Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Trick Is To Be Smarter Than The Yogurt

My company recently sent out the first issue of our 'official' in-company newsletter. The lead stories are  a really, really long joke about a dog ("Doggone Funny") and a manager's secret recipe for meatballs.

There is  another food article, it links to some suggested recipes, including this one:

'Yogurt and Fruit Dessert Cup'

The ingredients, pasted directly from the recipe site:
  • 1 single-serve cup fruit flavored custard style low fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup granola or Grape Nuts
  • 1 cup cut fruit from in store service deli
There are instructions posted there as well, but really, you should be able to look at the ingredients and be able to figure the rest out on your own.

I pointed this 'recipe' out to an older and somewhat humorless co-worker named Grim. I made my observation in my typically genteel fashion:

"You know, you'd have to be completely stupid to need a recipe for 'Yogurt Fruit Cup'. They must think we're idiots."

She gave me a hateful glare.

"Not everyone knows how to cook. Some of us need recipes. I wouldn't know how to make a 'Yogurt Fruit Cup' on my own", she said tersely.

"Seriously? It is like needing a recipe for Cheerios and strawberries."

"Well, Mr. Know-it-All, what is the recipe for Cheerios and strawberries?", she said, throwing down the gauntlet.

"You take a bowl and fill it most of the way up with Cheerios. Then you add some strawberries and pour milk over it all", I said, picking up the glove.

"You can't just throw food willy-nilly into a bowl and hope that things will work out OK."

"Well, actually with breakfast cereal and fruit, you pretty much can just throw it together and count on it working out. I could ask the guys in Risk Modeling to graph it out for us, but I'm pretty sure it's a low-risk venture."

"But what if you put in too much milk? Or not enough strawberries? And how much exactly is a 'mostly full' bowl?"

I stopped for a minute, thinking she was making some sort of ironic or allegorical point. Grim is rather linear in her thinking, abstractions and symbolism are not her strong suite. Alphanumeric filing is her specialty and she is really, really good at it. But I'm guessing you don't want to have dinner at Grim's house.

"You are telling me that you need a recipe for cereal?"

"Yes. I'm telling you that lots of people need recipes for cereal, not everyone can just cook without instructions."

"But-but," I stammered perplexedly, "mixing yogurt with fruit isn't cooking. It's yogurt. And fruit."

"Well, not everyone can know that."

"Why not?"

"Well, where did you learn how to cook?", she asked me.

"Restaurants and home."

"Well, not everyone is lucky enough to have worked in a restaurant kitchen", commented Grim.

Lucky enough to work in a kitchen? That would be an absolutely hilarious statement had it been made in jest. But you are serious, aren't you? You can't work Cheerios. You have a college degree and you can't work Cheerios without a manual?

I didn't mean to say that out loud but I think I must have , because Grim turned a little red after that and after a while my boss called and said maybe I should take the rest of the day off.

So I came home and had some cereal, milk and blueberries, mixed together in reckless, joyous and wholly unmeasured abandon. I felt like a mad wizard tempting the very gods themselves as I carelessly splashed milk into the fruity mixture. I even forgot to check the expiration date on the milk and I willfully neglected to check the temperature of the refrigerator- such a scofflaw I am.

But I have to wonder. Grim is a grandmother, she has raised several kids- how can you have kids and not understand how cereal works?  She is very precise and 'rules-oriented' at work,but maybe it was worse at home. Perhaps each meal was prepared by meticulously following a recipe, that Grim is simply incapable of any sort of improvisational cooking at all.

I also wonder what percentage  of Americans would starve to death if they were locked in a room for a 45 days with nothing but a fully equipped kitchen, water, fifty pounds of dry rice, fifty pounds of dry beans, a few pounds of butter, some basic spices and a tank full of live lobsters?


Would you survive?

3 comments:

schlep said...

I tried making this recipe for breakfast but it didn't turn out right - somehow I ended up eating all the yogurt before it got blended with the other ingredients - where do you think I went wrong?

Allan said...

I think you went astray the moment you started taking advice from this blog.

Angel said...

Seriously!?!? "You can't just throw food willy-nilly into a bowl and hope that things will work out OK."
Good gravy Allan...
Dude, I read this one aloud to my Glugster and we were both in stitches! I think the above quote should be framed!