Basic ingredients for Slopmadoodle:
4-5 cups dirt, finely crumbled
1-3 cups water
Bits of grass and privet leaves
Small paper sack with flour
Wesson Oil (best) or Crisco
Small sticks in tiny pieces
3 eggs, or as many as you can get your hands on
Ketchup, mayonaise, mustard (optional)
It's best to make slopmadoodle when you're four or five, Kalli, in an out-of-the-way spot in the backyard of your best friend, with your best friend. It helps if she's also your next-door neighbor.
This should be someone you think you might still be best friends with, oh say, fifty or more years down the road. However, making slopmadoodle may test your friendship. And it will certainly reveal your innate criminal nature. But I get ahead of myself and the recipe.
If you don't have a proper bowl (snuck out of one of your mothers' kitchen cupboards because if either of them hears the word "slopmadoodle" they lock down the house, especially the kitchen) then dig a hole in the ground with a little shovel, a knife or spoon, or your bare hands.
Once you've figured out your container, you're ready to start.
Besides dirt, slopmadoodle requires water, so you'll need a garden hose that reaches all the way to your "staging area" hooked to the spigot, or an old bucket filled with water. Be careful not to slosh the water out of the bucket as you drag it to your mud hole or you may have to start over.
It's best to do this in shorts or a bathing suit and by all means barefoot. Squooshing mud between your fingers toes is one of the most glorious things about being four or five.
Next, you need to decide who goes into their house for ingredients like oil, flour, peanut butter, chocoloate sauce or anything else you think might be a good addition. Both of you pull up grass and sticks and tear them into small pieces and lay them beside the hole.
Someone has to voluteer to get the most important ingredient eggs from their mother's kitchen. This is a very tough assignment and often present the greatest challenge for four-year-olds. Mothers refuse to send eggs outside with small children who are up to great mischief, and covered from head to toe with dirt and mud. Eggs are impossible to get, if you've ever accidentally dropped them on the kitchen floor or on the back steps.
Sometimes you have to begin without all the necessary ingredients. It's best to just get started. One must learn to improvise, even at a young age. This serves you well later in life, as, in the words of Mick Jagger, we can't always get what we want.
Mixing the ingredients
Take three or four cups of dirt, preferably without worms or rocks. Put the dirt in the bowl or mud hole and begin to slowly, S-L-O-W-L-Y, add water. There's no need to rush this process because once your parents find out what you're doing, they'll forbid you to do it again for months, if not years. So enjoy it while it lasts.
Sticks are great for stirring but if you're lucky enough to possess a kitchen spoon, then stir the dirt and water together and watch it turn into thick mud. DO NOT add too much water, or it gets too runny and ruins your wonderful mess.
With your basic mud and water mix, you're off to a good start. As you squat around the bowl or mud hole, you and your best friend talk about what to do next. A little flour? oil? a dash of grass for color? And of course, the most essential ingredient, eggs.
Eggs transform an ordinary hole of mud and water into Slop-ma-doodle. One can go without many items like chocolate or mayonaise, but to go without eggs, is unthinkable.
If you're lucky, you have eggs. And at the proper time, you crack them over the mud and watch them plop into the mix. Then you both stir your hearts out. Eggs hold everything together.
Soon you will take the mixture into you hands, shape it into balls and patties and then lay them out to dry in the sun, you may take the leftovers and add more water for slopmadoodle soup or sauce. Later you will come back to see the finished product and perhaps have a "tea party" featuring slopmadoodle cakes. You may even offer some to your mothers with pride.
All's well with the world; you've had a glorious day with your best friend. The slopmadoodle was the best you have ever made. It will take days to get all the mud out from under you fingernails and toes. But it was worth it.
Not got eggs?
But let's just say, both of you tried and failed to get eggs out your mother's refrigerators. You're covered with mud and your mixture is not yet "official" slopmadoodle. You put your four-year-old minds together. There's got to be a way to get eggs. But what is it?
Ahhhhh, and then you come up with a brillant idea: There's a neighbor---an older widow nearby---named Mrs. Cunningham, who's got to have eggs, and you're pretty sure you can pull the wool over her eyes. One of you will knock on her back door, tell her that your mother needs eggs right now, and has sent you over to get them. And mother needs as many eggs as Mrs. Cunningham can spare. But any amount will be do.
The only thing left is to decide who, which one of the felons, is brave enough to approach Mrs. Cunningham and pull off the heist. The two of you argue at length as to who goes. You're both terrified. But still, you really need those eggs.
One of you, the greater fool, agrees to go while the other, the lesser fool, hides and watches behind the privet hedge. You hold your breath. The plan goes flawlessly. You get three eggs and giggle all the way back to your mud hole. You knew you could fool Mrs. Cunningham and you were right. There would never, ever be a shortage of eggs for slopmadoodle again.
That is, until Mrs. Cunningham calls your mother (read that my mother, I being the greater fool in this story) to say the eggs are on the way and does she need anything else?
You've just cracked the last of her eggs in your slopmadoodle that day when you hear the dreaded words out of mother's voice from the back steps of your house, "Come home this minute! This minute!"
The moral of the story, er recipe
A moment of utter bliss suddenly turns to terror and despair in a matter of seconds. Life can be that way.
It is hard to describe the rest of your day. Terror strikes your heart and soul, you find it hard to move. You know you've been found out and are in for a switching when your father comes home from work. You will be forbidden from leaving the yard for days, if not years. You'll certainly will have to go back over to Mrs. Cunningham's and tell her what you did---to her face!--- and that you're sorry and mean it! Your goose is cooked, and you know that life will never be the same again.
For a while, you're life is indeed miserable. You're mortified you were caught red-handed. But years later, you look back at this episode with a little more gratitude. You realize you might be in a federal penitentiary somewhere as a hardened criminal today were it not for getting caught that day by Mrs. Cunningham, while making slopmadoodle. You laugh at yourself and wonder what your four-year-old mind was thinking.
Well, that's the recipe and the story you've been waiting to hear. I'll leave you with one more thing to remember as you grow up, whether it's making mistakes over slopmadoodle or something else.
The song, which I dedicate to you, my dear Kalli, and Mrs. Cunningham, says it far better than I can: You can't always get what you want in life. It's something well worth remembering.
And by the way, my partner in crime is and was your beautiful late mother's mother. She (Pat to me, Nanna to you) has been my best friend since we were two years old, and time, thousands of miles, fights, disagreements, divorce, death, tragedy and heartache hasn't changed it one bit. We still fight, forgive each other, laugh together at ourselves and each other and share all the blessings we have in our lives. You are one of them, Kalli. Can you imagine that? So without further ado, I give you Mick: