!
VW Bug:
That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!
You tit! I soiled my armour I was so scared!
VW Bug:
Look, that Hamster's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!
Get stuffed!
VW Bug:
He'll do you up a treat, mate.
Oh, yeah?
You mangy Scots git!
VW Bug:
I'm warning you!
What's he do, nibble your bum?
VW Bug:
He's got huge, sharp-- eh-- he can leap about-- look at the bones!
Go on, GuyK. Chop his head off!
Right! Silly little bleeder. One Hamster stew comin' right up!

Posted by: VW Bug at November 12, 2005 09:21 PM

AWTM: 40 gallon dutch oven?!?!?!?! Holy mother of jebus! I don't want to have to be the one to lift that lid on and off!

Don't worry about the "shine", I brought my Still with... everything I make is gaurenteed not over 15 days... *looks around at the group* Make that 15 seconds.

Posted by: Contagion at November 12, 2005 10:03 PM

pouring shots of shine......for EVERYONE......yeah that means you!!

CAckle cakle snort

Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at November 12, 2005 10:26 PM

You had me at "breast fed baby poop"! :D

Posted by: pam at November 13, 2005 09:17 AM

They didn't know Mony Python ? They would get a kick out of this. I think you might too...
It's the Lego Version of Holy Grail.

Posted by: nEo at November 13, 2005 01:28 PM

Mmm! Hamster stew!! I'm firing up the stove & cooking some of those journey cakes -- piles for everyone... and piles to leave behind for Bou & family.

Did anyone bring fixins for s'mores?

Posted by: Marie at November 13, 2005 04:36 PM

You should submit that recipe for the Carnival!

Posted by: Amanda at November 13, 2005 05:24 PM

Neo- the link didn't work.

The rest of you... NO eating family pets! Sickos!

Posted by: Bou at November 13, 2005 11:00 PM

Bou: the linked worked for me... blhhhhhhhhhh.

Posted by: VW Bug at November 14, 2005 07:28 AM