Roald Dahl was the JK Rowling of my childhood. His books, particularly Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, and especially James and the Giant Peach, enlarged my taste for fantastical (not necessarily "fantasy") stories. He wrote for the child who knew that bad things sometimes happened to good people (mostly kids) but also believed in the capacity of the child to overcome and create good out of it. And the stories usually came with a dollop of Magic.
I have many fond memories of Mom reading to Jenni and me before bed, and the two of us begging for just one more chapter! Mom, with her musical abilities, was able to infuse Roald Dahl's natural inclination toward rhyme and written song with a lyrical quality that both fit the song in word and theme. I absolutely LOVED the song that Centipede sings about all the food he's eaten in James and the Giant Peach.
Then I grew up and became Aunt Sponge (Mother Sponge?), flabby, pallid, and evil to the core.
No, not really. But I loved the description of Aunt Sponge as a boiled cabbage. I swore I knew JUST WHAT SHE LOOKED LIKE IN REAL LIFE.
What really happened was that Mom gave Hayley a book titled Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes. Several of his stories featured or even revolved around fantastical food and someone decided to formulate recipes based on Dahl's silly food ideas. Mom saw it somewhere and knew that Hayley had to have it. And Hayley has been begging me for quite a while now to let her make something out of it. The recipe list is quite intriguing, although to my dismay, they don't have a recipe for Square Candies that Look 'Round (which, when I finally "got" this joke from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory I felt quite grown up and in-the-know). There is however, Hot Ice Cream for Cold Days, Mr. Twit's Beard Food, Scrambled Dregs, Bunce's Doughnuts, Eatable Marshmallow Pillows, Boggis's Chicken, Mosquitoes' Toes and Wampfish Roes Most Delicately Fried, along with many other "delectables."
Hayley wanted to make Stickjaw for Talkative Parents (a confection from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), although both she and Matt called it Stickjaw for Talkative Matts. The recipe is essentially a meringue with a caramel center. I separated the egg whites from the yolks and Hayley and Matt did the rest. Hayley was the one who whisked the egg whites into the meringue. I only watched and gave tips. The only problem we encountered was finding the cubic caramels in Target. I had limited time and we didn't find them so we resorted to some little caramel pebbles that we found in the baking aisle. I'm sure they will be sufficient for taste, even if they don't turn out quite as gooey and sticky as the caramel cubes would have been.
Hayley can be quite the pest when it comes to making stuff in the kitchen. She loves to cook but she still requires supervision, and I am not one to drop everything for my children's sakes to supervise. Bad me, I know. But it wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be and I made them clean up. The meringues are in the oven right now and I am keen to taste them, even if I run the risk of having my jaw stick shut.
For those of you who are super-ultra-uber observant, did you notice Hayley's new glasses? They even turn dark outside in the bright sunshine!
PS. How many times did I use the word "quite" in this post?
PPS. The confections are now out of the oven and ready for consuming. Mmmm tasty, although not all that sticky. A little extra chewing is required, however; enough to make it more than just a melt-in-the-mouth mound of meringue.
I want another one.