Dirt and Worms:   How to Impress and Win Approval of Your Boyfriend’s Parents


First time I ever met my boyfriend’s parents was when invited over to celebrate his 17th birthday the summer after I graduated. My parents were invited over as well so our parents could meet. We had been dating since February, and up till August I had never visited his home. “The driveway is too difficult for cars to handle”, he would protest. Then my car surprisingly maneuvered up their gravel drive with several run off ditches across. After that he would say the Huskies would be difficult to be around. Honestly, he had me there. Those dogs were high energy and getting up the stairs with anything was a heroic feat involving people trying to fend them off from tackling you. This was the first thing I learned upon getting in the house: do not leave an opening and find a seat quick. It was usually due to this that Michael tried to limit having me over quite as often since his house was a constant flurry of activity. I do honestly think he was more worried about me meeting his parent than myself as I was the first person he ever had visit his home and his first girlfriend.

In the weeks before I kept badgering him to tell me about what dessert to bring since I volunteered to provide a dish since his family was kindly offering to feed me and my parents. It was only polite to do so, despite that I rarely ever cooked. However, I could bake decently. Give me directions and I could make cookies, cake, jello, pudding, anything not too fancy or advanced. There are two things that occur when I do take an opportunity to bake: either it’s fantastic or so horrible that no one would touch. In answer to what they liked he said “We are not a huge sweet family, my parents like somewhat plain desserts as my father is from the Netherlands. He hates Oreos and anything really sweet.” My thoughts upon hearing this was, uh-oh. I knew of no desserts that did not taste sweet. I spent over a week comptemplating what to make, apple pie? Peanut butter pie? Cookies? They were all sweet and I knew my options were limited. Which bothered me. I felt I needed some sort of approval from his family. I practically pulled out my hair in worry that anything I made would not be liked. I decided to make at least him happy. Thankfully there was a recipe I knew since I was born: Dirt. Yes, I was going to go dig in my yard a nice huge worm-filled shovelful of earth to feed to my boyfriend’s family for his birthday. Perfect way to get their approval, not sweet in the least.

Wrong idea, dirt is actually a dessert my family on all special occasion have at family gatherings. It would be completely gone by the end due to how popular it was. It is not actually dirt, but a kind of pudding using Oreos and cream cheese. It’s alternate name is Flower Pot since it is layered with pudding and Oreos. On top would be gummy worms for decoration. Contrary to the name flowers were never included since imitation flowers are not really editable. One time Michael, my boyfriend came over for my graduation and tried the dessert with relative suspicion. However, upon tasting the pudding concoction he was in love. “Why is it called dirt? How can someone name something like a dessert such a thing?” He had asked after finishing the dessert. I looked at him almost blank, I did not know why it was called that name other than the dessert appear to look like layers of dirt with worms. “I guess because it’s what it looks like is where the name comes from.” I choose this dessert to bring since I knew he loved it. While I did buy Oreos I remembered his father disliked them. So kept them separated from the desert in a container rather than layer and left out the gummy worms. By the time I created the dessert all I had was pudding. It looked nothing like it should have. The name no longer fit. I had taken away the layers of Oreo cookies and gummy worms which made the dessert. While saddening desperate times had called for such measures.We sat through dinner while our parents conversed about their jobs and fairly got along. The Dirt sat in the fridge waiting along with the Huskies which lurked like land sharks for any morsel of food.

Dessert rolled around and I waited nervously while they took their first taste. My mom and dad were shocked almost upon seeing how I dissected the recipe. My mom remarked how it tasted sweeter than normal. I thought, I messed up even though I cut the sugar in the recipe by half. It should not be sweeter than normal. Surprisingly Michael’s parents loved it and I felt relieved since after my mom’s comment I thought I messed up. “What’s in this? How did you make it?” His mom asked with interest. “Just cream cheese, sugar, milk, and pudding. If you would like I can give you a copy of the recipe?” I replied. By the end of dinner she had a copy, the rest of the desert for later, and Michael thanked me for making him his favorite dessert. Later I heard his father did not like many desserts, but he in the next week would be going through the dessert the most. In the end all that worrying did not matter, nor how I made this dessert. It came to the point whether his parents liked it or not, I learned not to lose focus on the one most important fact: it was Michael’s birthday, not theirs. Remember when baking for a special occasions who this dessert your making it for. However, if it’s a large family gathering such as a reunion bring something generally people love. This recipe is simple, easy to make, and tends to be popular.

Dirt Dessert

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + chilling

MAKES: 20 servings



  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar (I halved this)
  • 3-1/2 cups cold milk (I used 2%)
  • 2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed


  • Gummy worms (Yum 🙂
  • 1 package (15-1/2 ounces) Oreo cookies, crushed
  • Shaved white chocolate (rarely needed)



  1. Find an occasion you are invited to, and where you are nervous.
  1. Choose a recipe (whether this one or not)
  1. Worry over recipe and badger anyone who you know about what you should make.
  1. Make Dirt: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes; let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Gradually stir into cream cheese mixture. Fold in whipped topping.


  1. Spread 1-1/3 cups of crushed cookies into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. dish. Layer with half of the pudding mixture and half of the remaining cookies. Repeat layers. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with shaved white chocolate if desired. Or Just exclude from recipe out of fear someone may not like it at all.
Image | This entry was posted in Food Essays--Spring 2017. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s