Sunday, January 30, 2011

Into Each Life, Some Poop Must Fall.

As I write this, some 1,000 birds are twittering and fluttering around our driveway. OK. Maybe not literally 1,000. But it does resemble a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." Literally, there are a couple hundred robins out there. Usually, I spy robins in onesies and twosies, so an entire flock might have been a breathtaking sight – except that a couple hundred winged red breasts brings a couple thousand plum-colored splatters. My little white 5-speed looks as if it’s been in a food fight with a case of Smucker’s finest. And the driveway could double as the set where Lucille Ball went foot first into the winemaking business.

Even the sides of our detached garage are spattered with droppings, which makes me wonder what’s going on in those little bird brains. Have our feathered friends found some diabolical way to fling -- or even fire -- their droppings? Or are a stalwart few taking one for the team – kamikaze style – flying directly into the wooden planks, just to deposit their distinctive purple stain for posterity?

It’s temporary, I know, but until the robins move on to juicier grounds, we've been forced to adapt. Son and Darling Daughter have taken to using the infamous “duck and cover” maneuver when making the treacherous 10-step trip from the car to the house. The driveway is no longer a makeshift basketball court. And I only cart groceries into the house under the cover of darkness -- when the winged purple bombers have retired for the night.

Grimly, we’re avoiding the driveway. Most of us, that is.

We spend a good part of dinnertime Chez Wiles fending off Josie-the-rescue-dog and Lionel-the-fourteen-pound-feline. Josie sniffs and prances, endlessly hopeful that a tidbit will fall – accidentally or otherwise -- from someone’s plate. Lionel sits in an unoccupied chair, squinting at the water bottle pointed squarely at his nose, knowing that he'll be spritzed the instant he lays a delicate paw on the counter.

As Josie bustled from one diner to another, I realized a bit of food had fallen on her back. Um.  Ick.  Smuckers-colored “food.” After registering the initial shock, I thought the kids would bust a gut.

Yep. Josie had been “hit.”

Better her than me, I suppose. Still, the story left me struggling to come up with a recipe for today. But then, it came to me. Grilled PBJs.

When I was a kid, I used to make them all the time for my younger brother and sister.  I got the recipe from my very first cookbook, aptly titled, "The Kids Cookbook."  We loved these sandwiches with their crispy outsides, warm melty peanut butter and the inevitable jelly splatter. Those PB&Js were, pardon the pun, the “bomb.”

Not literally of course. But close enough.

Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

wheat bread (growing up, we used "Roman Meal" brand)
peanut butter
softened butter 

Heat a nonstick skillet to medium high heat.  Make your PB&J, spreading softened butter on the outsides of the sandwich.  Place in skillet and "grill" on each side, until lightly toasted.  Serve warm.  With napkins.
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