I’m not really a cook. I eat…I’m good at that. But as far as putting food things together and making them come out right, well, that doesn’t come easily.
I am bringing things to Thanksgiving this year. Not fancy things, just filler things. My mom went easy on me and asked me to bring caramel corn and green grapes that are made to look like little acorns. I pulled the caramel corn recipe off without too much trouble, but tonight it was time to assemble the grape-acorns.
It isn’t so much a recipe as a set of simple directions. It seemed straightforward. Melt caramel with a little cream, crush some peanuts, dip the grape in the caramel and coat that dipped part in the crushed peanuts. But as always when I try to do such a thing, I had a lot of questions, and more than a little unanticipated difficulty.
What is the best way to melt the caramel? Will that work in the microwave?
Is the cream supposed to look like that?
How do you get the little toothpick to STAY in the grape?
But the worst trouble came with crushing the peanuts. I put them in a baggie and gave it a try pushing and then whacking with a big spoon. Nope. I looked around my kitchen for heavy things. A frying pan to smash them? A heavy glass bottle to roll over them like a rolling pin? I tried all sorts of things. But every time I held the baggie up for inspection, there was peanut dust, some fragments, and mainly pieces that looked completely untouched. I socked the baggie a few times against the counter. I put it under a big book and sat on it. I even put the bag on the floor and walked on it a few dozen times–again with little success.
(Full disclosure…I considered backing over it with my car. Don’t tell my mom.)
Finally I decided that the little grape acorns were going to be coated with peanut chunks instead of crushed peanuts, which immediately cheered me up. Because I definitely had chunks. I melted my caramel and started dipping and coating.
After I did all I could stand to do (which took about ten excruciating minutes), I texted my mom and asked how many grape-acorns were enough. She said 18 would be great, which was fantastic because I had already done 24. I told her I would do 30, and I made it to 27 before I gave up.
I hope the kiddos at Thanksgiving dinner like the little grape-acorns. I hope they eat them quickly before anyone looks too closely at them. I’ll probably leave them in the car and then smuggle them into the house at the last minute. I do have a nice feeling of accomplishment and pride that I am contributing a little bit to the dinner. I’m not too worried that this is going to lead to further requests, however. I’m pretty sure that after this my main Thanksgiving job will go back to keeping the kids busy while the adults do things with the food. I am MUCH better at that!
Also, I really hope my mom doesn’t read about all of this until AFTER dinner Thursday…