The Way to Someone's Heart is Through Their Stomach

There are a few new kids at my school who aren't very nice. They have become pretty popular and have started making fun of me at lunch time. It really hurts my feelings and sometimes I go home crying after school. I just don't understand why they have to make fun of me. I think that if they got to know me, they would like me. But they don't even try to be my friend. It is very hard. I talked to my grandmother about it. She told me, ‘You are a special boy, Mitali. You are smart, and handsome, and an excellent cook. People who make fun of others are usually insecure about themselves. No need to worry. Remember you have your family and friends behind you always.' Her words made me feel a lot better.

I was talking to Amar about the bullying and told him what grandma had said. ‘I have the most brilliant idea!' exclaimed Amar. ‘The answer is right there. She said you're an excellent cook, and it's true. I have to admit that your cooking is better than mine. Remember how happy everyone was after eating tons of delicious food at the picnic? Maybe that's what the bullies need... some of your delicious cooking and they're sure to like you.' I thought Amar had lost it. Cooking for bullies? That seemed like such a crazy idea. But I didn't have anything better. And I was willing to try anything to stop the bullies from making fun of me. ‘Alright, I'll try it. It couldn't hurt. But I'm going to need your help Amar. You were actually helpful in the kitchen when we cooked the pizzas for the picnic. Haha.'

‘I was ‘actually' helpful? You mean I was exceptionally helpful. I will help only if you say that I was exceptionally helpful.'

‘Really, Amar? Fine. You were exceptionally helpful in the kitchen when we made pizzas for the picnic. Happy?' ‘YEP! Now let's get cooking. But I would've helped you whether or not you admitted I was ‘exceptional'. Haha.' My cousin can annoy me sometimes, but I know he is always there for me.

So we immediately got cooking. ‘What do bullies like to eat?' I asked. ‘I don't know. Ummm... sweets! Cookies! Smoothies! Something cheesy, too. Umm... pizza! And chips! We don't want to take any risks, so let's cook all of your best dishes. That way you surely won't disappoint.' ‘Good idea!' So that's what we did. We cooked pizza, sushi, cookies, cakes, chips, smoothies, all of my best dishes. It was a lot of work, but so much fun. After cooking, we packed up all of the food so it would be ready to take to school tomorrow. That night, even though I had tons of fun cooking with Amar, I started getting nervous about going to school. What if the bullies hated the food? What if they threw it at me? What if they never stopped making fun of me?' These thoughts kept me up for hours. Eventually I went to sleep, but I was still very nervous about what the next day would bring.

‘Time for school!' my grandmother shouted. I had butterflies in my stomach all the way to school and through all of my classes. Lunch time came around and the bullies approached me, right on schedule. They began to call me names and their friends laughed at me. I was close to tears, but I knew I had to do something. So I put my plan into action. While they were making jokes and paying no attention to their lunches, Amar slipped a bit of the food we cooked into each of their lunch bags. When the bullies finally left me alone to eat their lunch, they looked quite puzzled at the array of sushi and pizza in their lunches. Despite their confusion, they ate the food anyway.

Suddenly, the leader of the bullies stood up and shouted, ‘Who made this!?!' He was holding a slice of the pizza I made while the others had cookies and a smoothie in their hand. He sounded angry so I didn't want to say anything. ‘WHO MADE THESE SNACKS!?!' Everyone looked very nervous and just looked towards the ground. I was so scared to admit it was me, but I knew I had to. It was time to stand up for myself. I slowly raised my hand. The lead bully marched towards me and stood very close to my face. ‘You made these?' he asked. I shyly said yes. My heart was pounding a millions times a second. ‘These...are...DELICIOUS!' He quickly stood a few steps back and had a huge smile on his face with his hands in the air. ‘This is the best pizza I have ever had! It's amazing!' Soon the rest of the bullies came over and shouted, ‘This is the best cookie I've ever had!' ‘This is the best smoothie I've ever had!' ‘Do you have more?' They actually wanted more. So I gave them the rest of the treats and they ate and ate and ate. They really loved the food! ‘uuhhh...I'm so full. There's no way we can finish all of this food,' said the leader. So he shared it with everyone in the cafeteria.

It ended up turning into a party with everyone laughing and eating plenty of delicious food. ‘So, can I have the recipe for the pizza? There is a secret ingredient that you use and I can't figure it out.' ‘Sure!' I exclaimed, I'll give you the recipe, but I have to leave out the secret ingredient. It's a family secret that's been passed down for generations. The bully looked a bit angry and everyone went silent waiting to see what he would say. ‘It's alright,' he said. Everyone let out a sigh of relief and continued the party. ‘We should cook together sometime,' said the lead bully. ‘I love cooking. It's one of my favourite hobbies!'

My plan worked better than I could've ever imagined. Instead of just stopping the bullies from making fun of me, the food brought everyone together. Thanks to delicious food, I lost my bully and gained a friend.