My mother has a tendency to call things by odd names. It used to drive me so crazy that I finally sat her down and explained that "creme rinse" is actually "conditioner" and a tailored button down is not a "blouse." A blouse is made of flowy material. Or "blousing" is what you do when you tuck your shirt in and pull it out a little so it forms a reverse mushroom cloud around your waist.
Well, I thought I had straightened her out until I discovered another word association problem last weekend.
As usual, I was having a tough time fighting off my desire for chocolate, so I decided to dig into my mom's old recipe box and make her famous Congo Squares. Believe it or not, the issue wasn't over the name of the dessert. Granted, I'm not sure why they're called that. I mean, as far as I know they have no affiliation with the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Southern Africa, but it's my mom's make-believe language were talking about here, so I just go with it. I think they should be called Awesome Squares, but that's just me.
It was my first time making the recipe myself, but I figured it couldn't be that difficult because they're basically like a giant chocolate chip cookie in a pan. I was on my way to the store to pick up a few things anyway, so I perused the ingredient list to make sure I had everything in stock.
Brown sugar. Check.
What the hell are nutmeats?
A speed dial call to my mom revealed that they apparently are chopped walnuts. And she doesn't ever use them. Right.
"And how much is a 'container' of brown sugar supposed to be? I mean, I'm looking at my two-pound bag and that's enough to bathe in."
"Two and a half cups."
I felt like taking issue with her form of measurement too, but I let that one go.
After my trip to the store, I got right to it. The first task called for one and two-quarter cups of shortening, so I dug out the container of Crisco labeled "vegetable shortening" and scooped out the required amount.
The last direction instructed me to "pour batter into pan," but there was no pouring to be done. My Congo batter was not anywhere near the consistency required for pouring. It was more what I would call clumpy. I could transfer it to the pan in a giant lump and then smash it down to fit.
I hit my mom's speed dial number again.
"What did I do wrong? I followed your crazy recipe!"
"Did you melt the butter?"
"What butter? It calls for shortening!"
"Yeah, you know, margarine."
"WELL IT DOESN'T SAY THAT. It calls for SHORTENING, which is what I used."
All I could hear was laughter on the other line.
"Well what am I supposed to do now?"
"You know that round container you have next to your fridge?"
"I'M NOT THROWING IT AWAY."
And as she continued to try to explain that "shortening" is actually "margarine," I forcefully smashed my clumpy dough into the pan and crammed it in the oven before Jerry could swipe any more before running away yelling about it tasting awesome anyway.
"Mom, do we need to have a conversation about creme rinse again?"
"That's a very old recipe. It used to be your grandmother's."
"Well, I'm fixing my copy so Allison doesn't run into the same problem I just had. But there's no hope for you two. You guys need to get your nutmeats straight."