Fudge

By Felice Prager

When my kids were little, I had a recurring dream: My neighbor’s children were standing in my driveway saying, “Let’s go to Mikey’s house. His mother makes great fudge.” In the dream, I’m looking out a bay window, beating on the glass, yelling, “No! No!”

It was a weird dream, since I’ve never made fudge, and neither of my sons are named Mikey. We also don’t have a bay window. But whenever I was in the kitchen back then, flipping through my recipe books for things that didn’t look too complicated to cook, I’d stare at the picture of fudge and think about making it. Then visions of Mikey and his buddies would return. They’d be eating fudge at my kitchen table. Their hands and faces would be covered in a drippy, chocolate glaze. I’d then close the recipe book, try to stop wheezing, and say, “Nah, let them go down the block to make the mess. Not in my house.”

Last week my 16-year-old son, Jeff, made fudge. He’s been messing around in my kitchen for a few years now. Although he has always said he wants to be an architect, I think his soul wants him to be a chef.

“I feel like cooking something,” is how he started. And then out came my recipe book. As he opened to the dog-eared fudge page that I daydreamed over, he asked, “Why don’t you ever make us fudge, Mom?”

Believing in always being truthful, my “because you and your brother are slobs” didn’t have an effect on him. He ignores me a lot.

“Well, I’m making fudge.”

And this is where the differences between this mother and that son begin. In my kitchen when I’m cooking, it’s neat and focused. Crack an egg. Discard the shells. Stir the batter. Place the spoon on a spoon rest. I’m organized. I’m neat. I clean up after myself.

Jeff, on the other hand, is like a sitcom that only lasts nine weeks. Crack the egg – drop the shells on the counter. Stir the batter. Lick the spoon. Stir the batter again with the same spoon. Chaos, confusion and food splatter.

He wasn’t always like this. As a little boy, his room was organized and clean. He was my little boy.

Now there are stockpiles of empty Dr. Pepper cans lining his windowsill.

He calls it Art.

As a little boy, I helped him keep his room in order. As a teen, I’m afraid something might crawl out from under his bed and inject its stinger into my eyeball filling me with last week’s TV dinner that’s molding under there.

Somewhere he rebelled. He figured out the right answers, “Don’t you know that by forcing me to have my room your way, you are stifling my creative energy which can lead to severe manic depression and perhaps the taking of illegal drugs?”

He knows all the right answers; he knows what gets to me.

With his room, I am as forgiving as I can muster up. It’s very hard for me. I know how neurotic I can get.

But with Jeff taking over my kitchen, he’s stepped over an imaginary line. The kitchen, no matter how much or how little I use it, IS mine. So his, “Well, I’m making fudge,” was upsetting.

I tried not showing my reaction. I tried to be supportive. But in my mind, I was seeing chocolate in between the rubber gasket pleats in the refrigerator and roaches marching in two-by-two to help clean up the mess.

I tried some reverse psychology. “Oh, good,” I said. “I love fudge. But you might have to miss Dragon Ball Z. Making fudge takes awhile.”

“No problemo, Mamacita!” my multilingual son said as he ran down the hall, returning with the small TV from the den.

I tried to distract myself as I watched him melting chocolate while he talked on the phone. I tried to pretend I was somewhere else as I heard him say, “Oops, two teaspoons, not two tablespoons.”

But a little while later, Jeff was standing in front of me, offering me a chocolate square. “Taste test time,” he said.

I bit in, and it was delicious.

“Well?” he asked.

“It’s great,” I said. “Now go clean my kitchen.”

“I did already!”

I looked into the kitchen, and it was cleaned the Jeffrey Way. The dishes were in the drain board. There was a can of Dr. Pepper on the counter. And there was a fudge stripe going right across the front of the refrigerator.

“Go finish,” I told him.

“No problemo, Mamacita!”

I’ve been having this nightmare lately: A group of women are standing outside my house saying, “Let’s go to Felice’s house. Her kid makes great fudge.” In the dream, I’m looking out a bay window, beating on the glass, yelling, “No! No!”

About this writer

  • Felice Prager Felice Prager is a freelance writer and multisensory educational therapist from Scottsdale, Arizona. She is the author of five books: Waiting in the Wrong Line, Negotiable and Non-Negotiable Negotiations, TurboCharge Your Brain, SuperTurboCharge Your Brain, and Quiz It: ARIZONA. Her essays have been published locally, nationally and internationally in print and on the Internet. Learn more at www.WriteFunny.com.

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2 Responses to “Fudge”

  1. This was a delightful story. I enjoyed it very much.

  2. Felice–And I would be one of those women with my face pressed against your window, clamoring for fudge.

    It was a wonderful story, with a great twist at the end.

    Here is a simple, foolproof recipe for fudge:

    1 bag of milk chocolate chips
    1/2 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1 can of sweetened condensed milk

    Mix it all in a glass mixing bowl. Microwave at 50% power for 2 1/2 minutes. Stir. Continue microwaving at 50% for another 2 1/2 minutes.

    Stir, then spoon/pour into a buttered glass pie pan or 9×9 pan. Cut when it’s hardened, and try to resist eating it…all.

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