When did cupcakes earn such lofty status in American culinary culture?
And why are the gastronomical pimps at the Food Network and the Cooking Channel so damnedly determined to shove them down our throats? Not too long ago, the primary audience for cupcakes was children. Not that they were happy about it, but cupcakes have always been an easy, dry-mix-in-a-box solution to providing enough treats for a school function.
Really, I have nothing whatsoever against the cupcake as a concept. I don't hate them as some people purportedly do. I simply don't understand the groundswell of cupcake counterculture occuring across the country in recent years.
More and more, it seems, people who think they can bake AND run a small business are investing their lifes' savings into storefronts with cutesy names like Polka Dot, Sprinkles, Little Cupcake, and my personal favorite Cupcake Cupcakes. Genius marketing ploy, if you ask me, repeating the word twice just in case you're too mentally impaired to understand what a store with only one "Cupcake" in its title is trying to sell you.
If these people want to blow their children's college funds on some self-employment pipe dream in which they bake happily to the end of their days like freakishly huge Keebler elves, that's fine with me, but I don't have to endorse it, which is exactly what it seems every food-oriented piece of propaganda I come across is telling me to do.
Magazines, blogs, television, billboards-- everywhere I turn these days I see cupcakes. There are red velvet cupcakes, peanut butter cupcakes, hazelnut cupcakes, key lime cupcakes, carrot cupcakes, coconut cupcakes, mango coriander pound cake cupcakes, peach cupcakes, pineapple cupcakes, pumpkin cupcakes, pink grapefruit cupcakes, gingerbread cupcakes, gingerbeer cupcakes, crystalized ginger olive oil cupcakes with lime buttercream, stuffed cupcakes, fried cupcakes, mini cupcakes, and giant cupcakes that defeat the entire purpose of the cupcake and if they weren't shaped like cupcakes we would simply call them cake.
I, for one, refuse to subscribe to this newfound belief in the almighty power of the cupcake. We're Americans, people! We eat doughnuts by the dozen and cookies by the sleeve. We were born and bred to satiate ourselves with mass quantities of sugary sweetness, not delight in the pristine delicacies of a pretentious treat costing $4.99 for a single serving.
So, all you fancy shmancy cupcake lovers out there, get over yourselves and leave me in peace with my box of Duncan Hines.
© 2012 Mark Feggeler