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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Bakery Down the Street

Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts
Because I was allergic to eggs for so many years and because many baked goods include eggs, I never really developed a taste for them. Not that I don't crave sweets sometimes, but if I see a chocolate cake sitting next to some barbecued chicken wings, I'm going for the BBQ.

So though I passed the bakery every day on my way to school every morning and though I enjoyed the aromas wafting from the bakery, I never went inside to purchase anything. I think the only pastry I ever ate were donuts covered with confectioners sugar purchased by my parents.

But one day my friend, Kathie, talked me into spending my money on an item she promised I would LOVE. Little did she know that I was probably the only friend she had who could have cared less about chocolate (caramel, on the other hand, mmm…).

Anyway, in we went, me holding onto my money like Whoopie Goldberg's character, Oda Mae, when she had to give a sizable check to the nuns in the movie, Ghost, while Kathie looked lovingly and longingly at her favorite item, a chocolate eclair.

It was probably the biggest piece of pastry I'd ever seen and I'll have to admit I was curious, but I was also hesitant, because I would rather have spent my money on magazines splashed with Beatles photos than a donut. But Kathie was insistent.

Reluctantly I handed over my hard-earned babysitting money to the cashier and cautiously took a small bite. Fully expecting this to be the next best thing to God, I was surprised by how deeply disappointed I was. I hated it. I hated the texture, I hated the cream (was that custard – I hate custard) and in fact, I hated the whole thing. And I was angry at Kathie for persuading me to spend my money on that revolting piece of tish (misspelled on purpose).

Kathie was flabbergasted. How could anybody not like chocolate eclairs? I must have faulty taste buds, or worse – just bad taste. My money – from my 50-cent-an-hour babysitting job was GONE and in its place was this food item I couldn't even eat.

It reminded me of the time another friend, Pam, convinced me to give her all of my Beatles cards so we could make a Beatles doll (cubes put together to form a doll using Beatles photos CUT OUT of the cards – MY cards) to send to a local Chicago radio station. Though WLS thanked us for the gift, I never forgave Pam for forcing me to use my Beatles cards.

In those days I frequently got angry at others for not being able to stand up for myself. Knowing myself as I do, I probably didn't talk to Kathie for days after that episode, and I never again bought another chocolate eclair.

But through it all I learned some very valuable lessons. The next time I was asked to pay for food that somebody else raved about, I would sample a bite first. And if anybody ever wanted to take ANYTHING Beatles-related from me for any reason whatsoever, the answer would be a resounding NO!

Unfortunately, Beatles cards stopped being printed so I never retrieved my missing Beatles cards, and Pam and I no longer speak (not because of the Beatles cards).

The bakery, however, though it carries a different name, still stands, and despite my behavior, Kathie and I remain good friends.

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  1. Allergies can really run havoc on a person's life. Still different strokes for different folks. Not everyone is meant to like everything. Regardless of how wonderful the bakery smelled, if it produced a severe allergic reaction if you so much as took a nibble, then it was no wonder you steered clear of the place. I think this is a wonderful post, reminding everyone who reads it that the world is filled all different sorts of people who have different likes, dislikes, and allergies. Although I have never developed any food allergies, I am allergic to everything else but cockroaches so I can understand your point of view. Brilliant blog!!


  2. I agree with Kathy on this one! Me allergic only to raisins!

  3. I would have been so mad, too, if someone had persuaded me to spend my hard-earned money on something I hated!

  4. We do often blame others for our own weaknesses, don't we? Of course, when we were children, anyone with a stronger personality carried with them the aura of "knowledge we lacked" making it much easier to be persuaded.

  5. An egg allergy must be tricky, especially if it's a severe one. Of course, if avoiding eggs means never developing a pastry jones, it does have an upside. ;O)

  6. I agree that we shouldn't let ourselves be talked into anything that we don't believe in. Sorry about that nasty eclair and your missing Beatle's cards. Thant stinks! Nice take on the topic.

  7. Now, I love me some chocolate eclairs. I like the lesson in this post.

  8. Yep, always test first! Wasted so much money on 'fabulous' foods I haven't liked over the years. Cool post :)