To keep everything a surprise, no one is allowed in the kitchen while I'm cooking. Once the table is set and the food is ready, I call everyone to the table. It's similar to Christmas morning: the anticipation.... waiting to see what they're going to get....
At first they were both so excited!! Inigo's eyes lit up when he saw the birthday cake... I'm sure in his brain he was saying, "Seriously? Birthday cake for dinner? This April Fool's Day is pretty darn cool!" (He's still somewhat naive.) He was even more thrilled when he saw the "fish sticks". He LOVES fish (so he tells himself) but his mom doesn't and as such she doesn't allow it to be cooked in her house. So when he saw the food he thought he'd hit the Mother Load... cake AND fish sticks!?! Life doesn't get any better than that!
Buttercup was a little more wary. Age and experience was her friend in this case.
Inigo's first taste of his "fish stick" was surprising to him -- to say the least. It was a little more crunchy than he anticipated. And was that peanut butter flavored fish? His enthusiasm deflated a bit after that first taste.
(Fishstick = sugar wafer cookies covered in peanut butter and crush corn flakes)
But that birthday cake.... ooooo...... it was calling his name!!!
Buttercup was still wary. She gently tried the "peas" and found that they were sweet and delicious. She was thrilled to spoon some onto her plate! Inigo absolutely refused to taste them.
(Peas = Airheads candy rolled into small balls)
After blowing out the candles, we cut into the cake....
This left Inigo totally and completely deflated. What!?!? It's not really cake? It's meatloaf with pink mashed potatoes?
OH!!! THE HORROR!!!
Even Buttercup, who suspected what the cake was, wasn't thrilled. I used instant potatoes, which she can't stand because she has a history with them. (When she was younger we had to mix nasty tasting medicine into them.) And no one in my family is ever thrilled when I make meatloaf.
Max can stomach meatloaf once or twice a year, so I was happy that he wasn't gagging over the meal.
To be truthful, the meal wasn't as horrible as Inigo's face says. (I thought the meatloaf tasted pretty good!!) He just couldn't get his brain to wrap around the oddity of pink potatoes. He had a little taste of them and acknowledged that they wasn't as gross as he thought, but he couldn't get his mouth to close over that fork! Unfortunately, he went to bed hungry!
Buttercup did very well and cleaned her plate. She only made a gaggy face because, well, that's what teenagers do! (She was also looking forward to having ice cream after dinner and knew if she didn't eat she wouldn't get any!)
Was this year's meal a success? Max would think so! He ate more than half of that pink potato birthday cake! Buttercup would even say yes. Inigo, who still has some things to learn about the concept of April Fool's Day, would probably ask me to NEVER cook like that again.
I guess that means I'm going to do it again next year!! Watch out family!!!
The conversation over the dinner table included the lesson on eating what is put before you; that the cook spent lots of time preparing the meal and that it's rude to say, "OH GROSS!" and make gagging noises. It's especially rude to rush off to the bathroom and fake throw up in the middle of the meal. (Yes, it happened!)
I mentioned to Inigo that I thought that maybe he should cook dinner one night and see how much work is involved and maybe he would be more compassionate towards the cook.
Lo and behold, unbeknown to me, tonight he conspired with Max to cook dinner! He decided to make spaghetti, which is quite hilarious because I feel about spaghetti the same way I feel about pizza. I HATE IT!!!! The question was; do I let him know how it feels to have someone say they hate your meal? Or do I choke down the spaghetti and let him think that I loved every bite of it.
You know what I chose... don't you? I ate every bite of that spaghetti (minus one) with nary a gagging noise coming from me. He was so proud of his accomplishment.... and I was proud of him for being 7 years old and wanting to cook dinner!
Unfortunately, he cooked a few too many noodles. But, he's a growing boy! He ate them anyway!