First period class with Mrs French was our favorite. She was one of the coolest teachers. She somehow managed to pull off a pixie cut despite being old (read: middle-aged – ya’ll kids are jerks). Coincidentally, she was the French teacher and ran French club. The irony was not lost on us freshmen.
She walked in Friday morning wearing a cute little black beret, carrying a tray full of little glasses filled with chocolate-y goodness. Around me, there were little pockets of whispers and chuckles from my classmates. I bit my lip and clicked my pen open and closed and open again in quick succession.
“We’re totally going to get wasted,” I heard the girl behind me whisper out of earshot of Mrs French.
I shifted my weight as the teacher dropped the tiny glass onto my desk, teetering on a seesaw of should I, shouldn’t I?
Last night, the first ever meeting of French Club was so cool. We went to the popular girl’s home and spoke broken French to each other while Mrs French (geez, that’s a lot of French in two lines) collected the ingredients to make our very own mousse au chocolat, the fancy way to say chocolate mousse.
We piled into the kitchen and started following the recipe. Mrs French carried over a bottle of amaretto and poured a tiny teaspoon into the mousse.
“A little won’t hurt,” she told us. “‘Sides, the french give their children wine to drink as early as six.”
We chuckled and whispered among ourselves as I stirred the chocolate mixture constantly.
It didn’t take long before something pulled Mrs French’s attention away and the bottle of amaretto came out. It was two inches from my nose, upturned and filling the top of the pan in a fine layer.
“Stir faster, Mel!” I heard. And I did, feeling a little naughty and a little ashamed at us.
Mrs French trotted back in, “That’s smelling so good.”
She asked us to work as a group to translate what she had said into french and walked away.
The amaretto came out again and trickled into the pan. Girls were snickering, and the few boys were elbowing each other in the ribs.
When the cook was over, Mrs French told us how great we had done and announced that the mousse had to set. It would take a few hours, so she would bring it in for class in the morning.
The small group of fourteen-year-olds groaned but accepted begrudgingly.
I eyed the dessert with a caution generally afforded to vegetables I’d never tried. I took my spoon, dipped the tip into the mousse, and put my tongue to the edge. It was sweet, but I thought it would taste funny. Dad’s Crown Royal smelled like it would taste cringe-worthy. I drove my spoon into the mousse again and tried it properly. This was creamy and rich and so yum, but there was no hint of alcohol. I breathed a sigh of relief and polished off the small glass in a few spoonfuls.
A few of my fellow students showed looks of disappointment.
At the front of the class, though, Mrs French sat at her desk with an all-knowing smile on her face. Needless to say, none of us got drunk off the mousse that day.