Throwback of the House: The Bombs Wobbling in Air

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Todd Ehlers, Wikimedia Commons
Halfway through summer vacation, and my daughter is completely sick of my face. I know I'm not much fun for a five-year-old, what with my crappy food and my perpetual hangover. A kid can only take so many viewings of the Ice Age trilogy before she revolts against poor parenting. To distract her from the uprising I know she's planning, I put her to work.

With its handy system of indicating age-appropriateness of recipes, 1977's Amazing Magical Jell-O Desserts seemed to solve a bunch of our problems. It would give my kid something new and exciting to do, and in the process she'd be making her own damn snack, leaving me time for important grown-up tasks, such as starting fights on Twitter.

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Robin Wheeler
Make some strawberry Jell-O. Let it set to semi-firm. Plop some semi-hard Jell-O into the bottom of an empty three-ounce frozen juice can. Center half a banana on the Jell-O, then scoop more around it. Shove a piece of shoestring licorice into the top. Let set. Unmold and behold the Banana Wobbler.

Except who lets a kindergartener do the boiling water phase of the Jell-O? That's unacceptable, even by my lax parenting morals. I made the Jell-O. She probably doesn't have the dexterity for banana-balancing. I did that, too. Which means I made the entire thing.

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Robin Wheeler
Since no one sells three ounces of frozen juice concentrate anymore, I used one of my daughter's drinking cups. This is going to be the giant Jell-O stick of dynamite that'll take down our whole block.

Except I used an insulated cup, making it impossible to unmold the outer edges with warm water. By the time I chiseled it out, it looked like the bomb had already detonated. So easy a kid can do it, my ass. I went to culinary school and couldn't make this work.

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Robin Wheeler
That's okay. Because, really, the Banana Wobbler's photo in the book looks a lot like a tampon or a sex toy. I'm not ready to have that discussion with my kid, who didn't mind the gooey-covered banana. She added a slice of Swiss cheese and called it breakfast.

I went back to bed.

Robin Wheeler writes the blog Poppy Mom. After years of making and eating fancy food, Robin is sick of it all. She's returning to the basics: recipes that haven't surfaced in three decades. She reports on the results for Gut Check every Tuesday.

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