Family Secrets

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As a marriage progresses, family quirks tend to pop up in unexpected ways. Usually it’s advisable to tuck the knowledge of those quirks away onto a back shelf of your mind, never to be dusted off. Once you start focusing on the habits of your husband and his family, it’s a short road to certain unease.

For a time last year, Christian would create elaborate “foodscapes” for Fern’s lunches or desserts. It was one of his many creative phases that I think I may have to document via timeline in a future post.

Incidentally, that’s not supposed to be a turd on a tiny table. It was a chocolate birthday cake, duh.

(This one was a boat of people in the Hurricane Katrina flood on their way to join their loved ones on the graham cracker dock.)

Aren’t they darling? Yes, I thought so, too. At first. But then don’t you wonder what would possess a man to labor over such things? I mean, it seemed as if he weren’t actually wholly in control of these endeavors. What did it all mean? I couldn’t wrap my head around any of it, and decided to chalk it up to unbridled creativity.

Then Easter happened.

We arrived at my In-Laws’ for our yearly Easter celebration, and were admiring the lovely dishes being prepared. We hugged our hellos, and then I glanced down and beheld this:

Then this happened:

Which resulted in this!

(It took the kids a few tries to be able to wield the can of cheese with any grace.)

Again, at first I was smitten with them, but every so often I would look over, and one would seem to shift, or a carrot ear would twitch, and I became slightly uncomfortable. I finally accepted that glass of wine that had been previously offered. Maybe I was simply a bit frazzled from spending so much time indoors with a toddler. Perhaps I needed to relax a little.

But then what was that noise? Surely food-bunnies couldn’t giggle. Or was it more of a snicker? I followed the rest of the clan downstairs to nosh on appetizers, and decided to put the whole silly incident out of my mind. We chatted and joked and it wasn’t until I noticed the toothpick in my hand that I remembered the bunnies upstairs. I had eaten an olive and was twirling the toothpick distractedly between my fingers.

Offering a hasty excuse, I slunk upstairs under the guise of seeing what I could do to help prepare the Easter meal. My true mission was clear, however. I had to stop the menacing bunnies- maybe their little cream cheese heads and limpid clove eyes could fool the rest of the family, but I knew what happened when you turn food into a sentient being. Pure evil, that’s what happened.

As I helped with the preparations, I alternated gulps of more wine with poking each bunny in the head with my toothpick. I took great care to make sure I pierced each one clear through to the platter. My heart beat quickened as my sense of victory grew. When I was confident I had completed the job, I returned downstairs with a renewed sense of frivolity. Easter was back on!

Dinner was delightful. Everyone was jovial and I may have imbibed in a bit more wine. My devil-may-care attitude was obviously the direct result of conquering the enemy. After we were all positively busting at the seams, it was time for dessert. True story: My sister-in-law is a kick-ass baker. Her way with sugar, butter, flour and whatnots truly astounds and renders speechless all who partake in the results.

So imagine my absolute terror when I beheld her latest creation.

All I know is that I awoke 3 hours later at home, with a hair-thin string of drool stretched between my lower lip and the carpet. Had they won? Maybe this time. But those little bastards know what they can expect from me next time, toothpicks poised between each knuckle- I will not be defeated. No long-standing family custom will be my downfall, no matter how cute.

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