TASTE
12/21/2012 09:12 am ET

How Willy Wonka's 'Pure Imagination' Helped Turn Us Into Food Nerds (VIDEO)

The life of a food nerd inevitably includes a few defining moments that started us down this path. For me, there are a lot more than a few. Counted chiefly among these: my parents getting me a play kitchen for my second birthday, a lobster chasing me around the kitchen at the age of four, my first artichoke and "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

I watched this 1971 classic so many times, I'm surprised I did not literally wear a hole in the tape. But my most re-wound, re-watched, started-over scene by far was "Pure Imagination." This entrance into the underbelly of Wonka's factory, complete with gummy bears on trees, giant, cream-filled toadstools and edible buttercups made me imagination-crazy. How could someone have put this on film if it didn't exist somewhere? Would I ever get to go anywhere that magical? Would I ever get to eat a gummy bear off a tree?

The answer of course, at least so far, has been no. But I've eaten my fair share of magic tricks in my life -- a birthday dessert at Café Atlántico that turned from a liquid into a gelee as I ate ranks pretty high. To this die, the whipped cream cravings in me and my HuffPost Taste compatriots can hardly be contained when we hear the bells that begin this song.

So today, just for fun, let's watch a scene that tells a little bit about where we came from, as we look ahead to a new year of food feeling like magic tricks.

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