Sunday, July 22, 2007

Food Groups

My family loves the movie Elf. We've probably watched it 600 times.

One of our favorite scenes and lines occurs early in the movie when Buddy (Will Ferrell, one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood because he gets every comedy note exactly right) is sitting at dinner with his new-found family, including his daddy, played by the eternally cool James Caan. They're having spaghetti for dinner, and Buddy asks for syrup.

Emily (the mom, played by Mary Steenburgen) widens her wide eyes. "It's...spaghetti," she stupidly reminds him. "Oh, just a minute, I might have some with me," Buddy says, happily retrieving a sample-size maple syrup from his elfian sleeve. As he pours syrup on his spaghetti, and everyone gapes, Buddy explains, "We elves like to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup." HA!

So anyway, around my house, we have three main food groups: candy, ice cream, and ketchup.

Every single (I just typed the word "single" as "snigle"--hee!) morning before breakfast at least one of my kids asks me if they can have a piece of candy. They go to sleep thinking about candy and they wake up thinking about candy.

A. Peevie keeps a stash of mini Tootsie Rolls and Jolly Ranchers in his room in a "secret" place. He collects it from birthday parties, Halloween, and camp; and he hoards it jealously like a pirate with his chest of jewels. I check it periodically, and I'm kind of amazed at his high level of self-control, considering the easy access and the fact that he asks for candy sometimes several times a day.

M. Peevie traded in her arcade prize tickets not for toys or stickers, but for a three-pack of Fun Dips in Razzapple Magic and Cherry-Yum-Diddly flavors.

A day without ice cream, in our house, is a day without sunshine. No, it's a day without oxygen. We're putting the ice cream truck guy's kids through college. A. Peevie eats ice cream with legendary focus and intensity that most kids reserve for television and video games: head down, eyes glassy, rhythmic wrist action.

Sixteen ice cream trucks line up on the street every day after camp lets out, blaring The Entertainer or Pop Goes the Weasel or Tainted Love. (Just kidding about that last one.) Every kid asks every parent, every day, "Can I have ice cream today?" I made a deal with my kids: once a week I'd buy them ice cream from the truck. The problem is, kids have no concept of time. A week feels like a month when you're six years old and waiting for the next Good Humor Chocolate Eclair or SpongeBob Popsicle.

And then there's ketchup (and BTW, this blog prefers the simple spelling rather than the antiquated and non-phonetic 'catsup'. Don't you?). This one is really only a food group for C. Peevie. It's not a condiment, it's an entree. He squeezes a half of a cup of red paste on his plate, scrapes it up with six french fries, and reaches for more. More than likely, a blob will end up on his shirt or shorts. We buy cartons of it from Costco.

What are your family's favorite non-traditional food groups?


jeanie said...

I am with C Peevie on the ketchup and I am with you totally on the spelling. Also I am very particular about the kind of ketchup - has to be Heinz! I am wondering how to get adopted into your family. Any particular need for puffy middle aged women?

E. Peevie said...

Applications for induction into the Peevie Family are available at the front desk. We always have room for people of any level of puffiness or age, especially those with such good sense in spelling and ketchup brands.

BTW, did you know that Heinz is distinctive because the first ingredient is NOT sugar, as it is with most brands, but rather vinegar?

Anonymous said...

Laughed OUT LOUD at that, "It's not a condiment, it's the entree," comment by C. Peevie. Love that boy!!! --Sharon

Anonymous said...

By the way, for a writer, you sure are prostituting yourself, Miss Peevie, by scrapping the correct, "catsup." Cheapening your standards, eh?? Sharon, again.

E. Peevie said...

Anonymous Sharon, Regarding your comment about that loveliest of sauces: All the major brands call it ketchup. Also, based on nominal research, it seems that the "ketchup" spelling was used earlier (1711) than "catsup" (1730).

But even if it wasn't, who cares? I am not a prescriptivist when it comes to language. Language, she changes. We must find a way to cope.

Boy George said...

Still not a big fan of Safire, huh?