Growing up in the late seventies, Delia Ephron’s How to Eat Like a Child: And Other Lessons in Not Being a Grown-Up (Viking Press, 1977) had the auspicious honor of being in my top five.* Sassy and irreverent, the seemingly rebellious collection of expository essays was nothing less than side-splittingly hysterical. It was also a fun time-suck that initiated deep, profound experimentation and conversations with friends. True Case: My childhood chum, Colleen, and I really did see if M&M’s would melt in our hands (Outcome: positive) and it was unanimously agreed upon after extensive discourse that we’d both much rather be frozen to death than burned alive.
The cult success of How to Eat Like a Child surely owed debt to the sleepy zeitgeist of the decade’s waning years. But it was also a much simpler time to grow up. While computers were something on The Jetsons and trotting off to the neighborhood pool was the activity du jour, How to Eat Like a Child fell right into place between episodes of Mork and Mindy and multiple games of Mastermind. And with that came the era of old-school rebellion. The notion of calling your teacher and sending seven pizzas or torturing siblings with jelly doughnuts certainly qualified as satisfying, subversive fun to any eight-year-old.
So check out or revisit the timeless universal enjoyment of How to Eat Like a Child. After all, we’re all kids at heart!
Now where is that number for Pizza Hut…I never did like that mean, craggy Mrs. Weinerschmidt.
*Top Five – Favorite books