A few weeks ago, Positively Cleveland and the Plain Dealer ran an essay contest called "What I Want for Christmas." Not the most original prompt, but at least it challenged me to find a strong, original angle.
I wrote two essays for the contest (three, really, but I only submitted two). The essay that won is in praise of Cleveland: my wish for Christmas is that people in Cleveland will start to appreciate and take advantage of what we have. At first I was reluctant to write this one, fearing that it might just seem like pandering since the essay would be printed in a Cleveland newspaper, for a contest run by a Cleveland tourism group. I ultimately decided that anyone who knows me knows how passionately I feel about the city of Cleveland, and how one of my main goals has always been to look for the positive and share my favorite Cleveland places and things with others.
That essay won and it was mistakenly credited to "Melissa Desantis." Whoops. It got corrected two days later.
I thought I'd post that essay to my blog, but first I want to post the essay that didn't win, since many people in my life are curious about it. It doesn't have a title, as that was not required of me upon entry. But here it is, all 400 words of it:
This June I got engaged to a marvelous fellow. It all feels wonderful, but our wedding date will not arrive until 2010. Now, for the wedding I’ll be patient. But there’s just one thing I simply can’t wait for: there is no way I can go another year without a KitchenAid Artisan Series mixer.
As a little girl, I watched my grandma mix unreasonable amounts of Christmas sugar cookie dough in her hearty banana-yellow upright KitchenAid. I saw the beater, big as my head, tirelessly whipping potatoes into shape. I ogled the dough hook as it beckoned me with its calculated curve. Grandma used the model with the pasta maker attachment, slicing thick sheets of dough that would plump in her savory homemade chicken noodle soup.
I've always been a tomboy, eschewing girlish stereotypes and making crusades against what was expected of my gender. I always asked for the boy’s toy in my Happy Meal. I refused to wear the color pink. But my Grandma is tough, and so is her KitchenAid mixer. And I want one this Christmas.
Look at it. It's the ‘57 Chevy of home appliances. Seated firmly in the center of my hope chest, it's seducing the muffin pans and spatulas with its smooth and saucy sheen. Frilly aprons, beware! This piece of equipment demands to be operated in motorcycle boots. It's tough, it's sexy. Have you watched the videos on the KitchenAid website? The music is seductive, the camera angles provocative. They know exactly what they're doing.
This Christmas, watch me tilt back its chrome-plated head as I throw back my own in the uninhibited ecstasy of a culinary goddess. This thing can whip up enough dough for nine dozen cookies at one time. And oh, the speed! With that kind of production, I'll never have to worry about running out before Santa arrives.
This Christmas, I want what every red-blooded American wants, woman or man: a 325 watt motor, a 5 quart bowl, a stand mixer that looks like it was designed by the Fonz’s and Andy Warhol’s lovechild. The kind of tough-as-grits wedding present that probably outlasts most marriages. And it can probably beat tough grits, too. Ten pounds at once.
I want this one last whirlwind-whip hurrah before I get married. Or the rest of the wedding registry won't stand a chance.
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