DEBBY: My first love was a copper-white, stray poodle. I was 12 years old when we found her on a rainy, stormy night running around the neighborhood. I had my dad chase her down. She responded one day to “Bonita,” which means “pretty” in Spanish, you know. She was like my first love and my first heartbreak, come to think of it. We let her out one morning–but when I called her, she never came back. But I guess if I had to say my first human love, it would be Mr. Duckler, my English teacher, when I was 11 years old. I thought he was so hot. I mean, he was so nice, for a teacher. For a teacher to be so nice–was hot.
GENE: My first love was a breaded pork chop. I was five years old, and that’s when I first decided that I wanted to cook. I saw my mom make them all the time, but I didn’t like the way she did it: overcooked. I had tried before to do it myself, but I used graham crackers and they tasted like shit. One night, then, her and dad went to square dancing and I decided to make pork chops for the entire family of six. I dug through the freezer to find some thicker chops, made the breading, and they turned out just right. I got out the little electric skillet, put it on the kitchen table (yes, my grandma and aunt were nearby–practically next door), and now I’ve been a chef for years. And I guess, like Debby, I could also mention Cindy in 5th grade: I remember she was blond with blue eyes and a little pug nose. I lived six blocks away and at times it was torture. She knew I liked her, but not how much! She always did insist that I be her dance partner, however!