The kids are passing hot rolls, slathering them with butter, when the oldest, age 7, asks, “Is this butter homemade?”
“Pardon?” I say.
“Is this butter homemade?”
I’m baffled. I hope making butter isn’t something grandmas are doing today, because this grandma isn’t making homemade butter.
“No, it’s not homemade,” I say, cautiously.
“Oh. We make our own butter.” The disapproval is palpable.
“Yeah, we made butter at school,” another one says, offering me a look of pity.
Just let it go, Grandma. Let it go. But I can’t let it go. “Did you make your own butter churns, too?”
“No, we just shook it real hard in a plastic container with a lid.”
“Really? That will make butter?”
“Yeah!” they chorus. (Duh, Grandma!)
The 3-year-old knocks over a glass of milk and the 2-year-old makes a break for it. I clean up the milk, nab the 2-year-old and return to the table, when they hit me again.
“Is this bread homemade?”
“It’s kind of homemade,” I say. “I brought it home from the store and made sure it got to the table so, yes, it’s homemade.”
“Oh.” The response is again tinged with letdown.
“My mom makes homemade bread,” one of them offers.
“Our mom makes homemade bread, too!”
I’m thinking to myself, “Where do you kids live? Little House on the Prairie?”
There’s a request for more turkey when a wise-acre at the grown-up table hollers, “Is the turkey homemade? Did you butcher it, yourself, Grandma?”
Thankfully, I’m sharing the piano bench with a 2-year-old who doesn’t talk much yet. It’s my safe space. Then she taps my arm, holds up her empty milk glass and says, “Ome-ade?”
I moo. She moos back.
I return with more milk and turkey as the kids are passing the jam (one is eating jam directly from his hand) when someone says, “This jam is good.”
I’m waiting for it.
“What kind of jam is it?” Still waiting.
“It’s raspberry,” I say.
“Oh! I like raspberry!”
“I like raspberry, too!”
Finally. I dodge one and perhaps regain a point or two as a grandma who can cook. I tell the one who was eating jam directly out of his hand not to talk with his mouth full and he fires back—“Is the jam homemade?”
“Yes. It was made in the home of a woman named Smuckers.”
All in all, it is a good meal. They all ask to be excused before leaving the table and carry their dishes to the sink. All that is left behind are layers of crumbs on the floor next to my deflated ego.