Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Café Betty

It started with a toy microwave oven (or fan oven as I prefer to call it), which I found at a car-boot sale a few weeks ago. At first, Betty was a little confused about what it was, having never seen one before (ahem), but now she is pretty au fait with its workings, and loves the thing.

I decided that a lone toy microwave sitting on a shelf in the kitchen, looked a little trashy, and didn’t help the organic and wholesome illusion I was trying to create. I have therefore slowly been adding to the shelf, the odd empty organic muesli box here, a slice of plastic chorizo there, to disguise it, and to create more fun for Betty of course. Betty, however, seems pretty insistent on just microwaving stones from the garden at the moment, and once they have been pretend-zapped, they then invariably end up in the washing machine and go through an unwitting wash cycle (perhaps her attempt to out-do Makka Pakka), which then leads to the electrician being called out.

Because of my slightly obsessive nature, Betty now has her own fully functional, fully equipped café in our kitchen, with the microwave being centre stage. At some point yesterday I got the idea in my head, which escalated and got totally out of control, and so I got my mum to come over and play with Betty whilst I spent three hours creating a masterpiece.

I had to rearrange our kitchen furniture, remove all of Tom’s cookery books (luckily there was enough space for mine to stay), and donate a lot of our own kitchen utensils and pans in order to accommodate and kit out Betty’s new establishment. I set the main part of the café up on the windowsill, which is quite large and (almost) the right height for Betty. I nailed a little blackboard to one side of the window with ‘Today’s Specials’ and on the other side I put a personalised café sign, together with various pictures of food that the café sells.

I hung a little apron on a hook next to the chopping board with a courgette on it, and placed some asparagus in a saucepan on a pretend hob I had painted. I made some bunting to go across the window, and got Tom to make some fitted shelving to run along the back of the window.

I was so unbelievably thrilled with my creation and couldn’t wait to unveil it to the proprietor, Betty Button. Betty was also pretty delighted when presented with my handiwork. Not so much for the fact that she had her very own café, but because half the kitchen, that was previously out of reach and mostly forbidden, was suddenly there on a plate for her. And she had a great time.

In fact, she has got so into the whole thing, she has opened branches of her café all over the house. And no sooner have I collected everything up when her back is turned, and put it back to where it should be, all neatly arranged, she is back again to dismantle it. I console myself with the fact that when she goes to bed I can play with it and do it my way.

Last night, as Tom and I were watching Big Brother, I murmured something to him about having to get a little cookery book to go in Betty’s café. Tom turned to me, with a very serious, and slightly perturbed looked on his face, and said: ‘Betty’s café? or Elsie’s café?’ Then, just as he was drifting off to sleep, he dreamily said: ‘I hope Betty is going to start serving lattes soon.’

24 comments:

Rob Clack said...

Not OTT at all, noooooo! LOL!

kirsty815 said...

How cute! What a little entrepreneur opening up chain restaurants so soon..lol I would've loved to see a picture of Betty's Cafe, which ironically is what I've been telling my mum to call her new restaurant, that is when she picks the location for it, toss up between two places. You sound like a lovely mum.

Louise said...

Wow! I am very impressed. I could only ever dream of being that creative!

Anna has an obsession with the dustpan and brush at the moment and I often find her brushing up stray socks and shoes and depositing them in the bin. I think she is trying to tell me to clean up more regularly.

Jonny's Mommy said...

What an absolutely adorable idea!

Jonathan would have it destroyed so many times that my clean freak of a husband would just say "no" and it would only last an hour, though.

Oh well. I hope Betty enjoys it though.

Sparx said...

Aha... sounds like the spud's lovely display of wooden toys which only I ever play with. He plays exclusively with the plastic ones hidden in his wicker toy basket. I sit there dibbling temptingly in a pile of bricks while he hares off clutching his V-tech laptop. It is awful, isn't it!

solveig said...

I remember the first time F came across a toy kitchen set. We were at a friend's house and this particular one had an oven, sink, microwave etc.

F went over, put some food into the microwave, pressed the buttons, said 'ping' and shouted 'dinner'...I was mortified!!!

In my defence, while I do often microwave her dinner, it's always just heating up home-cooked food that we have had the night before.

Love Betty's cafe - great idea!

Beccers said...

What are the specials today? The cafe sounds really cute, if a little demented! Another lovely funny post. You'll have to let us know if she does start serving lattes

Elsie Button said...

Hi Rob ha ha i do have an obsessive nature!

