Sunday, June 29, 2008


Given that my main character, Kim Donovan, has a thing for Twinkies (as does the author), you’d think I’d know that The Twinkie Cookbook exists. My GOD! What a revelation. How is it possible that I’ve been living under a rock for so long? And, more importantly, how is it possible this isn’t a NY Times bestseller?

Because of this book, I’ve discovered a whole new reason to get out of bed in the morning, and that’s to force myself into that strange, frightening realm called The Kitchen.

To say The Kitchen hates me is an understatement. I earned its contempt many years ago. I’ve burnt its pans, glopped gooey crap on its floors, triggered fire alarms to squeal as smoke poured out of its ovens. It’s a mutual derision society based on my inability to respect hallowed ground and its inability to allow me to cook anything worth eating. As a result, my mantra to my family has always been: If you want it, I’ll make it. If you want it to taste good, wait for Dad. My family went so far as to buy me an apron (an APRON, for goddsakes!) that has a picture of a dog with a hot water bottle on its head and a thermometer in its mouth and says, “Please clean your plate, my dog doesn’t like my leftovers.” The ingrates.

Until now. It took a wonderful, smart-ass fictional character and a novel to bring me back into The Kitchen. I put on my best asbestos Donna Karan and flame retardant Manolo Blahnik shoes and girded my loins (do chicks gird their loins or their ovaries?). I scraped the cobwebs away from the entryway and turned on the light.

The Beast awakened.

The oven recoiled, and the stove inverted. The refrigerator visibly locked its doors, and the pantry sealed itself shut. “No, wait, guys,” I said, stepping gingerly over the crested seal that marked my previously forbidden territory, “lookie what I have.” I held up The Twinkie Cookbook and allowed a nervous smile to cross my face. “I think I can do this.”

“We must speak among ourselves, you disrespectful scum,” The Kitchen growled.

I sweated it out while they conferred. After five minutes, the gang let me in with the warning: “Do not turn on any burners.” Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

I separated.
I mixed.
I spooned.
I spread.
And I refrigerated.
I chilled.

The following day, they allowed me entry to check on my masterpiece. There, in a lovely crystal bowl, in honor of the 4th of July, sat my creation taken from The Twinkie Cookbook The Patriotic Twinkie Pie. The oven ooo’d. The stove ahhh’d. The refrigerator burst with pride for having a hand in this lovely culinary attempt.

“And there’s more,” I said, waving my cookbook. “Just think, I can do this again!”

“Yes, yes,” they all agreed. “But think about doing Thanksgiving dinner, and we’ll set your hair on fire.”

I thought of my character and wondered if she would appreciate bastardizing the purity of Twinkies just so I could reenter a room I haven’t seen in years. Damn you, Kim. This is all your fault.

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