Blinded with Science
Anna did a science fair project.
Actually - and pretty much any parent of a second-grader already knows this - Anna's daddy did a science fair project, in which she was somewhat peripherally involved, when not too deeply engrossed in furnishing and decorating her virtual bedroom on barbie.com. And, in finest green fashion, he actually recycled a science fair project that (cough, cough) Eric did some years ago, on making cupcakes with various different types of leavening, or with none. Anna, her friend Gracie, and Katie judged the results, and Anna typed up the final report.
Gracie lives four houses down, and is in first grade. Her parents are an advertising executive and a lawyer. She also has a natural flair for the dramatic. This makes her an excellent cupcake judge, because she says things like, "This one is unbelievably delicious, as soft and fluffy as a cloud" and "If I have to eat any more of this cupcake, I'll just die."
Anna follows her cue. "I can't take anymore," reads one of her results - on the cupcake leavened with yeast, I believe. I would say she was prejudiced by having read up on exactly how yeast works, but it was a blind taste test, so she didn't know she was chowing down on microorganism farts.
Katie is sixteen and no stranger to drama herself, but this is a second-grade science fair project, for heaven's sake. She gets right to the point. "Moist and dense, like a brownie," she says of the unleavened cake, which actually won the taste-test, although it didn't look the nicest. She didn't care for the yeast one either. "Tastes like chocolate dirt," she said.
Alas! this experiment, which garnered Eric a second-place result at his school, in eighth grade, I think, was not a winner for Anna. Partly, it's possible that the cupcakes might have been accidentally switched during the tasting, and the results therefore had to be slightly fudged (sorry). Partly, Eric's science fair took place in Corpus. But worst of all was that Anna's display - one of each of the four different cupcakes, cut in cross-section, and placed on a sheet of paper with each cupcake labeled and the words "DO NOT EAT" prominently displayed across the bottom - was mysteriously consumed some time before the judges arrived.
Eaten by whom? Perhaps a rival; and if so, one hopes the cakes caused at least a certain degree of guilty indigestion. At least the yeast one. But this was an elementary-school science fair, and the exhibits were on display in the cafeteria for half a day. Probably somebody was just hungry.
Well, there's always next year.