Childhood food memories, part 1: bowl licking

May 5, 2010


This is a tale of two eaties???one depravation and one satisfaction. We are American. In the big scheme of things, my family and I didn???t (and don???t) want for things. My 10-year-old self would both beg to differ and look forward to next week.

In the context of this conversation, one of the best times I had as a kid was helping my friend Denise make a cake. She was a year older than I, and I???m going to guess we were about nine and ten. I come up with this estimation because at the time, Denise???s next door neighbor was Tracy and a strong memory I have about Tracy is that Melanie???s song ???Brand New Key??? was popular. Maybe we we were more like ten and eleven and by that time Denise had become my flute mentor in band.

But there are two things that I most remember about Denise. Her dog Tippy, a yappy Pomeranian, chewed up the pink car in my Game of Life that I???d take over to her house because we loved playing. Denise was the one who first told me that fuck meant ???to get married in a not nice way.??? Denise???s chemist dad brought home for me the substances needed to make my own super-bounce ball for a science project. I accidentally wiped out on Denise???s brand new banana seat bike while she was inside eating supper and I never fessed up. And when Denise made that cake in my presence, I got to lick out the bowl.

That was an incredibly big deal to me because not only was I not given autonomy in making a cake in the first place???though I often got to hold the hand mixer and lick off the beaters???but my mom was a firm believer in every drop of batter going into the pan. When Denise made the cake from beginning to end, I was aghast when she seemed to leave half of the mix in the bowl, certain that she???d get in trouble, and then overjoyed when she asked if I wanted to lick out the bowl. I was absolutely gobsmacked that she didn???t want to herself, but I guess that???s the blas?? attitude you develop when you get to do something all the time.

As an adult, I leave a satisfactory amount of batter in the bowl every time. And you know what, Mom? It turns out just fine.

One Response to “Childhood food memories, part 1: bowl licking”

  1. Meg Says:

    Ha. The pink car was the best. Melanie FTW

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