No, not that kind of dope!
My grandmother on Dad’s side of the family, Bertha Webner, hailed from Uhrichsville, in eastern Ohio. Her speech was littered with interesting words that you didn’t hear anybody else use, like calling a coat a “wrap.” And she made a special kind of icing she called, simply, “dope.”
I’m not sure exactly what the recipe for dope was, but it was great icing. I’m guessing it was made with brown sugar as an ingredient, because it had a certain thickness and coarseness to it. Grandma used to lather it onto her specialty: angel food cake, baked for everybody’s birthday.
So tonight I tried to make a little dope, experimenting with brown sugar, whole milk, and confectioner’s sugar, and used it for icing some Dutch spice cookies. It turned out pretty well, but it’s really not a patch off of Grandma’s concoction. Her dope wasn’t illegal, but it was addictive.
Mom has issued another call for cookies, and she’s also made it plain that — with all due respect to my interest in baking experimentation — she wants iced sugar cookies, thank you very much. No other cookies need apply!
So, with my recipes strictly limited, I have to let my creative juices flow with the icing and toppings. This is why confectioner’s sugar, food coloring, and colored decorator’s sugar were invented.
At a certain age you begin to suspect that you may have lost touch with popular culture. You realize you don’t really listen to popular music or watch TV shows aimed at the 18-to-30 demographic anymore. You start to ask yourselves questions like: “When did everyone get so huggy?” And: “When is it socially acceptable to ‘fist bump’ as a form of greeting?” And then, in some innocent social gathering, you experience the dreaded incident. Some younger person looks at you, wide-eyed, and says: “Seriously? You’ve never [heard of/listened to/watched] [insert current cultural reference]???”
I had this kind of feeling recently when an associate at the firm patiently explained the current practice of “icing.” The background goes something like this. There is a bottled alcoholic beverage called Smirnoff Ice that is something like a wine cooler. Some people think it is a pretty lame drink. So, as a razz, people out at bars started sending the drink to their friends. You’d return to your seat and find a Smirnoff Ice in front of you, say, or one would be placed under your coat. If you got “iced,” you were supposed to chug the bottle and plan your prompt retaliation, and everyone would have a good laugh. (Sounds like a pretty good cultural development for Smirnoff, incidentally. In fact, there are questions about whether Smirnoff came up with the idea and implanted it in the first place.)
I was, of course, completely oblivious to this. If I had gone to a bar and found a bottle of Smirnoff Ice at my seat, I would have tried it, thanked my fellow patrons for their generosity, and gone on my merry way, missing out on all of this Gen X (or Gen Y, or whatever it is) camaraderie and causing the other patrons to conclude that I am hopelessly lame. Since I don’t go to bars, I’m not too troubled by this particular possibility, but it makes me wonder — am I utterly unaware of other common forms of modern communication? What other social signals are being broadcast that my antiquated social antennae are just not receiving?