Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fifth Grade Fruit Smoothie

Parenting is pretty much all about making mistakes and then hoping against hope that you don't screw up your kids in the process.  And so it was that my youngest daughter asked me last Fall to sign her up for a cooking class.  Seemed like a good idea, but the thing was that I had to sign a permission slip in order for her to participate.  Unfortunately, I'm an attorney, and I actually do read the damn things.  Mistake No. 1. 

The permission slip required that I waive any liability for negligence.  Without getting into a whole treatise on tort law (in a cooking blog, no less), suffice it to say that this is a pretty big deal.  Waiving negligence means, for example, that if the cooking teacher decides to take a call from her boyfriend at the exact minute that my daughter wonders whether you can flip a hamburger with your fingers, and as a result she gets 3rd degree burns on three fingers of her writing hand, I can't blame the teacher's failure to supervise.   Or more pointedly, I can't sue based on that fact.  Waiving simple negligence seemed--at the time--like a pretty scary thing to do, particularly with something as eminently precious as one of my children.  I mean, if you're going to teach her to do anything that involves flames and hot objects, you better be damn well sure you aren't negligent in the process.  So I did what any good lawyer would do: I made changes to the contract--er, I mean,the permission slip.  Mistake No. 2.

Turns out the very people who asked me to sign the said permission slip have their own crack pot attorney who reviews them.  Carefully, it turns out--especially when a parent has the audacity to change them.  And when said attorney sees that I've amended  the permission slip, and stuck in the word "not" right between the words "will" and "waive" as in "will not waive negligence,"  well, he or she did what any good lawyer would do under the circumstances:  denied my child admission to the class.  It's what we call in the law a "contract of adhesion."  It's what normal people call "my way, or the highway."   Ultimately, I had a decision to make:  sign the permission form as is or don't enroll my daughter in the class.  I stood on principle; I refused to sign the form and passed on the class.  Mistake No. 3.
Enter one screaming crying 10-year-old who wants to know why she can't cook after school with her friends.  Try to explain to her the concept of negligence.  Mistake No. 4. 

At some point after the screaming subsided, I realized to my chagrin that I had completely and utterly screwed up.  Not only was I doing my level best to perpetuate the legal profession's bad reputation, but I completely missed an opportunity to share with my daughter something that I truly love to do--cook.  Worse, all I had taught her was to be afraid to take even the most minor of risks.  I mean, really, even 3rd degree burns will eventually heal. Thankfully, mercifully, they offered the class again in the Spring.  Perhaps one day only a high-priced therapist will be able to unravel the mess I've created, but this time, fortunately, my mistake was easy to fix.  All I had to do was sign the stupid permission slip.

And when I did, my daughter came home with this marvelous little recipe.               

Fifth-Grade Smoothie
1.  Get out the blender.  Remind your daughter not to put her fingers near the blades and to secure the lid while the motor is running.  Watch as she rolls her eyes and advises you that she knows that already. 

2.  Add 8 ounces of plain or vanilla yogurt.

3. Add 1 cup of low-fat milk.

4.  Throw in at least one cup of your favorite fruit, although berries and/or bananas work best.

5.  Add a packet of Equal, a Tbs of sugar, or a Tbs of honey, because you want your children to eat it.

6.  Secure the blender lid.  I know, I know, you know that already.  Push any of the buttons because they will all blend fruit, yogurt, and milk.


  1. As always, a great commentary and an appealing recipe. I LOVE this blog!!!

  2. (snicker) Scott amends contracts the school sends home all the time. I'm glad we're not the only ones. Also, if you want you can try some orange juice to sweeten instead of sugar and ice instead of milk - hardly matters, that's just what we do. We've been on a Smoothie kick lately too!

  3. I WAS going to say that Iwas going to make this one with the Perfect Grandchildren, but it looks like (darn it, Stephanie!) they already make them. I might make it for myself. Sounds yummy!