The Good Science of Bad Housekeeping

Before leaving my family to go to the wine country and bathe in Pinot Noir, I made a loaf of bread and a pot of chicken noodle soup to fill my family's belly and assuage my guilt. I envisioned them feeling hugged as they slurped down a bowl of soup and ate toast with jelly. Apparently, they had other plans, such as Happy Meals. I came home to a molding loaf of bread and a pot half full of soup. Oh well. When the cat's away, the mice eat out.

The sight of moldy bread transported me back to third grade. My teacher, Mrs. Elskes, placed a piece of bread in a yellow Tupperware container and placed it in a cabinet so we could witness the growth of mold. I would open the container periodically and observe the fuzzy green fungus. So even though my homemade bread did not nourish my children's bodies while I was away, I decided it could nourish their minds with mommy home. Rather than throwing away the moldy bread, we kept it around for observation. We looked up mold in the dictionary and encyclopedia. We discussed the difference between harmful molds (black), tasty molds (cheese), and beneficial molds (antibiotics). We concocted a new mold growth experiment, using bread, cheese and compost bound fruit and vegetable remnants. If the kid's hypothesis is correct, we should see some growth by Friday.

Avery and I love to collect homophones and homonyms, so we discussed the alternate meanings of the word "mold". We mixed up some plaster and used bottle caps as molds. Not the best idea, as I still haven't figured out how to release the plaster from the bottle cap, but the kids liked playing with plaster.

Then we made a molded cake. Aidan was concerned that we were making moldy cake. I assured him that molded cake was much better than moldy cake, and they both agreed by having seconds.

Today they are making molded cookies with Grandma. I'm anxious to sample some shortbread when they come home. So next time you notice mold growing on food, don't berate yourself for being a bad housekeeper. Consider it an educational experience. Observe the different types of mold growing, from long stringy filaments to yellow clusters to green fuzz. Get out your candy molds and make something cute with plaster. Butter and flour your bundt pan and make some banana chocolate chip cake. Send your kids to grandma's to bake more delicious treats. Call it science for the week.


  1. I love you more than ever, Molly. Anyone that can turn mold into such fun is good people, in my book :-) We have an apple mummifying in the cabinet right now. More on that to come ;-)

  2. Love the mold.
    Tell the kids we are bringing Layla out with us to Cali. Thanks for reading our blog! I still check yours everyday, I love it!

  3. an excellent example of making lemonaid out of lemons (even moldy ones)!

  4. great!! the cake sounds yummy, the last cake i made from you was super, cake for breakfast was a hit. We'll have to try this one.

  5. I loved this post!
    Don't know why it hadn't occurred to me do document mold, but it is surely on my mind, now!
    Thanks for the lively reminder.

  6. I love this post. I want to be like you when I'm a mommy :)


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