Tales from the Dork Side: Licking Things and Cooking Lessons

I’m trying hard to break my habit of licking things. I’m referring less to random objects and more to things found in my kitchen, like lips of jars, stuff dripping down sides of bottles, and silverware.

I was keenly unaware that I have this nasty habit until I witnessed Gadget doing it one day. I watched over him as he made sourdough toast. He’s a slob, sort of like me. I taught him well. His first offense was leaving the bread wrapper open (which he actually learned from his dad, as I’m more of a fan of bread that is edible, not tooth-cracking stale). A good mom would use this as a teaching opportunity to clean up after oneself, but I just wrapped it back up myself while he buttered his toast.

He spread a tiny little glob of butter on one corner. Why kids are incapable of getting the proper amount of butter on the knife the first go-round is something I never understood. You get one BIG glob of butter, spread it all over the place, and you’re done. I was expecting him to scoop out a second glob without pause and finish the job, but he doesn’t roll that way. After buttering that little corner of his toast, he wrapped his slobbery little lips around the end of the butter knife and licked it clean. I began to protest and tried to grab it away to replace it with a fresh knife, but he did a ninja move and stabbed the spitty knife back into the butter.

Me: Gadget, no! Gross!

Gadget: It’s okay, Mom. It’s just spit.

Me: It’s slobbery spit! Spit doesn’t belong in butter, because then we all have to eat your spit.

Gadget: Quit talking to me, Mom!

Me: Where did you pick up that disgusting habit anyway? From Eeth? From Dad? Oh my god, boys are gross.

Luckily the butter dish was pretty close to being empty, so I started a new butter dish and left the remaining spit-butter for Gadget to use on future toast.

Later that day Gadget made toast again. It was smelling pretty good, making me hungry. I called across the house to see if Eeth also wanted something to eat. We agreed that cooking would take too long, wanting something more immediate to fill our grumbling bellies. We decided on a very simple tuna salad. As I fetched a couple of cans from the pantry I spied Gadget licking the butter knife again and silently damned his dad for teaching him that.

Eeth: Mom! Can you also make me an almond butter and jelly sandwich?

A young teen and nearly six feet tall, Eeth is endlessly hungry. He can throw down a sandwich, some tuna salad, a three-egg omelette, some chicken legs, and a bowl of cereal like nobody’s business, all in one sitting. Sometimes I imagine him as a large snake unhinging his jaw to throw in a couple of small goats (if snakes had arms with which to throw) and choking it all down inch by inch with that slow, snakey peristalsis, then stuffing in a medium-size guinea pig for good measure.

Me: Yeah, I’ll make you a sandwich!

Eeth: Thanks, Mom! And some chicken!?

Me: Sigh.

So I got the bread out, two slices, and felt smug as I wrapped it back up. I opened the almond butter and scooped the knife through it ONE time because I wasn’t going to do a double-dip like Gadget. I spread the almond butter top to bottom, side to side, and then opened the strawberry jam. Then, to prevent contaminating the jam with the almond butter, I licked the knife to clean it off. I went to scoop up some jam, but before the knife fully entered the jar I realized my faux pas. I threw the knife in the sink and acquired a fresh knife. I scooped up some jam and mid-spread some fell off the bread onto the floor, so I scooped up some more jam, finished spreading, then licked the knife.

Eeth: Mom! Can you cut that in half?

I threw the knife in the sink and grabbed a new knife, cut the sandwich in half, and delivered it to Eeth.

Eeth: And what about that tuna salad?

So I went back to the kitchen to make the tuna salad, and I’ll share here how I made it.

Two bowls, two forks.

Two cans of tuna.


Sweet relish.

Open two cans of tuna. With one fork, scoop contents of each can into individual bowls. Lick fork. Throw fork in sink.

Get second fork for mayo. Plop one big glob of mayo into one bowl of tuna and clean fork by licking it.


Get another fork. Plop one big glob of mayo into other bowl of tuna. Stir both bowls of tuna with same fork.

Get relish. Get spoon. Stir one spoonful of relish into one bowl of tuna. Move spoon towards mouth… crap! Get new spoon.

Stir second spoonful of relish into second bowl of tuna with new spoon, and don’t fucking lick anything.

Get two new forks just in case, and add one fork to each bowl. Begin delivery of one bowl of tuna salad to Eeth, accidentally flip tuna-covered fork onto floor in transit. Declare five-second rule. Wipe fork on pants.

Serves two.

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