Wednesday, August 28, 2013

An Ode To The Cupcake: Part Two


Like people, cupcakes come in all shapes, forms and sizes. Some are wide. Some are narrow. Some are deep. Some are a bit of an odd shape. Some even look a bit old-fashioned.

“The rise of the cupcake is very much about going back to our national identity in food, which is all about comfort,” author and editor of Gourmet Ruth Reichl told USA Today. “In these times fraught with war and a tough economy, people want to think about when they and their country were innocent.”

In fact, the very same article, in which other sources describe the Cup as everything from “a very emotional dessert” to the texture resembling a taste of childhood, showcases a photo of a wide-eyed little girl peering into a case double her size and full of cupcakes. Aren’t we that little girl, reaching over the top of the counter to cup our Cups in our little hands?

We used all our senses as children to evaluate the merits of the Cup. Our eyes expanded as we took in the sight of the glorious treat. Sometimes, we’d even imagine a spotlight from up above shining down on the prize Cup. Or maybe we’d fall asleep at night and see a world of larger-than-life Cups in our dreams. A dancing parade of them.
We’d wake up grinning from ear-to-ear. We’d savor our before-the-first-bite ritual of feeling the light fluffiness of the Cup beneath our hands. But we’d know to touch it ever so gently because we knew even the slightest bit of force could make the Cup cave inward. We’d listen closely to the sounds as we took the first bite of the Cup. How our teeth blended ever so quietly with the soft center. Or if we preferred to eat the top first, we’d hear the grinds of frosting rubbing against our teeth. We’d close our eyes and see if we can guess Mr. Cup’s flavor by its texture. Our finger mingle with the grooves of the cupcake wrapper, and we giggle when we move our hands over the smooth frosting. We feel the imprint of the sprinkles atop Mr. Cup. We knew the sprinkles were the magic touch. The last element that made Mr. Cup complete. If we couldn’t deduce the subtle flavor with our small hands, we’d slowly – ever so carefully – bring the Cup to the edge of our nose. Sniff it once. Maybe twice just to be sure. Or, we’d burst through the door after school only to be startled still as we inhaled a whiff of our mother’s after-school snack: a plate of fluffy yellow Cups. With extra frosting, of course.

Ahh, school. We equated elementary school with one cupcake feast after another. We lived for our birthday because then we could bring in our favorite variety of Mr. Cup to share with the class. The whole room fell silent as we carried in the tray (a sheer masterpiece if we’d ever saw one), careful not to tip over the chocolate and vanilla – and maybe strawberry – cupcakes our mother delicately frosted the night before. We laughed with each other even if we got frosting on our nose and had to be excused to the bathroom to wash our gooey hands.
What happened to that little birthday girl? We need to find and reconnect with that little girl in all of us. So go ahead and eat a Cup. It may very well be the key to saving the world from destruction.

[Photos via We Heart It]

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