I have learned over the years that using food is a lot quicker and a lot less work than charm alone. So I reached into my back pocket and pulled out one of my oldest and most reliable food-tricks: Worms ‘n Dirt. This appealing and enticing dessert is ridiculously easy: pulverized Oreos, pudding, whipped cream, and worms, preferably of the gummy nature, all cleverly disguised in a flower pot. It works. Every time.
The destination? The home of our good friends, Lisa and Tague Harding. They have seven children. To me, it might as well be seventeen. Their age-range is six to 28. In real life that translates to kindergarten or elementary school or high school or college OR military or marriage. Wow.
The two youngest, Phillip, almost 8, and Zach, 6, were adopted in 2008 as babies from from Amani Baby Cottage in Jinga,Uganda. They were my target. But first I had to make the Worms ‘n Dirt. Easy greasy.
- One clean red 8″ plastic flower pot (ok, you can change the color, but it has to be clean)
- 2 large (5.1 oz.) boxes of instant chocolate pudding mix
- 1 large tub of whipped topping (off brand is fine. Who’ll know?)
- 1 large family package of Oreo’s (Oreo brand only. They’ll know.)
- 1 bag of gummy worms
- 1 99-cent plastic flower of any color from Walmart (ok, it doesn’t have to be from Walmart)
- 1 clean plastic garden spade (optional. not the cleanliness part, actually having a spade)
- Let the tub of whipped cream defrost (or whatever it does in that 4 hours it’s suppose to sit in fridge.)
- Clean the flowerpot. Really. Not to is just gross.
- Make the 2 boxes of pudding according to directions (Don’t try to be chintzy on the pudding like I did or you’ll regret it when you don’t have enough to fill the flower pot. Experience speaketh.) Chill in fridge.
- Grind all but four (4) of the Oreos in the food processor.
- Set up your assembly line: Prepared Pudding, Defrosted Whipped Topping, Ground Oreos, Worms
- Layer the stuff from the assembly line in the pot, being creative and especially neat with the last layer of Oreos and worms
- Carefully stick the flower into the center of the mess you’ve created
- Add the clean spade if ya wanna. It makes it even cuter!
- Eat the four Oreos that you didn’t grind.
- Impress all your family, friends, potential friends, and neighbors.
This really is a tasty, fun dessert and tends to always leave it’s mark. Recently Aaron Stewart of Montgomery, Alabama, a newly engaged, full grown man, informed me that he “still remembers” me bringing Worms ‘n Dirt to his crawling-with-chillun home when he was just a kid. (YES, YES, YES!!!)
But back to the task at hand: We arrived at the Harding home and were greeted by Tague and Lisa, youngest daughter, Ruth, Phillip, Zach, and Mayzee, the peppy puppy. I obnoxiously announced in a too-loud voice that I had brought a flower to Lisa and then turned to ask the boys what they thought of that. “It has worms,” was their only reply.
The flower pot stayed on the counter while we enjoyed our delicious home-made soup and gluten-free grilled cheese sandwiches. Lisa then brought the flower pot over to the table. I watched the boys as their curiosity peaked upon realizing that the worms were edible along with the dirt in which they resided. We each got a big bowl of the goop, including daddy-Tague, a Delta pilot, who threw caution to his cholesterol-fighting-diet that he had been diligently following. (I guess I impressed him, too!)
It was later that week, though, that I learned that my goal of making a good impression had been attained. Lisa and Tague were getting in their car to come to our house; they were skating and Lisa was leaving them last minute instructions to obey Ruth while Mom and Dad were gone. When they asked where they were going, Lisa replied, “to Mr. Tim and Miss Karen’s house. You know, the one that brought the Worm’s ‘n Dirt.“ Whining promptly followed when they realized it was an adult only gathering. YES, YES, YES!!
Ah,making good impressions is such tough work!