The Bee is nonstop drama, interspersed with equal parts of tension, wonder, triumph, and heartbreak. The spellers are under incredible amounts of pressure and for the most part they handle it with great aplomb. Their seemingly endless knowledge of words is so impressive that it's easy to forget that these kids are only middle schoolers. But the "ding" of the bell indicating a spelling error is often followed by an irrepressible flood of tears and a rush for comfort from mom or dad, reminding us that even wunderkinder are not invincible.
I watched the final rounds of the Bee last night while I baked a batch of red velvet cupcakes for a friend. The semifinal rounds earlier in the day featured some interesting food-related words, and I was glad to see this trend continue into the finals. I was particularly amused when the first word in Round 8 was "geusioleptic," which official pronouncer Jacques Bailly defined as having or characterized by a pleasant taste or flavor. Often the words in the final rounds of the Bee seem so obscure so as to border on the absurd. I wonder if anyone really uses this five-syllable word when you could get the same message across by using "tasty" instead.
Later on in the same round, ABC aired a pre-taped segment on speller Kavya Shivashankar (who was the last speller standing and declared the champion eight rounds later), in which she said the word that best describes her is "lickerish," meaning "fond of good food." I might actually have to start using "lickerish" in regular conversation. I love the sing-song quality of the word (it's pronounced just like "licorice"), and it seems so much less pretentious than "foodie."
I was quite happy with the way the cupcakes came out, and I piped on the cream cheese frosting in rosettes and added some lip-shaped sprinkles on top (they were a random holdover from a Valentine's Day assortment). I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the cupcakes were both good-looking and geusioleptic!
- "Red Velvet Cupcakes = True Love," January 31, 2009.
- "Holiday Part Recap, Part III: Ready For a Throwdown!," December 17, 2008.