Recently, two of my girlfriends and I were swapping horror stories.
Sue was bursting to tell her story first. Sue is my friend from my Thursday night/Saturday morning Chemist days when we both started working at the same pharmacy on the same day when we were about 14. Sue didn’t get married until she was 41. When she was 42 her husband proudly told his ex-girlfriend that his wife was pregnant. The very-single-much-younger-ex-girlfriend with no children of her own then said to him, ‘at her age I bet you were surprised she had any eggs left’.
Then Claire told one of her stories. Claire is a friend of mine from school. After marrying at 30, Claire had three 10-pound babies in less than five years. Three months after the birth of her third whopping boy she went to see her oldest child in the school’s Easter Hat Parade. She was standing talking to her son’s teacher when another mother from the class came up and said, ‘hi Claire, when’s the baby due?’ And Claire turned to her and said very directly, ‘I had the baby in January. I’m not pregnant, just fat’.
Not to be outdone, I then told them one of my stories. Last year I was dragging Alfie, who was five at the time, around the supermarket. I hadn’t dressed for the outing as it was early in the morning and I was hoping to rush in, grab a can of oven cleaner, then rush home to spray it around.
I was standing in the queue at the Express Check-out with Alfie who was throwing himself around like a Jumping-Jack firecracker when a woman queued behind me. I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that it was Arabella’s teacher from Year 1. I hadn’t seen her for about 10 years as she retired a few years after teaching Arabella. ‘Oh, hi Lyn, how are you?’ I asked with a big and happy smile on my face.
Lyn was studying me and my little Jumping Jack when she said, ‘I’m really well and is this your grandson?’
My face just froze. Did she say, ‘grandson’? I couldn’t believe it. How much had I aged since Arabella was in Year 1? I recovered enough to say, ‘no, Archie and Arabella haven’t started breeding yet. They’re still in school. This is their little brother.’ And what amazed me about all of this most is that she didn’t seem at all phased by her blooper.
Some of these incidents are genuine cases of foot-in-mouth disease while others are a deliberate attempt to be vicious. Regardless, I would rather be mistaken or insulted for being fat, female, fertile and forty than a little old granny shopping with her grandson.
Perhaps I am morphing into a little old granny as I have purchased a granny trolley and it is this purchase (made in 2011) that has brought me the most happiness. How did I ever live without one? Even Carl loves it. After he returned from his first expedition to the shops with the granny trolley he said excitedly, ‘Did you know it fits a whole case of beer?’ Then he pulled the case of Corona’s from the trolley as if to prove his point. Useful indeed. We’re both fighting over it.
When I move my trolley past a granny wheeling her trolley she gives me a knowing smile like we are both part of the same secret society. It’s as if she’s saying to me, ‘Ah you young ones, you finally get it’.
So morph into a granny and get yourself a granny trolley. You can buy them from The Essential Ingredient where they are very stylish and come in a rainbow of pretty colours and designs but cost around $115.00. I bought mine from the local hardware store for about $50.00 and look; they even come in colours to match your shoes!
Feeling old during the week we are allowed to consume chocolate with reckless abandon has caused me to choose an old-fashioned recipe that features chocolate. Who could pass up one or two pieces of chocolate caramel slice?
There are many recipes around for this famous and greatly desired slice but I can’t do better than the recipe I found in Issue 51 of the Donna Hay Magazine. You can make this slice using just 8 easy to obtain ingredients and all will fit easily into your very smart granny trolley.
Chocolate Caramel Slice
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: Very reasonable. You can make all 15 squares for what it would cost you to buy 2 squares in a cafe.
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
125g melted butter
1/3 cup golden syrup
2 x 395g tins sweetened condensed milk
200g dark cooking chocolate
1 tbspn vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 20cm x 30cm lamington tin with 1 sheet of baking paper. Mix together the flour, coconut and brown suger. Mix in the melted butter. Press into tin and bake in the oven for 20-25mins until golden brown.
While the base is cooking, place the golden syrup, condensed milk and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Do not allow water to touch the bowl. Stir constantly for 5-7 mins until the butter has melted and the caramel has thickened slightly. Pour over base and cook in oven for 20 mins. Refrigerate until set.
Melt chocolate and oil in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering bowl. Pour over caramel and allow to set.
Using baking paper, lift slice from tin and cut into 15 squares.