Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Humble Beginnings of an Aspiring Food Critic

I never had an Easy Bake Oven
and what girl didn't want one?
I pined over those bite sized chocolate cakes
sprinkled with glittering pink sugar,
dreamed of frosting 
my own cookies and 
mixing my own brownies
even before that in pre-K,
I hung out by the plastic lavender and
baby pink, and cream kitchen set 
that was missing various tiny metal pots and pans
but still had a few plastic food items
the standard fruits and maybe a carton of eggs
I would spend my play time there
pretending to whip up omelets, drinking pretend milk, 
and gossiping with my friends,
you know, the normal business
of a 4 year old on the Lower East Side
I hated the school lunch, they served me liver once
who gives liver to a 4 year old?, I felt like a puppy
being forced to eat a can of chow
so the little kitchen was always a 
better alternative to
the miniature lunch tables
when I got older my dreams of 
cooking never left me
I spent a lot of time at my grandma's house,
complete with plastic covered fabric couches, 
a collection of stuffed animals from 
various rip-off Coney Island games,
a menagerie of Technicolor bulldogs, 
goofy lions, and teddy bears,
a crazy old chihuahua named Snoopy,
and no cable,
no Hey Arnold, or Rocko's Modern Life, or Real Monsters for me
nope, I settled down with the Food Network
watching Emeril Lagasse do his thing
I sat down in front of the TV with my Play-doh and followed his recipes
making tacos and seafood with the various colors I had
shaping reds and greens and blues
being careful not to mix the colors and essentially taint them forever
I would roll out little balls of pretend pizza dough
that would leave the sweet memorable scent 
on my hands and under my finger nails
which totally beats out the Easy Bake Oven 
now I watch Iron Chef, and Chopped not pretending to be a chef
but to pretending to be a food critic, skilled and versed in describing the 
multifaceted tastes of food
I'm pretty obsessed 
what a great life it would be 
to sit around saying things like "oh yes, this tastes a bit gamey", 
and "that really adds a kick of flavor", "this presentation is very rustic"
or "the hint of lemon adds a depth of flavor and brings out the saffron"
you know, great stuff like that
I'd travel around tasting bits of every country & culture while taking notes
on flavor, and plating design
make-believe never gets old
but hey, who knows, maybe one day I can work for the Zagat
dreams may not always come true
but I still love the smell of Play Doh.


  1. I loved the kitchen area in my pre-school classroom, too! I never had an easy bake, but I loved making play-doh pizza.

    Sweetfern Handmade

  2. i never had an easy bake oven, too, BUT having been a preschool teacher for 10 years, i've had an overload! :)


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