The problem with social media events is that they are filled with people who are, well, social. Everyone seems so at ease, networking, pressing the flesh with other people, and passing out their classy little business cards while taking clear photos with the expensive cameras hanging around their necks.
And then there was me.
“Hi, I’m here for the, uh, brunch?” I stood in front of the hostess podium, picking at the edges of it awkwardly.
“Umm… two?” The hostess reached for a couple of menus and prepared to lead us to a table and I paused in confusion. Wait a second… was I in the right place?
My mom rolled her eyes at me and stepped in. “It’s for the Blogger’s Award. She’s one of the bloggers.”
“Oh, you want to be around the corner – just head out that way, turn left, and you’ll find it.”
“Thanks,” I said sheepishly.
As we pushed out the door of the restaurant, I lowered my voice. “Moooooom, for the last time, it’s not an award. I just get to eat at the brunch and then write about it.”
“Well, they chose you, didn’t they? That’s an award in my book. I’m proud of you. Here, turn around.” She grabbed me by the shoulder, twisted me around roughly, and began running a brush through my hair.
I stood there on the wooden aisle way in front of Knott’s quaint shops as mom brushed the tangles out of my hair, feeling simultaneously loved and humiliated. The invitation said to bring a fellow mom – who better than my actual mom?
Still, if she licked her thumb to wipe my cheek, I was outta there.
After a few moments I batted her hands away. “It looks great. It’s fine- really. Nobody’s going to be looking at my hair. Besides, this whole thing is going to be low key. I doubt they’ll even ask my name. They’ll probably just set us loose in the buffet with a bunch of other people. It’s not…” my voice trailed off as we rounded the corner and opened the door to a professional-looking table manned by two smiling women.
My mom shot me an I-told-you-so look.
After I checked in I grabbed my nametag and stuck it proudly on my shirt, feeling official. Seriously, what is it about a nametag that makes you feel important?
We stepped through the doorway into a really nice little banquet hall, and I immediately felt outclassed.
Oh. This was a nice brunch – like, cloth napkins and all.
I’ve never been good at social events. In my defense, I did try to be a little social. I shook hands with a few people and tried to seem professional… but to be honest, I felt like a total imposter.
“Hi, my name’s Jane Doe. I write JaneDoeReviews – a review blog with a bit of do-it-yourself tips. Here’s my card.”
“Oh, uh, hi! My name’s Becky. I write Blog of Becky.”
“Oh, nice. What kind of blog do you have??”
“Umm….” An embarrassing one? I write about how I peed my pants on the side of a road…. Or about accidentally eating my nephew’s booger… What the heck do I say?
“I’m a momblogger.” There. That sounded nice and safe.
Mental note to self: If I ever get invited to something like this again, try to figure out what to say ahead of time.
The atmosphere was pretty relaxed, and since I’d deliberately starved myself since the night before in order to make more room for tons of free food to graciously and delicately taste the proffered refreshments, my mom and I headed through the doors and into the brunch area.
The difference between a regular brunch and Knott’s Brunch was like the difference between McDonald’s and the kind of food they serve on a cruise.
I felt almost giddy.
I’m going to say this up front – if you live in the SoCal area and you’re looking for a place to eat brunch, go to the brunch at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner. Did you know that Knott’s Berry Farm the amusement park started out because they were trying to find a way to amuse the people waiting in line to eat at the restaurant? Well, I think that’s the truth – at least, that’s what someone told me at the brunch. It sounds probable. It’s REALLY good food. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not delicate little pastries and cucumber wedges dipped in an unpronounceable sauce– it’s good, hearty, stick to your ribs, oh-my-gawsh-I’m-going-back-for-thirds down-home cooking.
I grabbed a plate and headed straight for the towering ice swan sculpture surrounded by shrimp.
I mean, wouldn’t you?
I have to admit, if I were to go into detail into everything I ate that morning it would sound a little disgusting. I wanted to try a little bit of everything—so I did.
Apple stuffing, sausage, shrimp cocktail, cowboy potatoes, biscuits and gravy, raspberry crepes….
Bacon. All you can eat bacon.
My plate was towering by the time I headed back to my table. You would have thought they were charging by the plate, instead of it being a free, all-you-can-eat event.
On the way back to the table I stopped to take a picture of the meat-carving station. If you’re a vegetarian, please, cover your eyes and don’t read the next section.
For all you fellow carnivores— WOW. YUM. They had ham, and some chicken, and a gigantic slab of meat that fascinated me. It said “roast beef” on it. I’m not sure what kind of meat makes up roast beef… judging from the name, you would think it would be beef.
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t beef. Beef comes from cows… and I’m pretty sure cows don’t get that big. In fact, judging from the hunk of meat they carved it from, I’m pretty sure it was leg of dinosaur, or something like that. I asked the guy to pretend to carve me a slice so I could get a picture, but I think he got confused because he ended up carving it all the way through and handing me a slab of meat the size of a steak.
I balanced it precariously on the top of my over-laden plate and tiptoed carefully back to my seat.
