Hello and Welcome to Milk Bar: Kids Only
My name is Christina, and I own Milk Bar, a bakery where I serve up my spin on cookies, cakes, pies, and ice cream—but my love of all things dessert started way, way before I was old enough to pay rent.
Both my parents worked, and most days after school, I simply couldn’t wait for them to get home to help me turn on the oven. I’d figure out ways to concoct cookie dough or cereal treats, cake batters and icings. My creations were great in my eyes, but judging by the looks on my sister Angela’s face, I was mad crazy to think they were serve-able. Edible, even. But that didn’t matter much to me. I loved playing with ingredients, learning time and time again how to dig deep into the pantry and create something new, something epic, something that was all mine.
I always thought my mom’s advice of “Just be yourself” was lip service—the kind of thing parents tell you but that doesn’t really solve any of your problems. Little did I know that it would one day be the phrase I tell myself when I get dressed in the morning, when I’m choosing whether or not candy bars between bread is an acceptable lunch sandwich to pack, when I walk into the Milk Bar kitchen or the MasterChef Junior
kitchen or a big, adult boardroom meeting. It’s certainly what I tell myself when I’m dreaming up my next cake flavor combo (pretzel–potato chip-chocolate-butterscotch-graham?!) or deciding whether or not corn dog waffles are a good idea (they’re out of this world, in case you were wondering).
The cool part about being a kid—that’s you!—is that you’re naturally much closer to the spirit of “Just be yourself.” I’m sure there are things that you worry about in life, but if you’re like lots of kids, you don’t know how to be anything but
yourself. I mean, you’re probably still learning and tinkering with the very idea of what “yourself” is! So you create, come up with ideas, and express them freely, willing to try anything and everything that comes to mind. Your imagination knows no limit. This is the kind of world I believe in. And when it comes to baking, I believe there is no better way to be.
As a kind-of adult, I think we need to give kids like you more room to spread your wings and fly. You are so unbelievably capable and curious. You see, you listen, you understand—and when you don’t, you’re hungry to learn. You are old enough to know your likes and dislikes but young enough to be unapologetically fearless in your pursuit of a wacky cheddar-chive biscuit ham sandwich or gingerbread peace-sign cookies with a cranberry glaze. You have boundless passion and fresh ideas, and that’s what this world needs most: the magic you have within—magic you measure and mix, magic you deliver to the table and into the world beyond.
I wanted to write this cookbook because it’s the cookbook I didn’t have when I was growing up. It’s a cookbook that teaches the basics, then encourages you to see the brilliance that a little personality can bring to the mix. It’s a cookbook I hope you will make your weekend plans and parties around. It’s a book that gives you permission to make a mess, to let your truest self run wild and share that part of you with your family, neighbors, and friends. There is also a section about cleaning up, I promise.
P.S. I hope it’s also a book that you take with you as you grow up, a reminder that you can be anything in life now and forever, as long as it’s yourself.
Copyright © 2020 by Christina Tosi. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.