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But Can You Make Papadum As Your Grandmother Taught You?

A Beauty Queens inspired drinking game for your Miss America Pageant viewing needs!

But Can You Make Papadum As Your Grandmother Taught You?

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Our story begins on Long Island. We do not want you to worry about this.1 Long Island frequently gets a bad rap for being, well, a complete s**thole. Oh dear, that's not a very nice term, is it? How about "a beacon of excretory delights." Yes, that sounds better, doesn't it? 2

According to the FYA Department of Totally Made Up Statistics, you are 85% more likely to find Champ Cans for sale directly next to the cash register at your average Long Island liquor store than anywhere in your hometown.3 And really, after enough Champ Cans, who can even remember what god-forsaken strip of land you are currently inhabiting? There now, you see? Long Island is not so bad after all. Besides, this is a story about three childhood friends coming together to celebrate YAngelism, watch a beauty pageant, and get drunk. Such a shiny, happy story! Do not concern yourself so much with the location.

As our story begins, our three friends have traveled far and wide to see each other and have happily discovered that the Miss America 2012 pageant is airing that very night! A former beauty queen, a sister of beauty queen, and a habitual mocker of beauty queens, our friends couldn't be more delighted. Most of all, because our friends' favorite FYA Book ClubTM selection, the Corporation-sponsored Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, fits perfectly into the night's theme. Let's watch as these fine young women put their domestic skills to work, preparing for the evening's festivities.

About six months ago, my roommates and I decided that paying the cable bill was completely superfluous since we all just watch TV online.4 This has worked out fine, except that I no longer know when important televised events are happening, like the Golden Globes or the Superbowl. So I was super jazzed to get of the LIRR last month and hear that the Miss America Pageant coincided with my visit. Much as I love my seeing my bffs wherever they may live, Long Island does not usually have a lot to offer entertainment-wise. Miss America provided a unique opportunity for excitement. All of us being devoted YAngelists, there was only one way to celebrate: a Beauty Queens night, complete with thematic foods, cocktails, and of course, a Beauty Pageant drinking game. We were so pleased with our genius viewing plans that we immediately popped open the bubbly and started drinking at 3 in the afternoon.

Always prepared with chalkboard champagne flutes.

After forcing my friend's husband to drive us all over Long Island for key supplies, it was time for preparations. First, there was our pre-show dinner:

Miss Texas Taco Stack-Up

Taco Stack-Up5 is the world's greatest dinner. This is how it works.  

Step 1: Take everything you would want in tacos
Step 2: Put it in a bowl filled with tortilla chips.  

That's it! Even Lee could not mess this one up! The simplicity of this meal also left more time for the important courses:

Sparkle Ponies and Miss South Carolina Cookies

As it turns out, one of my friends happens to travel with edible glitter, so the obvious choice was to make Sparkle Pony cookies. Unfortunately, we did not have a pony cookie cutter at our disposal and instead had to go to Michael's and buy a 50-pack of animal cookie cutters. It was totally worth it. And surely someday I'll have a need for Octopus-shaped cookies.   Being South Carolina natives, we also decided to make Miss South Carolina cookies. Y'all, we have to talk about Miss South Carolina for a second. Miss South Carolina has an unfortunate history of being completely crap. You undoubtedly remember Miss Teen South Carolina from her tragic Youtube video about maps, but the absolute worst, WORST, was Miss South Carolina Somewhere in the Mid-2000s. I was at Nerd Camp one summer, and being an alum, she came to talk to my class of nerds about her platform, childhood obesity. Now, childhood obesity is a very real and legitimate problem in South Carolina, and I applaud her for trying to tackle it. But her actual recommendation--and I am not making this up--was that, because the childhood obesity rates in North Carolina are lower, South Carolinians should drive across the border to give birth so their babies would be from North Carolina and therefore have a lower tendency towards childhood obesity.   I'm sorry to say it, but Miss South Carolina 2012 was worse. We'll get to this, but first you're going to need a very strong drink:

Momo B. Cocktails

Momo B. Cocktail

4 oz freshly squeezed blood orange juice6
1 oz cointreau
1 oz vodka squeeze of lime
2 oz champagne7

Combine orange juice, liquor, and lime. If you have a cocktail shaker handy, you can go that route; otherwise, just chill everything ahead of time and stir. Pour into your most tropical looking glass, top off with champagne, and garnish with a lime wedge and a giant drink parasol.8 If you do not have a giant drink parasol, no worries--you can Martha Stewart one up in no time with some pretty paper, a piece of tape, and a wooden kebab skewer. Two of those you should have laying around at your house, and the third you can get for free by laying on the southern accent real thick and flirting with the man behind the Whole Foods meat counter. Ladybird Hope would most definitely approve!

What she might not approve, however, is our Official Beauty Queens Beauty Pageant Drinking Game. And remember, this game applies to all Beauty Pageants, not just Miss America. You could even play it while watching an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras (and frankly, you probably should).  

Take One Drink For:

•  Sexual Innuendos
•  Any time someone invokes their Deity
•  Mesh cutouts, in any article of clothing
•  Any time someone talks about how the contest has evolved to meet the changing times
•  Any time they make the eliminated contestants do something even though all they want to do is cry backstage
•  Blatantly fake boobs
•  Any time someone is horribly off-key during their vocal performance
•  When you really, really like someone's fun fact about themselves9

Take a Shot When:

•  Someone trips
•  A new "feature" of the competition is introduced
•  When you are appalled by the breakdown of the scoring rubric

Pour one out:

•  When your favorite contestant gets eliminated

Finish ALL THE DRINKS if:

•  Someone has a talent as amazing as Miss Arkansas 2011

We also had to add some 2012-specific rules as the show went on, cause we weren't drinking enough already:10

Specific Rules for Miss America 2012

•  Drink any time your remember that Kris Jenner is a judge
•  Waterfall for the Scientology ad
•  Any time Miss South Carolina talks about her weight, eat a cookie

As for this year's competition, everything after the opening statements was kind of a blur. Miss America 2012 was so awful that it was actually a parody of itself. I wondered aloud if Libba Bray had tricked the producers into letting her write the show. It was that ridiculous. Do you remember this part in Beauty Queens?

