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Eldest Son had a friend over the other day. I’ll refer to him as “C” for this post.

A few weeks ago, Eldest Son told me that C didn’t know how to cook, other than heating up things like frozen pizza and chicken nuggets. While pizza and chicken nuggets make a decent meal occasionally, they’re bound to get old for a long-term diet. C doesn’t seem to have someone willing to teach him how to cook at home, but no matter. We’re always cooking something in our household, so I asked Eldest Son if he thought C would be open to having us teach him a few things. He responded in the affirmative.

C was over one day last week during supper time and I asked if he wanted to eat with us. Normally C declines the offer, but this time he accepted. As it happens, I was making a relative of the chicken nugget, chicken patties, for dinner, which was nothing new for C, but I decided we needed dessert as well. And I knew just who to ask to help me make it. Time for a cooking lesson.

I asked C if he’d ever had faux mousse. His facial expression turned quizzical in response. I explained that this was our term for the easy method of making mousse; that real mousse is made by whipping up eggs and sugar, melting chocolate, and folding the chocolate carefully into the eggs and sugar, and then into whipped cream. The goal is to keep the eggs and whipped cream from falling, because if they do, your husband will swear. (But only if he’s the one who typically makes real mousse at your house.) The word “faux” is French and it means fake or false.

Faux mousse, on the other hand, is easy-peasy and causes no such spousal conniptions. You mix up one large box of Jell-O brand instant chocolate pudding (takes 3 cups of milk – follow the directions on the box), let that set in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes. Then take about one-half of a regular sized container of Cool Whip and mix it into the pudding. Voila! Faux mousse. You can add more Cool Whip if you like, but that will cut down on the chocolaty goodness.

Faux mousse is one of those things that normally showed up on restaurant buffets as a dessert item when I was a kid. I still see it occasionally, but I’ve been surprised to learn that quite a few kids in one of Daughter’s classes had never had it before. This particular class celebrated Food Fridays throughout the past year and Daughter brought faux mousse one Friday. There were perhaps one or two other kids who’d eaten it before, but that was it.

After C helped me make faux mousse, I told him he had to try it. You can’t be a cook and not eat your own food. Surprise! He liked it. (What’s not to like about whipped sugar and air and chocolate pudding?)