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1982

Food

In the children's department, Jeff is standing behind a table of cooking equipment. He has on a chef's hat and he puts on an apron and asks us what we think he's supposed to be.

"A cook!" He answers. "Only I don't know anything about cooking." He explains that it is all an idea of Sam's and Muffy's to create a restaurant on the roof. They're going to call it "The Starlight Cafe", and Jeff puts the top of his apron on so we can see the title written on the apron.

Oops! Jeff forgot that it's all supposed to be a secret, since Jodie doesn't know anything about the restaurant on the roof. Sam and Muffy want to surprise her. Jeff isn't sure he's cut out to be a cook, but he figures, maybe with a little practice . . .

He sings, "I am a chef beyond compare, and I cook with quite a flair, I can stir and mix and bake, oh, the things that I can make!" Sam comes in and joins in the song. Then Jeff sings about some of his specialties:

"Breakfast at my house is really a treat, spinach and waffles and pickled pig's feet. For my luncheon guests I like to prepare chocolate covered onions, medium rare!"

("Chocolate onions?!" exclaims Sam.)

Next he describes boiled sardines with whipped cream on the side and does a little dance with the cooking utensils.

"Yeah, I wish he could cook as well as he dances!" Sam says. He has just come down to get a hammer for something that needs fixing on the roof, but when he hears Jodie coming he hurries out, leaving Jeff to hide his apron and chef's hat so Jodie won't suspect anything.

Jodie comes in and she's already confused. She wonders where Sam and Muffy are, and why Jeff has cooking equipment up in the children's department.

Jeff gives her this message. "Muffy said to tell you that she's up on the roof, and Sam's there too, come on up, we've got a surprise for you!"

As Jodie is on her way to the roof, TXL asks us if we think Jeff will make a good cook with his sardines with whipped cream. She's glad she doesn't have to eat his cooking. In fact, she doesn't have to eat anything, she points out that she just needs to be plugged in. Cars need gasoline to make them go, but what gives kids energy? Not electricity or gasoline, but energy from food. Food makes you strong and helps you grow.

Up on the roof, Muffy and Sam are admiring their work. They have lights, tables, tablecloths and dishes. They were able to get the roof door open, which is a good thing since previously the only way to get on the roof was through the old trap door, which is not too inviting.

When they hear Jodie coming they decide to hide. When she comes up she is quite shocked to see the change in the roof. Sam and Muffy jump out from behind the counter and yell, "Surprise!"

Jodie thinks it's a very good idea, but . . .

"What but!" Sam answers. "Here's the way it works Jodie. See people get hungry right, and they have to eat. Well, some of those people are just bound to come up here to the Starlight Cafe!"

"Yeah, but what do the two of you know about running a restaurant?"

Sam says all he knows is everyone has to eat, it's as simple as that. "Everyone has to eat," they sing, "so why not eat at our cafe? Enjoy your meals the rooftop way!" They do a little dance, Muffy puts a rose in her mouth and they really get into it. Jodie is charmed by their little show. "You two are wonderful." But she adds, "I don't want to be a wet blanket and spoil all your fun but I really have to ask this again, what do the two of you know about running a restaurant? I mean, this is a big job."

Sam says they've thought of everything and Muffy suggests that she try it out herself by pretending to be a customer.

So Jodie sits down and calls out, "Waiter!"

Sam shows up and says in an exaggerated French-like accent.

"Yes, Madame, I am your wait-TOR. May i be of ser-VEEZ in our fine restau-RANT?"

Jodie asks for a menu. Oops! They forgot to make menus. "All right, so I forgot one little thing." Then Muffy whispers to him and he admits, they forgot to buy the food, too.

Jodie sighs. "Oh! Really!" She looks at us. "What do you think of a restaurant that doesn't even have food?"

Muffy suggests that she and Sam run off to the grocery store and get the food. Jodie wonders what she will do all the time they're gone. Sam suggests she read a book.

"Read a book?!" Jodie says. So she pulls a book of Willoby Tales out of her bag.

Mark Carpenter reads us the story of Wilbur Willoby. He is Wendall and Wanda's cousin who is visiting for the summer, and he has a weight problem. People tease him and call him "fat fat water rat." The more depressed he got because of the teasing, the more he ate to make himself feel better, then he got fatter and was teased more, and it just went on and on.

Wilbur secretly goes off to see the doctor to find out what he can do about his weight. The doctor told him he had to eat good food and get plenty of exercise.

All summer long he does this, even though eating only good food is very hard. He has fun with the exercise, though, swimming, playing ball and doing things with his cousins. He started to lose weight. All year long he stuck to the plan so that the next summer he was a new Wilbur. No more "fat fat water rat!"


