Thursday, November 1, 2012

Birthday Bonanza!

Last week was my eldest girl's fifth birthday. When there is a birthday in kindergarten it is expected that the birthday boy or girl brings in snacks for all the kids. When I was a kid the teacher would bring in a 20 pack of Tim Bits for every birthday. You handed one out to every kid and got to take the rest home. Or scarf them all on the bus on the ride home and never explain to your mother why exactly your palms were sweating and your eyes were darting around your head like a game of Pong (a video game popular in my day).

Something like that wouldn’t fly anymore. With labour disputes in the teacher’s union you would be lucky if the teacher brought you in a rock with “Happy Birthday” scrawled  across it to be thrown through the Principal’s window. And with the fear of mass produced foods other parents would certainly lynch you under the climber after drop off. So it’s best if you bake the treat yourself.

You are a bad person.

I’m no slouch at baking. My wife’s family call me the “Pie Man” because I am known to make a pie for family events and have gone so far to make a lemon meringue pie  from scratch at the cottage, a place where electricity, baking utensils and temperaments can be scarce.

Too late ladies I'm taken, please contact me to be placed on the waiting list.

So I told my daughter we would make chocolate chip cookies for her class. Chocolate chip cookies are among the easiest and cheapest cookies you can make. We went to the store and bought chocolate chips. That’s when I recalled you have to make sure they are peanut free for school. Nowhere on any of the bags did it have the Ghostbusters logo with a peanut instead of a ghost, but they also didn’t have the phrase  “May contain nuts”

Who you gonna call? Not me, I don't have a land line.

After some Googling I couldn’t find any chips in Canada that were guaranteed nut free. I didn’t want to the be guy that made some kid explode into a pile of goo because a chip once had a torrid affair with a macadamia. Although I have to say Anaphylactic shock sounds like an excellent ride at Canada’s Wonderland. That’s Six Flags for you Americans reading this, and running blindly from guerrilla conflicts for those of you in Uganda.

So I gave up and decided on gumdrop cookies. Still okay to make, kids love them and I can ensure no child’s eyes would melt as a result. However, after looking through the store I couldn’t find gum drops anywhere. I looked in the baking aisle, the candy aisle and even the cereal aisle. I found every type of high fructose corn syrup treat in cereal but gum drops. I almost bought Lucky Charms with lifeless sugar lumps, but at the last minute the looming diabetes talked me out of it. My closest store is a No Frills, which is like the shop of the damned. I’ve never seen so many lost looking souls anywhere else. Both behind the cash and shopping in the aisles. I guess shopping carts, gum drops and civility are all considered “frills”.

So I ended up buying wine gums.

I started with these...

and using these....
and a healthy dose of this...
created these...

and ended up with these.

After going through all that effort you expect to get a bunch of compliments. Children do not give out compliments. They know they will get another cookie someday, so for them it's get cookie, eat cookie, wait/beg for another cookie. End of transaction. I found myself fishing for compliments from my daughters classmates:

Me: "So Billy, did you like those cookies you got in class?"
Billy: "I like Power Rangers."
Me: "Fuck you Billy."

We are now no longer allowed to bring in snacks for the class. So I win again.


  1. ummm, did you check to see if there was gelatin in it? You should have offered them to the parents in the playground.

  2. Wait/beg for another cookie IS the compliment. You don't want to think about what the translation would be for declining-second-cookie.

  3. Wow - here I've been potentially killing kids for years with my allegedly nut-free chocolate chip cookies. Ours have to be halal as well, which eliminates vanilla (alcohol) and gummy-anything (cow feet). Ah school - sucking the joy out of everyone's life.

    Put me on the list, baby. I haven't had a good LMP in years.

  4. they say treats have to be peanut free, not booze free - try that next time. - char char

  5. Beautiful...I really enjoyed all the pictures you added to your post. We stress about the cookies and the peanuts and the nuts all around us...For school snacks, (for my daughter, not for all the kids) I tend to lean toward rice crispy squares or gingersnaps. So far neither have been know to jump from her lunchbox and infect anybody. So far...