Anna, Banana, and the Recipe for Disaster
Chapter One Batter Up
“No, not the carrots!” my best friend Sadie said to the television. “Don’t add those to the cake batter! Yuck!”
My other best friend, Isabel, shrugged at the screen. “I like carrot cake,” she said.
“Yeah, but chocolate carrot cake?” Sadie said. “Blech. No thank you.” We watched as the kid contestants on The Batter-Up Bake-Off Show grated three large carrots into the mixing bowl and poured in a cupful of chocolate chunks. Sadie wrinkled her nose.
“I’d try it,” Isabel said. “What about you, Anna?”
“If Dad served it for dinner, I’d have to,” I said. That was the food rule at my house: You eat what you’re served, even if it’s beets or brussels sprouts.
“True, but you’re at my house now,” Sadie said. “There aren’t any rules like that here.” There weren’t any food rules at either of Sadie’s houses. Both of her parents let her eat what she likes. And here at her dad’s place, we’re allowed to watch as much TV as we want, too, although usually we’re busy with games or adventures.
Hanging out at my house is still the most fun though because there we get to be with my dog, Banana. But Banana doesn’t mind if I go to Sadie’s or Isabel’s, as long as I tell her all about it afterward.
“I’d still probably try it,” I said, “if only so I could tell Banana what it tastes like.”
Sadie shuddered. “Just let her taste it for herself!”
“Nope. Chocolate is really bad for dogs. Like, it’s basically poison,” I said. I was always super careful to keep chocolate out of Banana’s reach. Even the thought of her eating some made my heart skip with panic.
Isabel nodded. “Cats too,” she said. “We thought Mewsic maybe ate some once, and had to take him to the vet.” Mewsic is Isabel’s gigantic orange tabby cat. He’s even bigger than Banana.
“What did the vet do about it?” Sadie asked.
“She gave him some medicine to make him throw up,” Isabel said.
“Aw, poor kitty,” I said, trying not to picture it.
“Yeah, but at least then he was safe,” Isabel said. I couldn’t argue with that.
“Oooh!” Sadie grabbed the remote and turned up the volume. “This is my favorite part.”
It had been Sadie’s idea for us to watch TV today—she’d really wanted us to see this new baking show. “Batter up!” she cheered, along with the whole TV audience. On screen, the two teams of kid contestants stepped up to the judges’ plate to show off their final creations.
“Whoa, they sprinkled carrots on top of the frosting, too,” I said, as that team gave the “pitch” for why their recipe invention should win. “They’re really into this chocolate-carrot thing.”
Sadie stuck out her tongue. “Gross.”
“I like it,” Isabel said. “It looks like a Halloween cake.”
“Yeah, but Halloween is over.” Sadie leaned back into the couch where we were sitting. “I think the other team should win. Zucchini-walnut cookies sound much better, even though it’s still vegetables for dessert.”
“I’d at least give the carrot team points for creativity,” I said.
“Definitely,” Isabel agreed. But the judges agreed with Sadie. They awarded the golden chef’s cap to the other team.
“We should go on this show together,” Sadie said, clicking it off with the remote. “We’re a really good team.”
“But we don’t know how to bake!” Isabel said.
“So? We’ll learn.” Sadie tossed a throw pillow at me and I caught it. “I’m going to a cupcake- making party tomorrow after school, actually,” she said.
Isabel perked up. “You’re going to Monica’s birthday party? Me too!”
“Cool!” Sadie said. She and Isabel beamed at each other.
I looked back and forth between them, feeling suddenly left out. “Who’s Monica?” I asked. I didn’t know Sadie and Isabel had a friend in common who wasn’t me.
“A girl in Mr. Garrison’s class,” Sadie said. “I
don’t know her all that well, but her mom and my dad work together, so that’s why I got invited.”
“I was friends with her last year in Ms. Lahiri’s class,” Isabel explained. “Before I met you guys.” Sadie and I had been friends forever, but we only met Isabel this school year. It already felt like we’d been friends with her forever too though.
“Oh. I think I know who that is,” I said. I could picture Monica’s short, curly hair and big brown eyes, but I wasn’t sure if I’d ever talked to her. Even though we were the same age, we had never been in the same class. Of course she hadn’t invited me to her birthday party—we didn’t even know each other. But it was weird that Sadie and Isabel would be going to the party without me. I couldn’t help feeling sad about that, but I tried not to show it. “A baking party sounds fun,” I said.
“I’m so glad you’ll be there,” Sadie said to Isabel. “I thought I wouldn’t know anyone.”
“I’ll sit next to you!” Isabel said. She turned to me. “Once we’re baking experts, we’ll teach you everything we know.”
“Yeah!” Sadie said.
I hugged the throw pillow to my chest and tried to ignore the lump in the back of my throat. It wasn’t anyone’s fault I was being left out—that was just the way it was. And it was only for one afternoon. Still, as my Nana would say, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
I forced myself to smile. “As long as you won’t be hiding any carrots in the cupcakes,” I
said, and tossed the throw pillow back at Sadie.
Sadie laughed. “No way.”
Isabel held up her hand for a three-way pinky swear, and Sadie and I hooked our pinkies with hers. “Only sweets in our treats,” she said. “We promise.”