Poor Knott’s Berry Farm. I bet they’re reading this right now and wincing at the vast amount of food I ate. I bet they were hoping that I would be shamed into eating tiny, delicate portions because it was an event for moms. Boy, were they wrong.
Oh well. They can’t have it back. It’s my food now. I’ve stored this food safely on my thighs, and once it’s there you can’t get it off. Believe me, I’ve tried.
Anyways, I’ll spare you the actual details, but the next forty-five minutes was an absolutely orgy of eating.
I know I should be embarrassed, but honestly, it was so good I don’t care.
It’s not quite as patriotic as Patrick Ryan, but I truly do regret that I had but one stomach to fill at that brunch.
I ate a lot – if I’m completely honest it was about three heaping platefuls as well as a couple of nibbles off of my mom’s plate….and I sampled only about half the food available. It was impossible to taste everything, especially after I found the dessert section.
Like I said – I ate a lot.
When I finally couldn’t fit another bite in me I surfaced for air…looked around…. And laughed.
About that time the event seemed to be wrapping up, so a couple of the hostesses went to the front of the room to thank us for coming. They also announced they had a couple of goody baskets they were planning to give away. The first one was going to go to whoever had the closest birthday to one of the event hostesses, and her birthday was in July…
My hand shot up in the air so fast I wrenched my shoulder as I started twisting in my seat in excitement. “Oooh! Oooh!” My birthday was only nine days away from hers! I was totally going to win this! I stretched my hand higher….
And then happened to look around. Not only was the person in front still in the middle of talking, but I was the only person in the room with their hand up.
I lowered my hand slowly, trying to blend in. Don’t mind me. Nothing to see here. It’s not my fault…it’s just a flashback from my years of being an obnoxious teacher’s pet.
“So, does anyone have a birthday in July?”
I actually made it about almost an entire second before my hand shot in the air again.
I looked around… and realized I was still the only person with my hand raised.
The basket was mine.
For a millisecond I considered accepting my prize with calm, collected, classiness… and then I dismissed the idea and bolted up out of my chair and pretty much ripped it out of the lady’s hand.
Dude. I WON something. I never win anything.
When I got back to my seat I started to rip it open, but my mom smacked my fingers. “Leave it alone until you get home.”
Sometimes there are downsides to bringing your mom with you to events.
I pretty much floated the rest of the morning. I won something. I was a winner.
I didn’t really come out of my happy glow until we were out on the boardwalk, heading into the first shop. I happened to look over at my mom, and what I saw stopped in my tracks.
What the heck?
“Mom? Did you just steal a brownie?”
“I was too full to eat it.”
“Mom! You can’t take food out of an all-you-can-eat buffet! There are rules against that!”
“But they were just going to throw it away!”
“It doesn’t matter – you’re not supposed to filch food from a buffet. What are you going to do, stick it in your purse?”
My mom looked at me like I was an idiot. “No. It will get dirty. I’m just going to hold it.”
“…..So you’re just going to walk around the stores with a brownie in your hand? Don’t you think that’s a little odd?”
My mom was starting to sound defensive. “But they would have thrown it away if I hadn’t brought it with me. They can’t put it back after I put it on my plate– and it’s a perfectly good brownie!”
Aside from the fact that we were wandering around with stolen goods, I actually had a lot of fun looking around the Knott’s Berry Farm shops. The shops are actually one of my favorite places to go to buy gifts. They’re kind of my ace-in-the-hole. If you need to buy a gift for a baby or toddler, you go to Lakeshore Learning Store. If you need to get something for an older kid, you hit up the kids’ section at Fry’s and get them a science experiment. If you have to buy something for an adult, specifically an adult woman, you go to Knott’s. Between the jams, jellies, candies, aprons, and cute little knick-knacks, you’re guaranteed to find something.
Well, okay, not everything they have is cute.
I ran into this guy while I was shopping:
Does anyone have $300 I can borrow? My living room just isn’t complete without an agonized, screaming, Basketball Player of Doom.
All joking aside, I did fall in love with some of the little figurines they had there – little ceramic vegetables designed to look like animals. Or wait… maybe they were ceramic animals designed to look like vegetables? I’m confused.
Well, whatever they were, they were freaking adorable:
I also wanted the giant horse screen, but I don’t think it was really for sale.
I ended up bringing home a chicken lamp.
Who doesn’t need a chicken lamp?
Well, okay, maybe I didn’t really need a chicken lamp, but there’s something about it that just makes me happy.
Now if I can only talk my family into taking me back there again for Mother’s Day, I’ll be really happy. They say if you mention “Mom Blogger Event” when you make your reservation you can save 10%. I wonder if that savings also applies to brownie thieves?Becky Bean is a freelance writer who currently resides in Huntington Beach, California. Creator of The Blog of Becky, a humor blog chronicling her stories of mishaps and adventures, she’s also working on her first book. When not writing or battling the dreaded laundry pile, she can be found chasing after her two unruly sons, eating too much sugar, and daydreaming about buying a horse.