The Mouse and the Blowtorch

Have you ever had that experience where you give a child a gift and they run to you and wrap their arms around your neck?

And if you say yes, please tell me it was with children who you know or are related to. Please.

There’s a British treat called a sugar mouse. It’s a little sugar fondant candy shaped like…wait for it…wait for it…a mouse!

Child A loves sugar mice.  And a few years ago, I spotted some in a market and bought them for him for Christmas. We’d been home from our life in England a good three years by then, but when he opened up the package and saw the wee mice, he dropped them, ran to me and squashed me in a hug.

Those of you with boys know that that behavior becomes anathema for male children long before mom is ever ready to give it up. So I was thrilled.

Then Child A left the mice on his desk, hoarding them for some special mouse-eating occasion, and the ants got them.

I cannot tell you the magnitude of the bummer that was. Ever seen your eleven year old cry because the treat that meant the WHOLE WORLD to him was eaten by insects?

I hope you never, ever do. Scarred. Forever.

The next year I looked for sugar mice in the markets. Nope.

The year after that I looked for sugar mice. Nyet.

This year I was determined. I wanted the damned mice. I searched online. I found them. In England. $4 for a pack of mice and $26 to ship them.

$26 to ship 7 ounces of candy? Ummm, yeah. No. Unless you’re sending me a pound of Her Majesty’s Private Fudge I am not forkin’ over that sort of dough for mouse transport.

Fortunately, my dear friend Amy came to the rescue. Amy and I worked together at the hospital over in Kent. She’s a “physio.” (As they say over yonder.)

She found them. She shipped them.

Then I waited. And waited. And waited. Christmas came and went. No mice.

New Year’s came and went. No mice.

Around the 15th of January Amy asked if I’d gotten them, and I  heartbrokenly told her that no, they’d never arrived. Someone, somewhere was snacking on my son’s sugar mice.

But then, after I’d completely given up hope, a box arrived.

A box from England!

A box of four, lovely, pink and white, adorable, sugar mice!

Except…

(You knew there was going to be an “except,” right?)

The box, which had clearly been hanging out in customs for OVER A MONTH was unsealed. The mice inside, since Amy and her less than year-old-baby had scrambled to buy the mice and ship them, were in your typical sweet-shop paper bag. Also unsealed.

And I thought about that box being unsealed by someone reading the customs tag and saying, “Hmm…what’s a sugar mouse? Let me take a look? Let me play mouse chase with them! Look! I can juggle!”  and I could NOT let Child A eat those mice.

Again.

Sugarmouseless universe: 2
Mom desperate for hugs from her teenaged son: 0

But, I wanted him to know that I’d tried, so I showed him the box of mice and asked him to forgive me for not letting him eat them.

That night at dinner we discussed the tragedy of the inedible sugar mice. Himself and Child B looked at me and said, “Are you KIDDING? You’re not going to let him EAT THEM?”

I reviewed the juggled-by-leprosy-carrying-customs-agent scenario with them.

They were stymied only momentarily.

“We could rinse them off,” suggested the girl child.

“We could dip them in boiling water, really fast,” said Child B.

“We could soak them in brandy,” said Himself.

We all turned to start at him. “Who,” I asked, “do you then plan on allowing to eat the pickled mice?”

“It was just a suggestion.”

“We could flambé the mice,” I mused.

“Hey!” cried Child A, clearly alarmed by the idea of putting his mice to the match.

“But why not??” asked three other voices.

“I was kidding!” I said.

“But why wouldn’t that work??” asked everyone but Child A.

I thought about it. If we bruléed the mice like you’d brulée a crême then, conceivably, any cooties would be well destroyed.

“Ok,” I said, “but only if it’s okay with Child A. They’re his mice.”

We all turned to Child A. I could see desire to eat his treats warring with the idea of burning his mice at the stake.

“Ok.”

So we traipsed into the kitchen and lit the mini-blowtorch. We removed the little string tail and commenced to roast the rodent. Melt the mouse. We scorched those little buggers until….until…

Let’s just leave that part to the imagination. There’s no need to explore the gory details of edible vermin charring.

And according to the boy, they were delicious.

27 comments

  1. Ummmm…I have no words. Eating a brick…or should I say sugar mouse turns my stomach…but then again, I don’t have the stomach of a teenager.
    Yay you and being resourceful with a blow torch. Pure genius!

  2. I usually like stories that include a blowtorch and don’t end happily… but this was pretty good.
    You might just have to dig up a recipe for fondant and a mold that looks like mice.

  3. That’s awesome! I love that you all sat around and discussed the best cootie-killing methods. :D And I’m really glad he got to eat them after all!

    (I was not expecting “the mouse and the blowtorch” to be such a literal representation of the story!)

  4. So seriously, I love that you roasted those mice and let him eat them. I also love that everyone in the family worked to come up with a solution. That is so sweet!

    I have gotten those hugs from my daughter before, and they are so so worth it.

    These cute little mice? I have never heard of them before. But now I am wanting one.

  5. In which case you deserve AT LEAST 15 points against the Sugarmouseless Universe. Seriously. That particular idea is INGENIOUS. :) And I bet they were delicious, cause is there anything better for a yummy candy than to have that outer sugar just toasted, singed a bit to give it that yummy warm toasty flavor? I’ll bet you’ve changed his palate forever and he’ll always want his sugar mice flambéd. ;) hehe

  6. I got a hug like that from my nephew once. For making him a superman shirt with a red cape that clips on at the shoulders. It’s the best feeling in the world. :)

    And you’re an awesome mom for getting your son the mice.

  7. I don’t think it would have ever ocurred to me that the sugar mice might not be clean. Maybe that’s why my kids eat fries off the floor at McDonalds.

  8. This was such a great story! I can’t believe I have never heard of sugar mice. Where have they been all of my life?? Glad you & your family enjoyed the torched rodents! Mmmmm… Sounds yummy…

  9. Bloody interweb ate my comment, methinks, so I’ll try again.

    Next time you’re in need of vermin shaped sugar lumps, do shout.

    I’m sure London had a sealed variety somewhere and I charge much less for shipping.

    – B x

  10. Lori,
    I absolutely love being invited into your home, sitting around the table discussing sugar mice. I was laughing, I too looked at himself in horror, I agreed with Boy B, but then the leprosy thing got to me. It was a whirlsind visit. So glad it all turned out deelish in the end. My best bud is from England, and she just goes crazy for the flake bar. Isn’t chocolate…chocolate I always ask. But I guess they’ve got something special going on over across the pond.
    Take care,
    Dana

  11. ok…you blow torched those suckers…and they still tasted good? Me thinks the boy is a darling who does not want to see his mom disappointed. Because I like to consider myself a sugar connaisseur, and I’m pretty sure that sugared mice under fire would become shewy..and well…not the sugar mice they should be.
    But you still win the prize for most ingenious mother.
    I’m with Himself: dip them in brandy!
    Loved this post Lori

  12. Burnt sugar mice…yum. They are cute. Glad he got them even if they were in a different culinary form. Poor thing..that would have been heartbreaking to have the 2nd attempt not work out, too.

    PS. I nominated you for a Stylish Blogger Award on my site. :)

  13. I liked the “dip them in brandy” idea….but not for the boy.

    I love your ingenious solution and hope that you had an around-the-neck hug in appreciation! Because we both know those are few and far between.

    And I’ve never seen a sugar mouse, but now will keep my eyes open for them.

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