Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Do not Trifle with Grandma

I mentioned the Diamond anniversary of the boy's Grandparents a few weeks back. What I didn't mention is the Trifle (this one merits a capital).

Upon arriving upon the Grandparents, we saw them busy at work preparing an absolutely fantastic smelling soup and planning to make Trifle. As it was getting late and we were heading to the boy's Aunt's B&B to prepare for the party, I offered to help make the Trifle.

That was my first mistake. For one thing, I have no idea what is a Trifle. Sure, I laughed along with Friends when Rachel put ground beef in her trifle, but what really is in it? I thought it might be a pudding or something. For another, I said HELP, not MAKE. As everyone knows, baking is NOT my forte. Well, as it turns out, no baking was involved. So I breathed a sigh of relief. Furthermore, Grandma, one of the most charming and lovely grandmothers I have ever met, gave me three packets of Bird's strawberry trifle mix. Turns out, I have to make three trifles.

No problemo, I thought, reading the packet (yes, I think in cheesy little catch phrases, just be thankful I don't say them). Easy. The packet contains all there is, just dribble sherry on the enclosed biscuits, make the jello, pour on top, let set, then mix the custard powder with some milk, pour on top, add the whipped topping powder with some milk, pour on top and finished with the enclosed sprinkles. Great little box containing three sets of powders and some biscuits to make a whole trifle.

That was my second mistake. Assumption is the root of all screw ups.

Grandma proceeded to tell me how exactly to make the trifle. First of all, she opened the box of Bird's handy trifle mix, then told me that I could use the jelly powder, but she doesn't. She then gave me a box of Rowntree's jelly (jell-o to us North Americans). She uses that instead. Ok, no problem, I can substitute.

She then pulled out the custard mix and told me that she doesn't like the mix and prefers fresh custard, so two cartons of custard were handed over. Ok, got it, use fresh custard.

Grandma also showed me the whipped topping mix. Which she doesn't use. A carton of cream is also handed to me.

Then a bag of biscuits, which I should use for the base is also handed to me. In sheer bewilderment at having been handed THREE boxes of Bird's trifle mix, and all the contents pulled out and discarded, I enquired what exactly she uses from the box of trifle mix. To which the dear lady replied that I may use the sprinkles which were included. But she doesn't.

And she will be sure to let me know if she doesn't enjoy her Trifle.

So, following the instructions on the box of Bird's Trifle Mix and throwing out everything in it, I proceeded to make three large TRIFLES with much stress and panic. Everything had gone almost perfectly.

Until the whipped topping.

The jello had set, the custard was layered and guests were arriving, with Grandma and Grandpa due any minute. Cream was poured into bowls when the boy's Aunt announced that she doesn't have a whisk.

In absolute horror, I roped in her beloved grandchildren, the boy, his brother and his sister, knowing they could do no wrong in the eyes of their adored Grandmother. I gave each of them a fork and exhorted them to "Whip, whip, whip as fast as you can!". The kitchen was chaos. Cream spilling onto the floor, forks flying and much whining about arms aching. Finally it all came together.

The Trifle NOT from Bird's Mix was ready.

Silence descended upon the room as Grandma took her first bite.

She announced: "Blecht!" and I almost burst into tears, finger at the ready, prepared to point and blame her beloved grandchildren when I saw the huge smile and twinkle in her eye.

Sadly I am now too scared to ask her for her fabulous soup recipe. Instead I am simply going to go down to the shop, pick up a can of soup and read the ingredients.


susan said...

Oh my god, Jess, this is so funny. So she doesn't use anything from the boxed mixes, she just buys them to confuse you?
Her soup is probably similarly confusing. I'd go with canned, too.

Sui Mai said...

I don't think the boy's grandma buys them to confuse me but I am quite unsure as to why she buys them. No one in the family seems to be able to answer my question!

Force of habit was one answer!