Thursday, January 17, 2013

The meaning of words

During dinner last night, we somehow got onto the subject of people who cheat and steal.  The conversation continued as I served dessert, which was pumpkin custard.

Youngest Daughter, who seems to be inheriting her father’s sharp cynicism, exclaimed, “There’s always somebody belching off the system!”

Me:  Belching?  I don’t think that’s the right word.
Son:  I do not think that word means what you think it means.
Husband:  Inconceivable!
Son:  Oh, yeah… when is Uncle J going to return our copy of The Princess Bride?
YD:  I said BILCHING!  That’s the word Daddy used!
Husband:  I said bilking.   Bilking the system.  By the way, what does ‘perfunctory’ mean?
Me:  It means doing something in a rote way, like you don’t really care if you’re doing a good job.
Husband:  (looks at me doubtfully)
Me:  Would you like me to get the dictionary?
Husband:  Yes.
Me:  (with a certain degree of outrage) Dad doesn’t believe my definition.  I don’t believe Dad when he tells me that Senator Ted Kennedy wanted to ban bathtubs, but Dad doesn’t believe me when I define a word properly! 

(My tone of voice adequately conveys the ridiculousness of my husband’s assertions, and the rightness of mine. I guess I should let my outrage at the assertion about bathtubs and Sen. Kennedy fade, since he is dead, but I just can’t let it go. I’ve been watching Season 2 of Downton Abbey, which makes me feel unduly righteous, for some reason. I fetch the dictionary.)

YD: Every day somebody dies in a bathtub.
Husband:  SEE?!
(I bring the dictionary to the kitchen table. I ask myself how my sheltered child would know a statistic like that.)
Me: “Perfunctory: 1a.  Done merely for the sake of getting through a duty. 1b. done in a cursory or careless manner.  2. Superficial; mechanical.”
(I look in triumph at my husband.)  SEE?
YD (looking at a picture on the opposite page):  What’s that?
Maybe this would look better on Colin Firth?

Me:  That is a two-horned periwig!  Son, get a load of this hairstyle for men!

Son: (looks and chokes)

(YD’s obsession with all things biological allows her to spot another picture on the dictionary page, this time of something that is clearly anatomical.)

YD:  But what is that?
Me:  We are NOT going to look at that while we are eating.
YD:  Why not?  What is it?
(As I snap the dictionary shut, I catch a glimpse of the word ‘peristalsis’ above the illustration.)
Me:  We are definitely not talking about that right now.
Husband:  Why not?  We’re finished eating our cumpkin pustard!

At the mention of pus, our meal is definitely ended.

Just for the record, the scientists in the family (that is, everybody but me) think that peristalsis is a perfect topic for the dinner table.  You could do a live demonstration!  At least the dictionary did not have an illustration of the word ‘peritonitis.’

Happy eating, everyone!

Baked Pumpkin Custard

Weight Watchers Community Posted Recipe
Posted on 1/16/2013 by LEAFMONSTER

This is basically pumpkin pie without the crust.

4 Weight Watchers PointsPlus Value
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 75 min
Serves: 8

3/4 cups sugar  
1/2 tsp table salt  
1 tsp ground cinnamon  
1/2 tsp ground ginger  
1/4 tsp ground cloves  
2 eggs  
15 oz canned pumpkin  
1 1/4 cup(s) fat-free evaporated milk (= 12 fluid ounces = 1 can)  

Mix together sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a small bowl.

Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evap. milk.

Pour into custard dish or empty pie dish. Bake in preheated 425 F oven for 15 minutes. Then reduce temp to 350 F and bake for 30 to 50 minutes longer or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. 


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I adore your people--and thank goodness you aren't belching the system--though after dinner you might need to...

The Crislers said...

I love that someone else feels the need to thump the dictionary onto the supper table because their husband doubts their vocabulary. Your dictionary looks way cooler than ours, though; I'm a little envious over here.

Cassi Renee said...

Great conversations :-) I think we need to watch The Princess Bride with Emma again --she was a bit too young to catch all the goodness the first time.

Just yesterday evening, munching on popcorn and watching an episode of Bones, Rob wondered out loud why we chose to eat while watching that show.