You may have caught on by now that this blog is definitely not in chronological order. (Or maybe not. I’ve had more than one person ask me if I went to Paris again recently. I WISH! No, I’m just that bad about making the time to write about it all. Please forgive.)
Speaking of another thing I finally got around to… I went to New York City for the first time this past weekend!!! Thirty years on this planet and I just now got there?! A native Pennsylvanian (but honorary Coloradan), I grew up with a father who loathed travel (I know, how the hell are we related, right?) and a mother and step-father who - with the exception of lovely two trips to Disney World - insisted on dragging my ass camping until they finally got sick of the whining and gave up.
So, I made it happen. Actually, Dean and Lauren deserve tons of credit for being my sponsors/tour guides. Dean, an old friend from high school, and Lauren, his lovely fiance, offered their couch upon my return to the East Coast eight months ago. Not only were they gracious hosts, but I couldn’t have asked for better guides. I’ve traveled alone quite a lot, and it was so nice for a change just to have someone(s) lead me around so I could focus on checking stuff out, eyes wide, mouth agape, and not have to pay attention to maps, taxis, weather, time, and all that pesky stuff.
I am always interested in historical this-and-that, famous landmarks, etc., but when Lauren asked what I’d like to do in the city, I told her that I was dying for some real food. Like, serious food. While the Pennsylvania Coal Region can do some decent Italian, I’ve had my fill of calzones and pizza. Imagine my extreme delight as I sat down on the couch next to her and she announced that she made reservations at Bar Boulud and Buddakan, and we could squeeze in Magnolia Bakery and a couple other places she knew if that was okay with me. If that was okay with me? I was speechless. Literally, words would not come out of my mouth for a second or two. I felt as though I was a fish who didn’t know I was outside the bowl until someone splashed me with water. With a gasp, I felt my old self coming back. Ohhhhh, this was going to be a good weekend…just what I needed.
Therefore, introduction made, I will attempt to blog chronologically for a few posts…
Upon telling someone that I’m a baker, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Oooooh, do you make cupcakes? They’re sooo popular right now!” Uh huh. I know. I knowwww.
I’ve never exactly been able to put into words why I didn’t particularly warm up to the cupcake trend in this country, but I probably should substantiate it, I suppose.
First of all, let me just say that I love, love, love cake! I love to eat cake, I love to make cake, I love to talk about cake. I love the great big canvas that is a full-size cake and the awe-inspiring opportunity it gives me to put something substantial down on the table so I can share my favorite thing with friends. I think it’s a wonderful thing that this cupcake trend encouraged a lot of small business and I think there are a lot of great shops that popped to offer cake to the masses - often (but by no means always) encouraging good quality and introducing lovely flavor combinations. Tee & Cakes in Boulder, Cupcake Royale in Seattle, and Sweet Mandy B’s in Chicago are all shining examples of everything that is right in this department.
Therefore, I suppose my gripe with the cupcake trend is a complaint with trends in general - they overshadow so many other good things and are a breeding ground for opportunists. (Yeah, please don’t put Crisco frosting on a box cake mix and sell it to me for $2.75. I have taste buds. Thanks.) There are countless other individual hand-held options in the world of pastry that have been overlooked and need our support, people. And let’s bring glory back to the old standbys - the simple buttery scone, golden shortbread, the perfection of a tender yet toothsome biscotti. As the link below states, the charming Americana of pie is coming to the front of our consciousness, in all it’s variety and personality. (Although, I realize it will surely be the next trend, which will make me roll my eyes and sigh.)
Hopefully, the outstanding cupcakeries will remain, the quality pie shops will come to stay, and slowly, over time, we will have an array of sugary options laid out before us. One can only dream.
My mom’s response to my last blog entry:oh my god…………flying down the streets of paris on a motorcycle?! you were right. my eyes bugged out, but you did survive and im ok now. the palpitations are slowing down as i type. really, is it your goal in life to kill me with your adventures?