Hi Kirsty, I was going to post up a pic but i thought the description sounds much better than the actual thing! Is your mum called Betty?!

Hi Louise, that's the message i get from Betty too - that i am too untidy (me untidy?!!)

Hi JM, thank your lucky stars you have a clean freak of a husband - most people (including me) can only dream of such a thing...

Hi Sparx, glad i'm not the only one doing this PR lark! although saying that, Betty can play for hours with a raw potato and an egg box and some stones, whilst i sit in the corner of the room trying out all the options on the V-tech!

Hi Solveig, ha ha that story is hilarious! i confess i too use the microwave to heat food up... you see, i'm not as wholesome as i try to make out!

Hi Beccers, Well, Duck was on the specials board today but Tom got very upset (a duck being Betty's comforter and all that) and made me take it off and replace it with mushroom soup.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Can I book a table please. 8pm for 2. No smoking preferred.

CJ xx

kirsty815 said...

My mums name is Elizabeth, but she went by betty and libby for years. She's been looking for a wee restaurant and I think she's finally narrowed it down to two locations. fingers crossed!

Jen said...

You have to invite all of Betty's friends over for the "Grand Opening". Send them an invite with a list of the specials! That would be the cutest thing!

Sarah Brooks said...

Ah, where are the the pictures of Betty's cafe. I kept waiting for them to be at the end of the post. It sounds awesome! You are a one fun mama!

Paler than Gold said...

That's funny. But you think that's madness..? I'm deliberately saving up all films like Kung Fu Panda for when I have my imaginary child...

Pig in the Kitchen said...

now i do wonder at what point this blog intersects with reality, or whether it is wholly fictional. I've had my doubts about you Elsie B ever since you hung the daisy chain around the doll's neck in the garden...

Is it for real I often ponder?!

Anyway, Betty's Caff sounds fab, tell me, does she do vegetarian specials? Could you plse ask her never to put vegetarian lasagne on her menu? We veggies do detest it.

If she will do me goat's cheese on toasted baguette nestling in a green salad and a whopping glass of good red...I'm there. In fact, now I'm hungry and i'm going to have to have a whopping glass of good red. Betty will be my downfall.

Pigx

Elsie Button said...

Pig, I am wounded. First you accuse me of being a chav (which, ok, maybe i am), but now a liar - which i most certainly am not.

And I know that you are not going to believe me when I say that Betty does actually have a little vegetarian cookbook in her cafe propped up against the microwave. But she does!

As for veg lasagne - any sort of lasagne is pretty chav (hmmm but actually quite tasty)

I blame betty for all the wine i drink too

DJ Kirkby said...

Brilliant! This has got to be your funniest post so far!

Stay at home dad said...

Fantastic, Elsie. For slightly obsessive read caring parent. Lucky girl...

A Confused Take That Fan said...

Elsie Button, you do make me laugh. Unlike Pig, I believe you do put daisy chains around dollys and make your own cafes. But if you are doing all these wonderfully creative things, how on earth do you find time to watch Big Brother and drink wine and write blogs??

Ps - Pig in the kitchen, I am slightly concerned with the amount of alcolhol you are drinking, in fact you seem to have a glass on the go in most comments...;o)

A Confused Take That Fan said...

PPS...
How did you get that photo of me drinking a cuppa tea at the top of this blog post, eh?

Mini-et-Moi said...

What a fantastic idea! This evening I was trying to encourage my husband to make a little house/ tent for our daughter (conversation started with his shock at seeing one for £180 in the local toy shop). You've inspired me ...
Now for the reason my husband was at the toy shop: he bought a D the E push-along trike. And I spent the afternoon pulling off the stickers (not an easy task) in small, pea-like pieces. Because I don't want her to have branded toys at such a young age. So, I see your OCD and raise ya!

Potty Mummy said...

When she starts serving Babycinos let me know, as Boy #2 will be over pdq...

Jaywalker said...

Ha, my son is king of the toy microwave, but he is really not prepared to push the culinary boundaries. I have tried to urge him to microwave snails, stones, a small tortoise, but he is having none of it. Plastic hotdog only.
Also, you do know, people, that there is a real Bettys café in York/Harrogate/Ilkley and it is absolutely awesome and has the best cakes in the universe, no hyperbole. So she is in good company.

Milla said...

oh I want a little tiny darling baby daughter too! (no I don't! what madness is this, I'm just emerging from the (adorable) shackles of small children) I would, however, like a strong black cup of coffee, filled to the brim, careful of tiny hands when carrying.

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