Thursday, August 30, 2012

We Are the Egg Men

I channeled my mom today.

Not that channeling my mom is an unusual occurrence for me. Actually, my parenting style is very similar to hers, so I crib mom tips from my own childhood on a regular basis. But today I made lunch with my son in a way that totally brought back memories of making lunch with my own mom: we made Egg Men.

I was an incredibly picky eater as a child, so getting excited about food wasn’t exactly a common occurrence for me. But whenever my mom announced that we were having scrambled eggs, I was always thrilled because that meant we would make Egg Men. I’m not sure how the tradition started. I suspect that my mom had made me some scrambled eggs and I refused to eat them, so in desperation she tried to make them entertaining. And she succeeded!

The bits and pieces we used to decorate our Egg Men would vary based on whatever happened to be handy at the time. Options usually included one or more types of breakfast cereal (Life and Cheerios were my particular decorating favorites); pretzels or pretzel sticks; vegetable pieces like carrots, celery, broccoli, or sweet peppers (often offered but invariably declined); shredded cheese; and, on a really good day (usually shortly after Halloween), sometimes even a handful of M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces.

So when Ryan and I decided to make scrambled eggs for lunch, I assembled the necessary ingredients: eggs, milk, butter, salt and pepper, and the full lineup of decorating materials.

Ryan was delighted at getting to crack the eggs (I only had to fish out a few stray eggshells), helped me pour in the milk, manfully whipped the eggs into a frenzy, and then waited (sort of) patiently for the eggs to cook so he could begin decorating.

He was mystified by the olives until I sliced them and he realized they would make excellent eyes. A row of Cheerios supplied a big cheery smile. Shredded cheese became fuzzy hair. And after much thought of how to incorporate the pretzels, Ryan’s Egg Man was given two long arms and two lanky legs.

In the time it took me to get my camera from the next room, Ryan had already eaten one arm, one leg, a good bit of hair, part of a smile, and a chin. I guess it’s safe to say that this meal was a success.

And although I honestly don’t remember whether Mom decorated her own eggs when I was a girl, I still consider it an honor to her memory that I made my own Egg Man after Ryan made his. Like Mom taught me, everything tastes better when there’s some love and laughter mixed in.


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