I had a day off this week and decided to finally try that Mug o' Spam recipe. Spam? you're wondering. The precooked meat product disparaged the world over?
Yes that one, squished together with Rice Krispies and an egg and some other random ingredients (vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar) and then microwaved, in a mug.
There are things I do for no reason other than to say I did them — skydiving, rock climbing, parasailing, natural childbirth. I consider it adventurous and one of my better qualities.
Mug o' Spam, you say? Winner of the Great American SPAM Championship at the Kansas State Fair?
You had me at "Mug o'."
Fortunately my friend Debbi is keen on adventure and not averse to canned meat — plus she had Rice Krispies in her cupboard — so I invited her over to help. She did most of the mushing while I blended the "sauce," and we thumbed through magazines while the microwave churned.
I'd like to say the resulting dish was surprisingly scrumptious. But it looked, quite simply, like pureed evil. In a mug. With ketchup.
Debbi and I each took a little bite because, as we tell our children, YOU HAVE TO. Then we offered some to the kids, who ran away shrieking, gave a bit to the dog, threw the rest out and washed the mugs.
"Why," my son asked, "would you ever make that in a million bajillion years?"
"Why not?" I answered.
"That doesn't seem like a good reason."
Of course it is, I wanted to argue, and thought of Amelia Earhart, who said, "Adventure is worthwhile in itself." But look what happened to her.
There's a fine line, I realized, between bravery and recklessness, and encouraging children to be bold is a delicate matter. Would today's Mug o' Spam be tomorrow's cigarette? Gunplay? Joyride down Kellogg at 100 miles an hour? Is "try anything once" a responsible philosophy for moms to advocate?
But you can drive yourself crazy with that sort of thing, so I stopped right there.
"It's Spam," I said simply. "Not poison."
Jack walked away and grumbled, "That's your opinion."
Update — My friend Katie, whose gestational impatience I related in last week's column, gave birth to a daughter, Lillian, early Sunday.
Lillian was born quickly and, despite her mother's vehement predictions to the contrary, without medication. Because after all that waiting and pacing and wishing and wondering, there was — get this — no time.