King Sticky Fingers

Vincenzo has been teaching himself to make popping boba lately, which, he insists, has nothing to do with the sticky refrigerator handle or the sticky stuff all over the cabinet fronts, or the floor that makes a sliiick, sliiick, sliiick sound when we walk on it. It certainly has nothing to do with my good dish towels being smudged with mango-colored fingerprints. They’re so sugar-stiff they stand up on their own when you set them on the counter. Vincenzo is like King Midas, only instead of turning everything into gold, he turns everything sticky.

The other night I spent 45 minutes trying to help him mix xanthan gum into water to thicken it. It kept clumping. I went to the Internet for help, but no matter what we tried (making a slurry, using the blender, pushing it through a sieve, heating the water, adding less, adding more), nothing worked. Then Kevin walked in, looked at the same website I had open, and said to use an immersion blender. It worked.

“Thanks, Dad!” Vincenzo said.

I balked. “I just spent 45 minutes helping. Dad only helped for like 20 seconds. I even opened the webpage he used! And he gets all the thanks?!”

“Oh. Thanks, Mom,” Vincenzo said.

I sniffed.

Then I told him about the time I brought Kevin to dinner at my parents’ shortly after we started dating. I made a blackberry reduction sauce to go with dessert and Kevin helped stir it a teensy tiny bit.  When it was dessert time, Kevin set the sauce on the table with a flourish and announced, “Here’s a blackberry reduction sauce. I made it myself.”

I looked at him, eyes popping. “What? I picked the blackberries! I found the recipe! I measured the ingredients and boiled it down! I only asked you to stir it for ten seconds!” But he continued to take credit for it and bask in the compliments my family was thickly laying on him.

“Watch out,” I said. “Keep this up and I’ll dump you and you’ll never see my family again.”

Then my Dad said, “No; if you dump him, we’ll never see you again.”

It has been a very long 18 years of marriage.

I told this all to Vincenzo, who was by then demonstrating how he thoroughly cleans up his boba messes by wiping the counters with a clean dish towel. I have been trying to break him of this habit for several months. He thinks I’m acting crazy.

“That’s what dish towels are there for!” he asserted.

I explained for the hundredth time that Dobies are for cleaning messes; dish towels for drying clean hands and dishes.

“Okay,” Vincenzo said, but it sounded more like, “Whatever.” He would have given Kevin a “she’s crazy, but we love her anyway” look, except Kevin had disappeared after his heroic 20 second appearance.

“I will now find a NON DISH TOWEL to clean the counters with,” he announced, looking around like maybe there was an TV audience laughing at his mom’s unreasonableness.

“Exactly!” I said. When he went for the Dobie, I sneak-stirred his boba mixture a couple times so I could take credit for the popping boba when it’s finished.

After three days, 27 messes, and lots of nagging about the Tupperwares of yellowish goo in the fridge, I present to you, with a grand flourish…


Oh never mind.

I’m going to go wash some dish towels.

Biscuits & gravy

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