The mime lady comes along and mimes picking a fruit off a tree. It soon becomes clear she's eating a banana. But when she's done she tosses the peel on the floor. Naturally, she slips and winds up on the floor, too.

Jodie is still on the roof waiting, admiring the city lights. All this playing customer in a restaurant has really made her hungry. She decides to eat a bread stick while she waits. She asks if we know what happens to food after we swallow it. She uses a T-shirt that a friend gave her that she hasn't gotten the nerve to wear yet. On the back of it is says, "Yummy in my tummy," and on the front is a picture of a stomach.

She holds the front of the T-shirt in front of her and says that when you swallow food, it goes into your stomach and the juices in your stomach break the food into tiny little bits and then your body can use all the vitamins and minerals that are in the food to make you healthy and strong. Wow. Now she's really feeling hungry. She wonders if Sam and Muffy have started their shopping yet.

Meanwhile, at the market, Sam and Muffy have to hurry because it will only be open for a half hour longer. Muffy tells him to come along while she sings the market song. "Come, come and explore, the aisles of a grocery store!" she sings about all the wonderful things to buy, but when they're done with their shopping Sam finds he has forgotten his wallet and they have to put all the food back. And there isn't time to get his wallet because the store is going to close soon. Sam apologizes for the trouble and promises they'll put everything back neatly.

Jeff is still trying to be a cook in the children's department and he makes a sandwich with some things he found in Sam's lunch box. He found a piece of liverwurst sausage, two slices of bread and an onion. Unfortunately, he simply puts the whole onion, peel and all right into the sandwich with the meat. He knows the sandwich isn't quite right but we have to tell him what's wrong, for example, that he should take the peel off the onion before putting it into a sandwich.

The mime lady is at a restaurant too, and she sits down to eat while TXL sings "Everyone has to eat." But the menu has nothing on it but junk food so she tosses it away. TXL sings about fruits and vegetables, milk and other good food, and it all appears on the mime's table. The mime lady shows off her muscles and runs in place to show that the food makes her strong. Then she sits down and begins to eat an apple.

Up on the roof, Jodie is bored and hungry. She has been waiting for 2 hours. Sam and Muffy come in with a covered tray and admit they forgot the money and couldn't buy any food, but they have the sandwich that Jeff made. When they lift off the cover though, there are only some bread crusts left, since Penelope has eaten the rest. So all they have for Jodie to eat is an apple. The wind picks up, clouds cover the moon, and thunder sounds, it's going to rain. Sam puts the tray cover on Muffy's head to protect her, and she says to make sure he doesn't serve her to Penelope. They all get under cover before the rain comes, and their lovely little cafe is being blown and washed away as Sam and Muffy watch sadly.

In the children's department, Sam, Jeff and Muffy are very unhappy. Jeff feels like a failure because he couldn't even make a simple sandwich without help from us. Sam and Muffy are sulking because their restaurant was a flop, and they got "blown out of the business."

Jodie comes in with some apple juice for everyone and tries to lift their spirits. Muffy says, "At least we tried, we can say that with pride." They start thinking that maybe next time they try, they will succeed. They'll make sure they have food and menus and they will pick a place out of the wind and rain. And Jeff says he can read a cook book and practice his cooking.

"I propose a toast," Muffy says, "Raise your glasses high, here's to people who aren't afraid to try!"

And they all sing about the future, when they will be "chefs beyond compare!


Quizzes:

  • Pretend you're an animal. If you're a rabbit which would you want to eat? Fish or lettuce? What if you're a fish, would you like to eat a pickle or a worm? (Aren't you glad you're not a fish?)
  • What kind of food comes in this container? (Eggs). What animal has feathers, lives on a farm and gives us eggs?
  • Wilbur Willoby is hungry for something round. Does he want a sandwich, a banana, or an orange?
  • What doesn't belong in this bowl of fruit? (A baseball)

Nursery Rhyme:

  • Alas, alas for Miss McKay her knives and forks have run away.

Notes:

  • The song "Everyone Has to Eat," is adapted from "Everyone Has to Sleep," from the 1981 episode Sleep.
  • Early on, Sam's tastes weren't as strange as they later became. In Food, Sam doesn't think chocolate covered onions or sardines with whipped cream sound appetizing. But later on, as in 1987's Ice Cream, he talks about eating pizza with maple walnut ice cream and makes sardine ice cream.
  • Food is clearly an early episode, there are a lot of parts which are simply teaching us about eating and food, both with TXL and with Jodie. In later episodes, the lessons become more subtle.
  • The music to the "Aisles of a Grocery Store" song was played live in the recording studio in the episode Records.
  • Look carefully at the scenes of Muffy singing in the market. She is singing and dancing right in the cat food aisle! An inside joke, I suppose.
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