Maybe it was a bad idea.
Leaving a kid alone with an overactive imagination and a plastic egg filled with some pink, rubbery goo with magical properties was an accident just waiting to happen.
Yet, somehow, my parents still never saw it coming.
15 minutes in, and I had already lifted comic book images, blown huge bubbles, and bounced my new goo like a super ball. I had tried and already felt I had mastered everything the directions said this stuff could do.
Now I was determined to discover things they might never have imagined it could do.
What if you baked it? Fried it? Toasted it? Set it on fire?
Already, at the age of ten, my culinary instincts were stoking my curiosity and, within one day, I had already ruined my mom’s fry pan, created noxious odors, nearly electrocuted myself, and burnt my finger all in the name of my well-intended (yet entirely stupid), pseudo-culinary science experimentation.
And, in case you’re interested, Silly Putty® tastes terrible.
What’s more amazing is that not even a year earlier, this same scenario played itself out with the ever-popular Play Doh®.
You’d think they’d have learned.
And, in case you’re interested, Play Doh® (if you’re REALLY hungry) makes a passable hors d’ oeuvre…if you’re ten.
Even later, when I was an “accomplished” culinary professional, I had an unquenched thirst for pushing the boundaries of “taste” as evidenced by the occasion when a local Detroit food writer gave four prominent chefs (including myself) an Easy Bake Oven to see what “gourmet” recipes we would create.
Needless to say, while my Chicken, Asparagus, and Wild Mushroom Soufflé was a resounding success by all reviews, it did require a 100-watt light bulb to create the oven temperature I required. This, in turn, melted the side of the plastic toy oven and resulted in yet another burnt finger while wrestling the small soufflé from the oven cavity, which was not quite designed for a well-risen soufflé.
Voiding equipment warranties is still one of my specialties.
So, in the name of quasi-culinary experimentation and perhaps to give you a project to keep you and your children occupied this summer, I thought I’d share with you the most popular home recipes for these two iconic “food” toys.
And if your child is like I was, proceed with extreme caution.
VERY Silly “Puddy”… Makes 1 Cup
½ Cup Elmer’s Glue-All Multipurpose Glue (Not Elmer’s School Glue)
½ Cup Sta-Flo (Concentrated Liquid Starch)
As Desired Food Coloring of Any Color
1. Mix the glue with the food coloring until the color is even throughout.
2. Pour the liquid starch into the colored glue mixture.
3. Stir and let it sit for 5 minutes.
4. Pull the puddy out of the mixing bowl and set it on a paper towel. Knead the puddy in your hands for 5 to 10 minutes.
5. The final product can copy newspaper print and bounces when you roll it up into a ball, just like the original, store-bought Silly Putty®
Play Dough: Makes about 2 Cups or 1 Lb.
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
½ Cup Table Salt
2 TBSP Cream of Tartar (Find It in the Spice Section)
1 TBSP Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Water
As Desired Food Coloring
1. Mix first 4 ingredients in a pan.
2. Add water and mix well.
3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes. Dough will become difficult to stir and form a “clump.”
4. Remove from stove and knead for 5 minutes. Add food coloring during kneading process.
5. Play dough will keep for a long time stored in a covered plastic container or plastic sandwich bag.