First off, let me say that I do not judge you one way or the other if you lick the beaters after mixing a cake or brownies or some such thing. Of course, that’s a wee bit of a lie, but I feel like I must say it. Mostly because as you might have guessed, I do not lick the beaters. Yes, you read that right. I am not a beater-licker.
And that’s probably one of the more decisive ways of categorizing people, isn’t it? Those who lick the beaters and those who do not.
I’m not opposed to the concept of licking the beaters. In fact, if whatever is coating the beaters happens to be egg-free, then I happily join the ranks of the beater lickers. So my aversion to beater-licking is more of an issue with raw eggs. Because ick. The slime factor, even when beaten into lovely submission is still there. Lurking. (No small wonder where Biggest gets his food texture aversion issues.)
I proudly raised my children to avoid touching their tongues to raw egg infused beater licking opportunities. Yes, I can tell a salmonella poisoning tale as well as the rest of ’em. However, a sad day occurred which ended my reign of food pathogen fear. That day has my mother-in-law’s name written all over it. This is a woman who thinks nothing of snitching a bit of biscuit dough from the bowl, of taste-testing the Thanksgiving roll dough, and, of course, of licking the beaters after mixing up a batch of brownies. And she encouraged my children to follow her lead. Gasp, the gall of the free-spirited woman!
All this is to say, my daughter licked the beaters in front of me last night. And I let her.
And I let her, not because I’m overcoming my raw egg (organic, of course) aversion.
No, I let her out of sheer orneriness towards my childhood in poverty.
You see, I didn’t learn to lick the beaters as a child because by the time my mother got finished scraping every last bit of whatever she was making into its pan, licking the beater wasn’t worth the effort of contorting my tongue around the beater bits. I wasn’t raised to be a beater licker because I wasn’t raised to know that level of “excess”.
And last night, as Middlest made her first 100% solo batch of brownies (I know, I coddle them), I let myself enjoy the abject joy she had over licking the beaters off and never knowing the feeling of poverty.
The poverty of my early childhood didn’t look like holes in shoes or swollen naked bellies. Instead, it looked like the constant searching for every last bit that could be used whether that was in a pan of cornbread or change to buy food at the grocery. My childhood poverty looked like frugality and the boringness of a bowl of bean soup for the third night in a row. My childhood poverty looked like pants six inches too short, every spring.
Because of Mister Soandso, my children don’t know that poverty. We’ve had times that looked too similar to it for my anxiety’s ease, but they have never known a time when there wasn’t a bit of chocolate gooeyness to lick from the beaters.
And thank the gods that that is our truth now, because I know too well how quickly all that can change.
So what does licking the beaters off say about you? Besides you have some wicked tongue dexterity and a reckless disregard for food borne illnesses? I think it shows that you believe there will always be enough. That you are a believer in savoring the good and having hope and a damn good sense of carpe diem. And that is the gift my life with Mister Soandso has given my children…a belief that everything will be okay, in spite of life’s raw eggs.