Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sweets to the Sweet

Strawberry Shortcake. Yummertime in the summertime.

Picture polka-dotted fruit with big happy smiles holding hands with pink-haired girls,and you’ve got yourself nothing like the dessert your mama used to make.

I’m not sure my granddaughters even think of fruit and whipped cream when I ask if they want strawberry shortcake. But I’m positive I’m not dreaming about Berry Bitty Adventures whenever the name comes up. Have you ever seen the line-up of characters in one of these cartoons? Lemon Meringue, Blueberry Muffin, Raspberry Torte, and Plum Pudding.

What we have here is a generation gap and a serious sugar craving.

My husband and I got to babysit last night. There we were, anchored down on the sofa by cuddly granddaughters, cozy blankets and a wiggly twenty-six month-old grandson who doesn’t care if a doll comes with blue hair or a camo shirt.

As long as it can be thrown across the room, it’s a ball.

The girls had permission to watch some TV with us, and they chose Strawberry and her team of short cakes. I have to admit, this is a gang of characters who have staying power. They’ve been around for about thirty-five years and, even though my baby sister played with them and so did my daughter, I’m still confused about why little girls love them so much.

With one hand on my grandson’s foot and arms around both of his sisters, I did my best to follow the plot of last night’s cinematic masterpiece while I played a seated version of Twister. Apparently the Berrykins, who tend the strawberry patch, were too little for some clothes Blueberry Muffin wanted them to wear so she magically sprayed then with glittery perfume and they transformed into Super Fruits.

Somehow this threw off the delicate balance of life in Berry Bitty City and then my grandson fell off the couch and I missed the climactic ending and now I'll never know if the GMO strawberries are still sweet or if they left the Berry Bitty City to go eat Tokyo.

What ever happened to the Flintstones and Mickey Mouse?  Those were my people.

Never mind. Since the most provocative thing Strawberry Shortcake ever wears is a big smile, I’m grateful for her innocent influence and lack of boyfriend characters. What would those be called, anyway—Captain Crunch? Lucky Charm? Pop Tart?

Gives me the shivers.

So I cuddled the girls and let Chief corral his grandson and then my mind began to wander. I know, hard to believe, considering the Academy Award worthy film in front of me. If I wanted to be known by a dessert name instead of YaYa, I wondered, what would I like to be called? Well, obviously, chocolate-something. Peppermint Mocha or Chocolate Fudge or Lindt Truffle. 


Practically in a sugar coma now, I decided to ask the girls for their opinions.

“If I were a character on Strawberry Shortcake,” I said suddenly, interrupting their viewing pleasure, “I think I’d want to be called Chocolate Cake. Allie," I asked the five-year-old, "what dessert name would you like to be called?"

She sat transfixed by the fascinating plot unfolding on the TV screen, but she’s pretty smart—she knows if she gives me any answer, I’ll stop asking questions and let her watch her movie. I think she’s been taking lessons from Chief.

Without even looking away from the video, she said, “Chocolate Chip Cookie.”

Right. Well, that’s what everyone would like to be called. She wasn’t even trying. I gave up and turned my attention to the three-year-old.

“Juliet,” I said, “what dessert name would you choose for yourself?” I questioned.

Juliet’s face was barely visible in the crook of my arm, and the blue fuzzy blanket she was curled up under muffled her voice a little, but she’s a quick learner. Following her big sister’s lead, she gave me the answer she knew would let her finish watching TV in peace.

“Chicken Nuggets,” she said, and then popped her fingers back in her mouth.

Nothing shuts up a nosy grandmother like a rhetorical answer to a ridiculous question. Bet she learned that from Strawberry Shortcake.

For two little cutie pies, they're both a couple of smart cookies.

Photo courtesy of Sunfrog1's photostream at

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