Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Writing Assignment: Things I Have Tried After Reading About Them in Books

In Little House in the Big Woods, I was fascinated by the candy Laura and Mary made by drizzling syrup on snow.
One morning [Ma] boiled molasses and sugar together until they made a thick syrup, and Pa brought in two pans of clean, white snow from outdoors. Laura and Mary each had a pan, and Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams on to the snow. They made circles, curlicues, and squiggledy things, and these hardened at once and became candy.

I tried this once, but all I had was Aunt Jemima pancake syrup and a bowl of Delaware snow that would certainly be defeated in a taste test against the fresh drifts of an 1860s Wisconsin forest. Sadly, the syrup soaked into the snow rather than freezing prettily on top, and I was left with a brown Slurpee-looking mess. I tried a little bit anyhow, but it tasted as bad as it looked.

(I have many, many more stories about trying to live like Laura Ingalls- surprise, surprise!- but I'll save those for another time)


After reading Lois Duncan's Stranger With My Face as a pre-teen, I spent hours attempting astral projection.
I was there on the bed; then, I was over it. The thing happened so quickly it was like flinging myself off the end of a diving board. I took one great leap, and was free... I was over water, and then over clouds, I saw the edge of the sun curve over the eastern horizon, and I was traveling faster than it was. If I kept rising, I would be above the sun and beyond it, moving faster and farther until I became a part of the great, incredible forever that lay past everything.

After many attempts, I decided I was failing because I wasn't able to erase all thoughts from my head, as Laurie is urged to do in the book. After that, I simply worked at "not thinking", which inevitably led to my thinking, "Don't think, don't think, don't- DARN IT."

After which I decided to just keep all parts of myself together. Much easier.


I once read a book in which a kid wanted to stay home from school, so he (she?) drank a mixture of mustard and milk to make himself throw up. (I can't for the life of me remember which book this was- does anyone know?)

Anyhow, I did try this once when I was desperate to get out of going to school. I remember squeezing big ribbons of French's into a blue plastic cup filled with milk, then mixing it up with a long iced tea spoon until it was a pale, cloudy yellow. Alas, while it certainly made me feel sick, the desired outcome eluded me. I settled for making myself look pale and wan, which is pretty much my natural look, anyhow. Success.


Your turn. What are some of your book-inspired childhood antics?

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Blogger BabelBabe said...

i tried that snow thing too! with much the same results. I did manage to make hot chocolate out of Hershey bars the way the Bobbsey twins did, though. hmmm, more....lemme think....

11:25 AM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

That last one sounds like something out of How to Eat Fried Worms...

I think I tried the maple syrup thing, too, and was disappointed.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Accidental Mommy said...

OMG...you've made my day. That is hilarious. I loved Stranger With My Face but didn't try it.

I'm boring, I don't think I've ever tried anything out of a book.

That will change since I checked out Fairy Tale Feasts for the kids. I think I just may buy this book.

12:31 PM  
Blogger His suzy said...

I don't think I ever really tried anything like that from a book. I did, however, learn something very useful from one of my old Baby-Sitters Club books back in the day. When a kid, say, draws a picture that resembles nothing logical, rather than asking "What is it?" and possibly hurting the child's feelings, you should say "Tell me about it." You get to find out what it is, they get to tell you about it, and no feelings are harmed! I just used that one last week. :)

3:17 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Babel- for the longest time I planned to name my future daughter Nan.

Bearette- could be. I was also thinking Freckle Juice, but that was a different concoction altogether.

I wonder how many Laura Ingalls fans tried the maple syrup??

A. Mommy- I read everything by Lois Duncan. Then Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar had to come along and completely ruin I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Suzy- certainly sounds more useful than astral projection...

3:38 PM  
Blogger Stacy Quarty said...

I loved the Little House books (and show) too! My girls are really into it now and I find myself watching with them. I still cry every time Pa does, which is every other episode.

I tried clicking my heels together like Dorothy. Forget where I wanted to go though. Obviously, I never got there.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Roxanne said...

I never tried it, but I always thought it would be interesting to eat fried worms.

I was a weird child.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Fried chicken, fried worms- what's the difference?

wv = tripe

Okay, how about fried tripe?

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Frema said...

My love affair with all things Baby-sitters Club caused me to form my own BSC. There were regular meeting days and dues (for candy!) and a club notebook and a theme song. Oh, and officers. Guess who was president? :)

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Frema said...

P.S. Did I forget to mention we didn't actually baby-sit? But if we wanted to, we totally could have!

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Betsy said...

Vanity cakes (ala BTBOPC) always sounded so good to me. Alas, I have never tried to make them.

I also read the book that had milk and mustard! I can't remember what book that was either. I'm thinking Judy Blume?

8:40 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Frema- a babysitters club that doesn't babysit. GENIUS.

Betsy- VANITY CAKES! YES! I always wanted to make those, too. I loved the description of how the puffed up and flipped over.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Maybe I should change my blog name to Quiet on the Prairie.

welcome, Laura Ingalls lovers!

8:45 AM  
Anonymous buttercup said...

Sugar on snow takes a long time to make (I'm from VT so hopefully I've got a little bit of street cred on the subject). You need to boil (100% pure) maple syrup down until it is really thick and viscous. Then you dribble it on to firmly packed snow (usually outdoors)where it does indeed harden into a chewy candy you eat with a fork. Then if you're really going all the way you have hot coffee, dill pickles, and plain donuts. So, you eat the super sweet syrup candy, then the dill pickles to cut the sweetness and then the coffee and donut clear your palette for another go at the syrup! Delicious!

10:46 AM  
Blogger Caro said...

Mwhahahaha. You tried astral projection too? Glad to know I'm not alone.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Buttercup- want to come over? You bring the maple syrup and donuts and I'll buy pickles and make the coffee. :)

I suspected the Aunt Jemima wouldn't cut it, but hey- I was eight years old. My mom thought it was strange enough when I requested a tin pan for the snow. "Just use that plastic bowl," she said.


Caro- let's both try again. if it works, our astral counterparts can meet up halfway. Over Kansas, maybe?

11:14 AM  
Blogger Roxanne said...

Also, I always LOVED wearing my hair in piggytail braids. Can you guess why?

When Jesse was younger I could still get away with doing her hair into braids. For years now she hasn't wanted me to touch it. :(

(I secretly want to grow my hair out long again just so I can wear my hair this way. Obsessed much? Also? I would look like a 30-something dork :P )

My sister had a high school friend that lived up in the woods and had no electricity, running water, or indoor toilets. I was always jealous when she spent the weekend there.

2:47 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

I really enjoyed reading these comments. :)

10:10 AM  

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