"Hi, I'm from Arkansas, the cantaloupe state. And tonight, I hope you will hold my melons close to your heart and vote me your Miss Teen Dream."

And you thought, "Hahahahaha, that is hilarious, but no one actually say something that offensively stupid in a real beauty pageant."   Well, my friends, this year we were treated to so many state-thematic sexual innuendos that I couldn't even finish transcribing one before another was upon us. Connecticut is delighted to be the birthplace of the lollipop, Pennsylvania has kisses, Maryland has crabs, and "I'm Miss Michigan and I'm here to rev your engine!" Jennifer Huberman would never say something so cheap and dirty. Also from the files of wtf, Miss West Virginia's "Like a Vegas buffet, my state has enough natural gas to power the nation."

Libba Bray, are you sure you didn't secretly write this show? Especially because the contestants in the top 15 were actually characters out of your book. Miss Texas was, to nobody's surprise, the best at everything; it didn't even seem fair to cheer for her she as she was miles better than everyone else. Miss Alabama played the part of Miss Mississippi, Tiara Destiny Swan. Miss Alabama was clearly two things: real sweet, and real dumb. And this was her evening gown.

Miss Alabama 2012

Unfortunately, she did not advance past the evening gown competition. This is extra sad because she'd already gotten kicked off once after swimsuit, but the creators of Miss America decided to ratchet up the ohshitmeter by introducing a new feature wherein the eliminated contestants could save one of the three failure contestants by popular vote. Only, instead of secret ballot, they just had them LINE UP BEHIND THEIR FAVORITE CONTESTANT. It was the greatest twist in Beauty Pageants since Taylor sent that Miss Teen Dream Mannequin Bomb out on stage. Anyway, Miss North Carolina of the flotation-device boobs and Miss I Can't Even Remember She Was So Dull only had like, three friends each, so you could tell that they are terrible humans. But Miss Alabama is so beloved that her adoring fans were too numerous to form a line behind her. A true Tiara indeed. If only we'd gotten to see whether her talent was Christian pole dancing or not.  

Then there is Miss South Carolina. She is the Shanti of our story, wherein she took her one defining trait and ran with that. In her case, that was having lost 115 pounds. Which she mentioned at least as many times as Shanti mentions making papadum like her grandmother taught her.  

Miss South Carolina, I kind of want to punch you in your super straight, whitened-to-perfection teeth. YOU ARE SO ANNOYING. Look honey, I get it. You worked really hard to lose those 115 pounds, and probably a lot of jackasses teased you along the way because teenagers are little shits. And now look at you! You are in the top twelve at the Miss America pageant! Take that, jerks! But Miss South Carolina, you kind of have a bad personality. Not only does no one want to hear about your weight 6 times in the course of an hour, but you were super rude and obnoxious during the talent competition. And then when you got eliminated and the announcer asked if you were disappointed, you were all "Not really. I have a book in the works and lots of people want me to be on their TV shows." Ugh. Just... bless your heart, but you need to work out some issues. Shanti did, and now she's awesome! I have faith in you, Miss South Carolina.  

I don't remember much else from the competition, being that the Momo B. Cocktails and Champ Cans were going to my head. Basically: everyone was talentless except Miss Texas, who somehow lost the talent competition. This put us in a rage and we missed the interview portion while shouting at the TV. Then Miss Wisconsin won, despite being the least memorable contestant of entire evening. I drank more champagne to drown my sorrows.

But even though none of my favorite contestants placed, I think I learned a valuable lesson about winning and losing. Miss Texas won our respect and admiration. Miss Alabama won the hearts of her peers. Miss South Carolina won... a stint on a second-tier reality show at an unspecified date in the future. In a way, we are all winners at the Miss America Pageant.11 But the real winners here are us, the viewers. Miss America is a magical time for everyone, even those of us trapped on Long Island.

 

1You look worried. You shouldn't be! Reading FYA is supposed to be a relaxing activity, so just down a few Long Island Iced Teas and stop stressing about the setting of our story. [return]
2No. [return]
3Really, can someone please tell me where a girl can score some Champ Cans in DC? Because I've looked everywhere. [return]
4Totally legally, of course. [return]
5Taco Stack-Up originally called "Mexican Stack-Up," but Corporation officials requested change after expressing concerns that this name might sound racist, and more importantly, un-American. [return]
6Be sure to use Corporation Blood Orange Juice, for when your regular orange juice just isn't bloody enough![return]
7Fact: everything is better with champagne.[return]
8Momo B. Cha Cha does not approve of your puny toothpick-size drink parasols[return]
9Miss Oklahoma can give a cow a pedicure! Miss Texas can play the piano and hula hoop at the same time! Miss New York performed with a cast of over 80 animals![return]
10The Corporation is not liable for the state of your liver after playing this game.[return]
11Except North Carolina, who is not only a walking plastic surgery ad, but also, friendless and alone.[return]

Alix West's photo About the Author: Alix is a writer and illustrator who spends way too much time reading Jane Austen retellings of varying quality.
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