Amazing Kids! Magazine

Delicious Generosity

By Karen Lau Ka Kei, age 15, Macau

 

I opened the door to the closet and there, sitting on the floor, was a locked chest with a flat wooden cover scuffed and layered with grime, seemingly untouched for years. With its battered leather straps and coppery, decorative escutcheon, it had an antique flair, and the aged Latin word “Mysticus” written on top invoked a curious trepidation. It was a shared belief among the family’s younger generation that Uncle Chem was a wizard in disguise, but the adults thought the notion was silly, including Uncle himself. So here I was, standing in front of his secret closet while he was away on business with evidence right in front of me to prove that he was indeed no ordinary person. I knelt down beside the chest and closed my eyes, enjoying a shiver down my spine in this moment of excitement. What might possibly be inside?

With a creak of hinges and a waft of cedar wood, I peered inside and saw nothing, nothing but pitch black. Despite its height of 12 inches, it strangely seemed to have no base as if it were connected to the closet floor and were a hole that extended all the way down into the earth. I reached into the bottomless pit, and my hand came immediately in contact with a mushy, spongy, and wet object. I froze for a second or two, thousands of grotesque images flashing in my mind’s eye. When my hand shot back up, I started at the sight of the pinkish cream that covered my fingers. What was that?! I craned my head to look tentatively into the chest once more. Still an endless hole, and nothing in sight. After the scare of the cream, I was reluctant to have a go with it again, but curiosity drove me on. I made another dive into the chest.

What emerged was not only my hand but also something that made my jaw drop in surprise: a frosted, sprinkled, pink cupcake! I was holding it upside-down, frosting to palm, but it was undoubtedly a cupcake. I looked at it with skepticism, but the glutton in me manifested upon the sweet aroma of cranberry—unable to resist the temptation, I decisively licked the frosting. Sugary, buttery, and of the perfect creaminess and consistency! Despite its messy state, I gobbled up the entire cupcake in a flash.

Unsatisfied, I reached into the mysterious chest again, hoping for another delicious comestible. This time it wasn’t a cupcake but an apple pie, warm as if fresh from the oven, with half-melted marshmallows on top. Even before finishing it, I was already grabbing another pie, this one served à la mode and drenched in caramel sauce. What followed were equally exquisite desserts and baked goods: glazed donuts, buttered scones, bouncy puddings…and so much, much more! I stuffed myself with delectable éclairs oozing whipped cream, threaded with strips of tangerine; cored pineapple slices soused with chocolate syrup, sprinkled with sugar; then lemon cheesecakes with a heavenly zesty tang, exciting my taste buds. With every grab there was a new surprise: From decadent cakes to brownies to berry parfaits, there was no dessert the chest did not have.

Some desserts came on plates, and others, like the tiramisu, came in elegant, fluted glasses. However, since no spoons or forks were provided, my prehensile tongue, avaricious hands, and salivating mouth were the only utensils. Like a lion with a voracious appetite, I devoured the chest with great relish. Crumbs and specks of cream soared to the vicinity, and sticky jam stained both the carpet and the clothes in the closet. I neither cared about etiquette nor about the mess I was making, for all I was thinking was Food, food, food. I had another round of ice cream and gummy bears, then took a swig of orange juice to go with my scrumptious tarts.

All of this managed to curb my sweet tooth, but now I wanted something salty between my teeth. The next item, fulfilling my wishes, was not dessert; it was a plate of spaghetti, bright with tomato sauce. Bread, rice, and other staples were next in line, each of them with a five-star restaurant makeover: the bread was twisted into whimsical shapes, and the rice, soft and steamy, was peppered with exotic condiments. International dishes abound, ranging from Mexican to Japanese cuisines, as well as food suitable for the lactose intolerants and vegetarians. I glowed with euphoria, munching on sloppy joes, swishing sushi in soy sauce, and smearing salsa on tacos.

Naturally, an overindulgence of food predisposes one to indigestion. After making a mistake of guzzling a whole pot of creamy stew in one swift gulp, I felt an ominous lurch in my stomach. I would have thrown up right into the chest had I not gotten up in time to make for the window, vomiting a beautiful rainbow splatter into the yard. Even though the contents I had emptied were not in the least bit ugly, I was feeling dizzy and unwell.

With my lesson learnt, I decided not to be an effete gourmand anymore. I cleaned up my mess, found an empty suitcase, and began to stuff as many foods and drinks as I could from the chest inside. For the next couple of days, I went door to door to share my chest of wonders with all people, giving them the most luxurious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. I offered my services completely free of charge, and soon I earned the nickname of “The Generous Kid” in the neighborhood. Upgrading the suitcase into a wheeled portable cooler, I visited Uncle Chem’s house with it daily to replenish my food supply.

Uncle did find out about my secret rendezvous with his magical chest later. But instead of getting angry, he supported me when I started my own foundation, the “Feed the Globe Foundation.” Together we helped the poor and the hungry, saving people from all over the world, and I went from a local hero to the nation’s savior. After expanding to an international scale and getting involved in famine relief, I found out that the joy of helping others far exceeded the pleasure of eating, and I worked even harder. Our achievements soared, and the foundation quickly became one of the world’s leading charitable organizations. The country admired me, the nation respected me, and I felt like I was on the top of the world, swimming in glory and an endless pool of food…

My stomach growled with hunger from the thoughts of food. Opening my eyes again, I looked back at the chest, taking in its tarnished brass hasp and old padlock. All of that would have been magnificent, and how I wished it would come true! But first, I needed to find a way to unlock the chest.