The Fat Kid Diaries

vintage valentine fat kid

There are a few things I miss about being a fat kid – first and foremost, eating homemade cookie dough. My mom set a fine example by letting go for it when it came to baked goods and such delicious cookery.  Everything covered in sugary goodness was fair game: the spatula, the bowl, the different spoons used at various stages in the baking process. We lapped up the stuff like there was no such thing as salmonella. If we tired of eating it raw and were bored of the finished baked product, there was always the option of putting the silver mixing bowl in the fridge for a few hours and then scooping the dough out like ice cream. Those were the days.

I long for the time when my mom and I would sit down in front of the TV with our own personal pints of Haagen-Dazs coffee ice cream, wrapping the cold cup in a towel to protect our dainty fingers and eating until we were high on caffeine infused fat. My favorite strategy was letting the ice cream melt away from the sides just the littlest bit, then proceed to scrape around the edges – around and around and around – until I had formed a moat around a mountain in the center.

Coming in close second in the ice cream category were milkshakes. Back in the day, Dad used to drop an egg or two in for a creamy froth factor. Apparently my disregard for salmonella was genetic. We were a fearsome bunch when it came to our sweets. Dad was also a fan of malt powder, which tasted considerably similar to the milkshake version of one of my favorite candies – Chocolate Covered Malt Balls – and thus sending it through a straw and into my heart. When I felt lazy, I would throw some Breyer’s Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream into the bender with a scant amount of milk and whirl it around for a second. This was just enough to break up the chocolate into tiny little stick-in-your-teeth bits and melt the ice cream ever so nicely. It was like taking half of the work out of eating ice cream the conventional way (boring!). The milk was there merely for lubrication. Our family never ate Dreyer’s. Mom said it tasted cheap.

There was a moment when I appreciated a good Sno-Cone, but I just couldn’t come to terms with the overall lack of potent flavor. The syrup, a victim of the law of gravity and other scientific principles I would never understand, rarely distributed itself uniformly in my cone of ice. The treasured deliciousness sank straight to the bottom, occupying but a few bites of an otherwise tasteless treat. The Sno-Cone had potential, but it never delivered.

Big Sticks I found to be too similar in flavor to Gatorade; both of which I thought to taste like watery piss. But perhaps I’m just not keen on fruit punchy citrus things.

My best friend Holly taught me how to properly eat a Jolly Rancher in order to maximize its intricate flavor complexities. For this, we would need the Jolly Rancher sticks, not the small candies, and a glass of ice water. First, we unwrap our flavor of choice – my old standby being Green Apple or in the summertime, Watermelon – have a good lick or two, and then briefly dip the sticks in the ice water. Lick, dip, repeat. The ice water chilled the Jolly Rancher to perfection and somehow enhanced its artificial flavor.

Jolly Ranchers hold a special place in my blood stream. When my mom was pregnant with me, she lived on them. Regular consumption amounted to a Halloween-sized package per day. This brought concern from her OBGYN who could not figure out how her blood sugar levels soared to near diabetes proportions. My mom didn’t offer up that she was chowing down JR’s like they were prenatal vitamins. Thanks, Mom.

Being a doughboy kid, of course I had an affinity for dough. Bread dough, pizza dough, Play Dough (I also have a serious problem with my enjoyment of salt, both of which it had plenty of). Back when I used to eat anything Pillsbury, I was a big fan of their cinnamon bun offerings. I recollect only buying them for my dad’s place on the weekends and cooking them for breakfast. The satisfying, dough-bursting-at-the-seams pop when you twisted the tube in opposite directions, the way the unnaturally white frosting melted into the fake cinnamon dusted crevices, how it never stuck to the round pan I cooked it in. Those were magical mornings. Fat kid mornings.

At camp on summer we made “Doughboys” which were triangles of Pillsbury croissant dough wrapped around a stick, dipped in melted butter, and then rolled around in cinnamon sugar. The result was something like a roasted marshmallow, but much more complex in flavor. The butter burnt, the sugar caramelized, and the dough inside didn’t so much cook as it did nearly melt off the stick. Swift consumption was of the essence.

Ah, how I miss these days. Days filled with buttery cholesterol and potential heart disease, cellulite and high blood pressure. They were so carefree in their naiveté and wholehearted enjoyment. I long for a time like this. Perhaps when I give up on my vanity and accept a life of elastic waistbands and PTA meetings, I can relive my youth in all its chubby bunny glory.

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