One evening, I was browsing through the newspaper when I noticed an ad for a kid’s cooking contest. I tore out the ad and showed it to Mom. She said it was okay if I wanted to enter, but asked what recipe would I use? Although I do experiment with cooking, I had never really invented a recipe before. I didn’t really think that much about the recipe contest until a few days later when I suddenly had a light bulb go on! The inspiration was for a S’more cake. E didn’t seem interested, but I was enthused with my idea. I reported my idea to Mom and we looked online for graham cracker cake recipes. As I was looking at pictures I saw a picture of a S’more cake. I was disappointed, since the recipe had to be completely my own. But the cake was not exactly what I had in mind. I did notice that the cake won an award for the 2nd best birthday cake of the year! I decided that the cake should have chocolate icing and marshmallow cream sandwiched between two pieces of spice cake.
The next day, I set to work baking the cake while Mom mowed the lawn. It was really easy, but I was quite nervous. Mom took pictures of the cake and me. Mom kept on saying that she had a feeling I would win. I wrote the recipe on a piece of loose-leaf and enclosed a photo of the cake. We brought the entry to the newspaper office, where it would be judged.
Thursday was archery day for our mom. We were waiting outside for her to get ready when she came outside ecstatic. She said that there had been a phone call from the contest judge. I had won the cooking contest! I would get to be a chef’s helper on stage at the famous Taste of Home Cooking School.
The next day, we picked up my ticket – also tickets for Mom, Dad, and E. Originally, there would be only two extra free tickets but it was changed to three extras to meet family needs. There at the newspaper office, the woman told us that they had sold 500 tickets already!
That Sunday, my recipe was in the Taste of Home Cooking School publication in the newspaper. I even got an email of congratulations from the man from the Swan Rangers. I was already a celebrity!
The next Thursday was my big day! I decided upon wearing my cocoa brown sweater, complemented by a greenish skirt. We went out and bought panty hose to complete my outfit. I also wore my pretty brown flats. At around 5:30 P.M, we headed out for the fairgrounds where the huge event would be. In the parking lot, we saw two women that we knew. Nervously, we got our V.I.P seats. Dad had not arrived yet, because he was still at work. Before the show, I talked to some of the contest sponsors and the chef, Danielle Edmonds about my recipe and what I would have to do on stage. After a few minutes of just sitting around, we decided to buy some ice cream outside. We bought a push-up sherbet. After enjoying our sherbet, we waited for the show to begin. Mom called Dad, he didn’t answer, and we wondered where he was. Later, Mom called Dad again and he said he was getting ready to eat dinner. After about 20 minutes of sitting around, Dad arrived at the event.
At last, the show started and the chef began cooking. I clapped wildly every time there was applause. After about half an hour into the show, I got really hot and thirsty. It turned out that my sweater was a lot warmer than I required. The barn in which the show was taking place was very warm. I was feeling feverish. The heat was unbearable. Mom was wearing a T-shirt, and I wanted to trade shirts with her. About 5 minutes later, it was almost time for my appearance. Mom and I ran to the restroom to trade blouses. We stood in separate stalls and stuck our shirts underneath the barriers. There were a few other people in the restroom. I left my stall and waited for Mom. She then said loudly, “Did you take off your stockings?” Slightly embarrassed knowing that everybody in the restroom heard her, I decided not to remove my stockings at all. Mom and I ran back to the cooking barn.
A few minutes later, the lady told the audience that there was a celebrity in the crowd. It was I who was the celebrity! I went up onto the stage. My job was to make some Chex mix. The woman asked me to taste the chocolate Chex mix. I took a piece with no chocolate in it. “Does it taste like chocolate?” asked the woman. “No…” I said. The crowd laughed. After eating a piece with chocolate in it, I found that it did have chocolate flavor. While I was stirring the Chex mix, I spilled a teensy bit. I covered my face in horror. Everyone laughed at my antics. I just really did not want to look sloppy on stage. The lady brushed off the accident, saying no harm, no foul. I stirred the caramel sauce very slowly, and tried not to spill anything. I continued my cooking, but not without displaying my quirky nature. The chef gave me a sample of the Chex mix recipe and then I left the stage.
We watched a little more of the cooking show, then left the barn to get some air. Several people congratulated me. One man even took my photograph and inquired about my recipe. I explained how I made the cake from top to bottom. After hanging around there for a while, we went home.
It was already dark, but inside people’s houses it was brightly lit. Lots of their curtains were open and as we rode home, E and I observed them going about their business. It was truly a wonderful day.
Check out M’s stage presence at the Taste of Home Cooking School here!