TOGETHER TASTES BETTER
“Zucchini! In cake? You’re kidding.”
Marty’s shoulders tensed. Her fingers put a death grip on the summer squash.
“Mom, please, I don’t want to be your Weight Watcher clone.”
Marty planted her palms firmly on the granite countertop and refused to bite on Steven’s barb. The distorted reflection of her animated son danced ghostlike in the stainless steel splashguard. Although he’d shot past six feet, he was still her little boy ranting and raving about his vegetables.
“Steven, have you found a church yet?” Marty guillotined the cucumber like offender in half and began to shred it on the grater.
“Mom, I’m talking about destroying chocolate cake. What’s that got to do with church? God and me are good by ourselves.” Marty finished grating then rinsed and dried her hands. She picked up a white plastic bottle.
“Steven, twist your tongue around this.” Marty poured out a generous thimbleful of baking soda into her palm, turned slowly, and faced her recalcitrant son. A smidge filtered down to the terrazzo tiling.
“If it’s anthrax I’m past that addiction.” His playful smirk was still disarming.
“Try it.” Marty’s gaze faced him down. “Just a lick. Dip your finger into each of these ingredients and tell me which ones you think will be good in your chocolate cake.”
The aspiring physician dropped his back pack on the oak leaf table and ambled the few yards toward the mock laboratory. He watched his mom carefully sprinkle the baking soda back onto the measuring spoon. “Thought science was done for this year.”
“Just try it.” Marty stepped back and propped herself against the ebony French Style Refrigerator.
Steven gamely extended his digits and implanted his fingertips into each of the receptacles. The brown sugar and the white sugar received a “thumbs up”. The margarine and the oil got a so-so. The three eggs were by-passed. The vanilla received no comment. The sour milk got a scowl.
Steven glanced at the other containers and turned to his mother. “You’ve got the recipe. All this stuff is probably here for a reason.”
“Do you trust me?” Marty sashayed over to the counter and grasped the mixing bowl.
Steven wasn’t quite ready to concede. “With everything but Zucchini.”
“Just watch.” Marty mixed sugar, margarine, oil and the eggs with vanilla and sour milk. “Now try the other things.” Marty picked up a second mixing bowl.
“Tell me what they are first.”
Mother and son bantered back and forth. “Flour.” “Bland.” “Salt.” “Salty.” “Allspice.” “Spicy.” “Baking soda.” “Pass, you’ve had your hands all over that stuff.” “Cinnamon.” “Are we there yet?” “Almost, try this. Baking cocoa.” “Hey, this is bitter.”
Marty folded in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon and then poured the variegated powders into the butter mixture. As she reached for the grated Zucchini Steven put up his hand in mock protest one last time. “Please, mom, do you really need the Zucchini?”
“Trust me,” Marty said as she dumped in the shredded greens and mixed. The final product was dumped into a greased 9 x 13” pan and sprinkled with chocolate chips.
“At least you’ve got one good thing in that cake,” Steven muttered as he picked up his back pack and left the room.
An hour and a half later the Zucchini-chocolate cake was ready for testing.
“Just try it,” said Marty as she extended a plate to Steven as he sprawled on his bed with another Grisham bestseller. “At least try a bite.”
“Even if it’s good I’m still not going with you to Weight Watchers.” Steven scarfed down the cake like a long lost street urchin and looked up pleadingly for more. Marty couldn’t help grinning.
As she turned into the hallway to retrieve another piece Steven hailed her. “Mom, I figured out the Zucchini – church thing.”
“O yeah!” Marty sauntered back toward her son.
“Yeah, things taste better together. It’s like Zucchini-chocolate cake. Some things you put into the cake aren’t so great by themselves but when you put them all together they’re pretty good. Same, in the church - we can all hang out alone but it’s when we all blend together that somehow God makes a creation that really tastes good. Do they still have that Young Adults group on Fridays?”
“Seven o’clock,” said Marty as she wiped a crumb from the corner of Steven’s mouth. “It’s good to have you home again.”
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