cupcakes and other fads

25 Aug

Someone enlighten me about the obsession with cupcakes. Among all the fads that I’ve witnessed growing up and they were strange (furbies, chia pets, need I say more?) this love for cupcakes is beyond me. It is to the point it actually kind of annoys me. What’s wrong with regular cake, I ask when people say they have cupcake cravings.

Yet, there are people so passionate about them they are quitting their day jobs and starting cupcakeries. Think Georgetown Cupcake and Crumbs. The public loves them and their business shows. Cupcake shops are as ubiquitous as burger joints these days and that is a huge feat. While carnivores salivate at the thought of a fresh piece of meat on the grill, people with a sweet tooth will line up for hours just for a bite of cake.

A sugar high is one thing, but other sweets besides a cupcake can achieve that. Cupcakes are hardly sophisticated based on my amateur baking skills. You achieve a level of smoothness to the cream and master moistness in the cake, but it seems hardly complicated. I’m no pastry chef, but I don’t think my palate is unrefined. Cupcakes are sugar on sugar just in different textures to put it bluntly. How are cupcakes any more special when in fact just less varied than cake?

I get the love for other foods like chocolate, wine and charcuterie, which are all wonderfully complex and sciences of their own. What is so lacking in a perfectly good cake that they need to miniaturize it? I hope the reason is more to it than individual servings. And I hope it’s not just hype for hype’s sake.

Where I live, people will line upwards of an hour for cupcakes. If you want to think of time better spent with that hour, let me assist you while I reason you out of that cupcake line. In one hour, you can actually cook a whole meal. In an hour you can fly from DC to Boston. In an hour you can put in good exercise or practice a hobby.

There are very few things I will line up hours for and they include lining up for Black Friday or lining up for the next Iphone. Even in the busiest hours of the Apple store if someone were to wait an hour to get service, people will leave. What compels someone to wait so long to get a simple sugar fix? Apparently a cupcake is worth it and that is what boggles my mind.


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