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It started out with one bowl of Chef Boyardee's spaghetti o's, a sippy cup full of milk, and an episode of Blue's Clues. That was my first introduction to the Chef. I sat in my chair, heaped a mountain of noodles onto my spoon and shoved the gob into my mouth with one fluid swipe. The result were cataclysmic. My mouth caught fire, my eyes watered, and with one great swallow, it burned all the way down. I felt that the Chef had betrayed me. Over the weeks I tried again and again to eat what the Chef had prepared, but with the same results. I was about to give up, force Miss Beretta to make me something else to eat at lunch time, and let the other kids in the daycare eat the Chef's concoction. That's when a light bulb went off, and I knew what I had to do.
12:00, Blue's Clues on showing Steve going to get the mail, and me at the dining table with a big bowl of spaghetti o's. I was ready. I dunked my spoon in and took out the pile of saucy goop. It steamed. My poor scarred mouth turned dry, bracing itself for the burn. But I knew better. I took in a deep breathe and blew. I blew on the noodles until the steam was gone and stuck the spoon in my mouth. The results? The tangy lukewarm goodness only Chef Boyardee could deliver. That's the day the Chef became my long time friend.
He stuck around. I usually saw him at the grocery store, always in the canned food isle. He was at my house sometimes too and when he was, I would always eat his pasta. It had been tradition for me to eat spaghetti o's. It just didn't seem right to abandon what had been for so long. But I knew I had to go out on a whim, go with my gut, and at nine years old, I asked the Chef for a new meal, something more grown up, more sophisticated. The baby days of Blue's Clues were over, and in with the new era of sophistication and class, that of the Bratz dolls and costume jewelry.
The Chef said not a word, but agreed with my request and ravioli was put on my plate. It was good as I ate and looked very nice. It was meaty in the middle and the sauce was thicker then my soupy spaghetti o's. I felt like a lady, eating a grown up meal in a fancy restaurant. I was grown. Then a thought hit me. Will I never eat the pasta of my youth again? Was I really too old to be little anymore?
Yet again, the Chef surprised me, and without my consent, brought the spaghetti o's before me. I didn't question, just ate, flipping the television on to Blue's Clues just like I did when I was four.
After that the Chef made different creations. Veggie ravioli, mini ravioli, dinosaur shaped spaghetti o's. I had no fear and tried them all. There wasn't one I didn't enjoy until the Chef made pizza.
As good as he was at making his original pasta, the Chef and his pizza ravioli's were tough for me to swallow. I tried to eat it, just like I had the others, but it was gritty, spicy, and the pepperoni pieces in the sauce made my stomach turn. I didn't want to tell the Chef. After all, he had never failed me before. Hard as I tried, I couldn't stomach the thing anymore and refused to eat it at all.
I thought the Chef was mad because after that, he invented a strange looking pasta one with macaroni noodles and meatballs that looked like itty bitty bugs. I stared at it for a full five minutes when the Macaroni was put in front of me. He must have been mad at me because he expected me to eat this. I picked up my spoon anyway, feeling my stomach turn. He must forgive me after this, I reasoned. I grimaced though at the thought of eating it. It reminded me of the girl in my English class who is always called Flake. She looks so weird. Her nose is too big and her hair is all big and goofy like an afro, and she is always freaking out over something. She gave me the same feeling in my gut that these noodles did. Slowly I took a bite and my mind went bananas. I was back in daycare, when I had my first real bite of spaghetti o's. This was even better. This was fantastic pasta, the best the Chef had ever made.
I thank Chef Boyardee now for what he has done for me growing up. I learned from him, even if I took the hard way to learn the lessons he tried to teach. I learned them none the less.
When being hasty about decisions, you are bound to get burned.
There is no harm in being a kid once in awhile, even if you are all grown up.
Sometimes, you wont like everything that comes your way. There will be bumps in the road of life but we have to keep on moving.
Finally, sometimes the weirdest shaped noodle can be the best friend you could ever have.
Thank you Chef!