Iron Monkey

By Mir
September 14, 2005

My ex can tell you (and just might, given the opportunity) that the first television show I ever became hopelessly addicted to was Iron Chef. Not the sucktastic Amercian version that they now have on The Food Network with Bobby Flay (Bobby knows his barbecue, yes; no offense meant), but the original show dubbed over from Japanese to very! perky! English!! Chairman Kaga was regal and kooky, the secret theme ingredient was just as likely to be turnips as an aquarium churning full of stingrays, and the guest tasters always included some insipid Japanese actress who looked and sounded like truly atrocious anime sprung to Hello-Kitty-imbued life.

It was perfection.

The best part was always when the Chairman would introduce his iron chefs and they would rise up out of the floor, looking very still and serious. Iron Chef… Japanese! Iron Chef… Italian! Iron Chef… FRENCH! The French chef held a pear, you know. Because he was French. And the French are known for their… pears. Anyway.

Tomorrow morning I’m taking my baby to his own personal Kitchen Stadium, quite possibly to poison him.

Announcer: Today in Kitchen Stadium… a battle unlike any we’ve ever witnessed here before! *crowd oohs and aahs and claps* Our Challenger, Eater Allergist, is an accomplished eater in his own right. With the gazillions of dollars from his patients, he can pretty much afford anything he feels like stuffing in his mouth. But can he defeat one of the Iron Eaters? He must now select his worthy opponent from amongst them. Who will it be, Eater Allergist?

*sounds of the collective holding of breath from the audience*

Eater Allergist: I choose to battle… Iron Eater Pop-Tart!!

*The spotlight trains on a small boy with persistent cowlicks and dirty feet. He shields his eyes from the light while giggling.*

*The crowd applauds wildly.*

Announcer: Eater Allergist has elected to battle Iron Eater Pop-Tart! Iron Eater Pop-Tart is known for his staunch preference for preservatives and abhorrence of fresh produce. Don’t let his size fool you–he has been known to down three of four toaster pastries in a single sitting. Eater Allergist may have met his match.

Chairman Kaga: In my many years in Kitchen Stadium, blah blah blah blah…. *Kaga drones on while the audience falls asleep* Hey! Wake up! I’m about to unveil the secret ingredient! *audience cheers* Today, a match that shall prove exciting beyond any other we’ve ever had here! Even though I say that every week! Yes, today… behold… the PEANUT BATTLE!

*Dry ice smoke wafts across Kitchen Stadium as a table covered in cans of peanuts is raised into the arena. Gasps are heard throughout the audience. Eater Allergist nods sagely, in anticipation. Iron Eater Pop-Tart wipes his nose on his shirt.*

Chairman Kaga: The battle will last for 4 hours, or until one of you is overwhelmed by symptoms. Choose your plan of action carefully, and may the BEST. EATER. TRIUMPH!

*wild applause*

*A small thud is heard from the balcony. Pay no attention! It’s just Iron Eater Pop-Tart’s mother having a small aneurysm. Carry on!*

Yep. Tomorrow morning is Monkey’s food challenge. PEANUT BATTLE! I may be a tad nervous. Picturing my child in a tall paper hat while we cooperate with his doctor to poison him alleviates my nerves only a little.

It probably didn’t help that I went to buy the peanuts for the test and was standing in the checkout line with a friend. She (my friend) tried to put the peanuts in with her purchases and wave away the money I offered. “Don’t worry about it,” she said.

“No,” I asserted. “If anyone is going to buy poison for my child, it’s going to be ME.” And I stuffed my money into her purse.

The cashier raised her eyebrows at me as she scanned the peanuts. “These may not be the healthiest snack in the world, but they’re hardly POISON,” she said. My friend and I exchanged glances.

“Actually, for my kid, they are poison. He’s allergic to peanuts.” She looked horrified. “I mean,” I rushed on, “he used to be. He might not be, anymore. So I’m taking him to the doctor for a food challenge, and I have to bring the peanuts for them to use.” The look I was treated to next sort of made me long for the horrified look. This next look was a look suitable for a serial killer… who smelled of limburger… and had worms dangling from both nostrils.

I thought she was going to leap across the conveyor belt and HIT me.

“That’s SICK,” she hissed. I felt myself taking a step backwards, closer to my friend.

“Uhhh… it’s a controlled test… it’s the only way to be sure he’s outgrown it…” and I trailed off, because I realized that I was justifying my parenting choices to a random cashier.

My friend was kind enough to come to my rescue. “Well I just think it’s weird they make you bring your own peanuts!” she huffed. “You’d think they could keep a can of Planters there, or something.”

