Guestposting: Amanda and The Magic Oven

While I am wrangling a newborn, posting from me will be a little sparse. Thankfully! I have some amazing stand-ins who are here to share some of their most vivid childhood memories. Today’s lovely guest posting is by Amanda from Poppies and Ice-cream. Whenever I read her blog I marvel at how similar we are. She is like my Mexican counterpart, living in Amsterdam. Pretty awesome.

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When Lauren asked us to write about our most vivid childhood memory, I had to stop and think for a while. I remember the first time I saw a killer whale at Sea World, and those penguins behind glass that you look at while you stand on an electric escalator as you pass by them. I remember watching all the animals (the snakes, the giraffes, the panda bears!) at the (huge) San Diego Zoo. I remember being absolutely sure (and later, disappointed) that the animals at the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland were real-life elephants, crocodiles and tigers.  I remember petting farms, feeding goats and flamingos. I guess I was very impressed by all these animals, because later I would go on to study Biology and Veterinary Medicine.

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Anyhow, as I tried to bring back more childhood memories the one that I should write about struck me. Growing up the Christmas holidays were always full of magic. Like most kids, I believed in Santa Claus and the 3 Wise Magi from the East up until the last possible moment, when one Christmas morning our stockings were filled with the red-and-white candy canes that I had seen laying on the top of the fridge for well over a month. That’s when I knew who was behind it all. Or maybe it was the year I had asked for the “Hornomágico” (magic oven). This was a toy oven that made real cakes. My oldest cousin had it, and I remember looking forward to visiting her so we could bake and play for hours. She lived in a huge apartment building, which came with lots of neighbours. It was lots of fun. But my favourite game was preparing cakes with her magic oven.  The cakes produced by said artifact were pancake-like and after they were ready we would proceed to decorate them with chocolate spread, glazes, meringue, sprinkles…

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This one Christmas I had begged and prayed and hassled my parents about it. I had written my letter to the 3 Wise Magi, complete with photos of the toys I wanted (cut and pasted from toy catalogues). On January 6 I rushed down to the tree, early in the morning, with my brother, and there it was. My Magic Oven, right under my shoe. We had to wait for what seemed an eternity for our parents to wake up and help us assemble the toys. When it was finally time, after taking out all the plastick-y pieces from the box and putting them together my dear mom exclaimed: “What? This thing cooks with a light bulb? Of course it will not work!”  I explained that “Yes it works, my cousin has it, we make cakes with it all the time.” All the crying, begging and annoyingly repeating of my story did not work. She took the oven, put everything back in the box and took me to the shop so I could pick something else. She told me some story about how the Wise Magi left the receipts with the parents in case of events like this. What? I thought they made the stuff with their magic powers, you know, like the Elves in the North Pole. I remember I got She-Ra’s crystal castle instead, which was a great choice because my brother had He-Man’s Grayskull castle and we would play epic games that lasted for hours.

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Nevertheless the spell had been broken, a tiny doubt had started to grow in me and later these events would be proof of what I knew but didn’t want to accept.

It’s funny that I remember this episode so vividly, as, at 32, after trying to find a job in my field for 3 years, doing internships, taking unrelated jobs (in the tourism business) and applying to any vacancy even remotely related to the veterinary, bio-medical or food technology fields, without success, I am about to start a business*, in, you guessed it, baking and hand-painting cakes.  Some childhood dreams last forever.

*I want to say Christina’s post on owning her own business and the perks of being your own boss (here at your blog) was an inspiration. I kept coming back to re-read it during the long process it took before I finally decided to take the plunge, research all the legal details and the market, swallowed my fears and put myself out there.

Image credits:
Here and here and here and here and here and here.

16 thoughts on “Guestposting: Amanda and The Magic Oven”

  1. This post made my heart soar and then break for you, Amanda. I had an easy bake oven growing up, and it was somewhat magical. Maybe you will get one still someday? Even if it seems silly, there might be some strange delight it playing with one with some kids you know… Or on your own. 🙂

    My neighbor had a jelly bug- making kit which was basically the same thing but way cooler (according to 4 year old kinzie). You poured the gel into the molds and the “baked” it, and then there would be these cool wiggly scorpions that you could play with and stick to the walls.

    1. Hey Kinzie ! Having an easybake oven someday in the future does sound like fun… the other day we were babysitting our neighbors’ kids (3 and 5) and we made banana muffines, it was lots of fun.

      Oh and those wiggly insects sound like fun (we had similar stuff, but not a machine to make them sounds amazing). The kind of thing you would throw to the ceiling or to the blackboard.

  2. Oh my god your cakes are GORGEOUS. I’m mildly obsessed with baking/beautiful cakes (it’s my dream one day to make a wedding cake…I even seriously considered making my OWN wedding cake…which I was wisely talked out of). I love that you’re taking this dream and turning it into a business.

    1. Thanks 🙂 A lot of girls do make their wedding cakes (of course with helpers) it sounds like a fun adventure, but, yes you do need the time and logistics, and of course it depends on the number of people. 🙂 Thanks, I hope it will go well…

  3. Its amazing how invested we were in certain things when we were kids, isn’t it? I felt the same way about rollerblades one Christmas- I wanted them SO badly, I left pictures around the house, talked about them constantly, put them all over my Christmas list… basically every not-so-subtle move known to children the world over. Christmas morning comes, we open gifts… no rollerblades. We go visit grandma, open gifts… no rollerblades. We go visit grandpa, open gifts (yes, i was a very spoiled child)… no rollerblades. My parents were sitting back, watching the whole process, and when I acted like it was NBD, i loved everything, thanked everyone, they pulled me aside and told me they knew I was really disappointed and were proud of how I handled it. Then, they pulled out one more gift. Yup, the rollerblades. Cue total hysterics.

    My parents were kind of sadistic. I have no idea what would have happened if I had sad face about those damn rollerblades.

    1. Oh wow, yeah…. that sounds like torture hehe, but you handled it properly, and at the end you got your rollerblades. Those were good times, skating around with cousins and friends… I remember when the in-line skates came out and they were such a sensation.

  4. How amazing that your childhood memories were so strong that now you are following them into a new career! I am so happy and excited for you!

    1. I really hope so… And yeah, I kind of started thinking about it seriously (it had been in my mind for long before that) a few months ago, and I thought I can do this, at least I will try. When I discovered I could learn this technique I saw it all come together. Thanks for the support !

  5. I still don’t know how those stupid things work! My niece got one for christmas this year and they are so weird. But it makes me sad that you didn’t get to experience the magic. Not fair in childhood-land. Isn’t it funny, but your mom would probably be shocked to realize how much of an impact this had had on you?

    On the other hand, I LOVED my She-Ra castle too. Totally awesome.

    1. Yeah, I am not sure my mom realizes it, but she for sure likes the things I bake nowadays.
      She-Ra was awesome!
      PS I think it was not complicated to use? But then again my cousin who had it was 5 years older, so for me she was always a super hero who knew everything and I was just happy to be able to tag along with her!

  6. Um, ok, so I think I missed the announcement about the cake decorating business?!! Girl, you need to catch me up! (Also, I totally missed this whole fake-but-real oven trend as a child which makes me sad but maybe that was because my mum was letting me use the actual oven from when I was three so ok, fair enough…)

    1. Oh Fiona ! Well, this was the un-official, sneaky announcement. I am still waiting to get the perfect-ed Dutch texts, and some photos back to launch it for realz. 🙂 But we need to talk!
      And well, if you had the real-oven to play with, you didn’t need a fake one (my mom was kind of afraid of the mess I’d leave behind in the kitchen). You ended up with great baking skills too!

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