“Oh,” said the cashier, distracted from hatred of me, momentarily, “I bet I know why they do that!” Oh, this should be good, I thought to myself. She didn’t disappoint. “I bet they want you to buy them because it depends on which brand you prefer because of preservatives and stuff!”

I’m pretty sure they heard the crickets chirping all the way back in sporting goods.

Please keep my little pop-tart eater in your prayers. I’d rather he not be allergic anymore, sure. But I’ll happily take getting through tomorrow morning without him being traumatized, even if he’s still allergic. He asked me tonight what happens if he still can’t have peanuts, and I told him, “Well then you’ll still be my very favorite Monkey in the whole wide world!” That was good enough for him. (“And YOU will still be my very favorite MAMA in the whole wide world!”) And it seemed a better moment-making response than explaining that he might go into anaphylactic shock while I commit hari-kari with a nearby tongue depressor out of sheer guilt.

But just to be clear: If he passes, I am totally bathing him in Jif tomorrow night.


  1. Lil

    Good Luck Monkey!!

    Mir – Here’s hoping there are oodles of Nutter Butters in your near future!

  2. Colleen

    Good Luck Monkey and Mom, try not to worry too much. I’ll be thinking about ya.

  3. Jules

    Sorry I missed you this evening. I’m sending good thoughts to you and Monkey.

    Ya know, for a nutterbutter cookie, I could be convinced to make a drive up north ;) I prefer the waffers to the sandwich cookies….I’m just sayin’

    Here’s hoping you get the chance to kiss the Jif of that sweet boys face very soon!

    Love ya!

  4. Marvo

    What no peanuts? That means no peanut butter! Poor kid. I don’t know where I would be today without peanut butter. Okay, maybe I’d few pounds lighter.

  5. Steve Sherlock

    Mir, I hope your day is a great one. Good luck Monkey!

  6. Zuska

    Ah, the day has finally arrived!! Good luck, Monkey (and tell your Mom SKIPPY is better than Jif!)!!!!

  7. brenda

    Thinking of Monkey and his mom today. Here’s to Monkey – may his future be full of lots of pb&j sandwiches!

    * Due to various circumstances, I’ve been away from the internet for a while now and, man, I forgot how much fun you are to read!

  8. Angel

    My thoughts are with you and Monkey.

    Your introduction was hilarious! I, too, adore Iron Chef and was laughing so loud that coworkers felt the need to stop by my office to see what was up (and to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind).

  9. JuJuBee

    Good Luck to BOTH of you, from one Iron Chef addict to another…

  10. Fraulein N

    I will be keeping you and Monkey in my thoughts. Hope all goes well!

  11. Peek

    I am sooooooo thinking about you today. I hope all goes well. I hope Monkey has kicked this whole allergy thing. This kid stuff is soooooooooooooooooo hard. ((((HUGS)))))))

  12. Nancy

    Ooh, pins and needles over here!! Good luck and good thoughts to you and Monkey.

  13. laura

    I’m really wishing he was allergic to stingrays. Or eels. How much fun would that food challenge be? Good luck, little Monkey.

  14. Dea

    I love Iron Chef… LOVE IT! I also love peanut butter, hmmm peanuty goodness…. I hope all goes well and Monkey isn’t alleric anymore, cause the best sandwhich ever is hot toast with PB and honey.

  15. Dea

    ohhh that’s sandwich!

  16. Marti

    Aww….best wishes!

  17. Aimee

    Oh, good luck Monkey! I’ll be thinking about you guys. And hey, if it’ll help, do try to imagine what it would be like if he had to try something like mackerel ice cream. I seem to remember an episode of Iron Chef where somebody made ice cream out of fish. Oh, and your description of the random actress/tasters was spot on — thanks for the laugh.

  18. shannon

    Monkey, I want you to go in there and eat like a champ. You OWN those peanuts and you OWN this test!

    (keeping fingers crossed that all goes well and you don’t have to live the rest of your life not enjoying the taste of a really good pad thai-when you are older Monkey-, an amazing peanut butter cookie, or even just a spoon with JIF on it…)

  19. Wryly

    Be the peanuts.

  20. Shiz

    A monkey without peanuts is like … a kitty without tuna!

  21. Amy-GO

    Go Monkey! A whole world of peanutty goodness awaits you…

    I love the Iron Chef. My favorite was the Potato Battle, where the little old Japanese home-maker lady kicked the Iron Chef’s kiester! Now that’s must see TV!

  22. The Other Dawn

    Good luck, Monkey!

  23. Elisson

    Classic, Mir. Absolutely classic.

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