Wednesday 07 Dec 2016

Tour du Cupcake
Jennifer Flaten

Nothing says, “It’s summer and I will do almost anything to keep the kids occupied” than agreeing to visit all the cupcake shops in our area--don’t think I didn’t consider visiting shops way, I mean way, did I mention it would get me out of the house, far away and sampling their wares.

Alas, I settled for the three-cupcake shops in our immediate area, which frankly is three more than I expected. For a state known for its love of all things bad for you, we have a dearth of bakeries. Instead, oddly enough we have frozen yogurt shops. I imagine it is because you can fool yourself into thinking frozen yogurt is healthy.

Which it is, in a dish all by itself, but as I’ve personally witnessed, that simply isn’t done. No, the modus operandi here is to load 2lbs of gummy bears, chocolate and other assorted toppings onto a 2oz cup of frozen yogurt, but I digress.

Not that it was that hard to sell me on the idea eating a variety of cupcakes. In fact, I believe the words were still hanging in the air and I was out in the car honking the horn, encouraging the kids to hurry up. There were sprinkles afoot!

Besides, I had just finished cleaning up from their latest “science” experiment, which involved copious amounts of food coloring and cornstarch. Let’s just say I now know the movie the Blob was a documentary. No, I don’t want to talk about it and yes, it really is that hard to kill.

Hoping to encourage them to do something less destructive or at least destroy something that wasn’t mine. I suggested we go somewhere, anywhere. Someone else loudly suggested cupcakes: I swear it wasn‘t me.

After all, our journey to the cupcake shop was in the name of research. You see my daughter plans on opening a cupcake shop in the future. I convinced her that it would be a good idea to check out the competition.

Does it really matter if the best way to scope out the competition involves a fork and a tall glass of cold milk?

So what, if she is only 11, we need to be prepared. I certainly want my daughter to succeed; it would mean unlimited cupcakes for m), so I am willing to lend a fork, err, hand.

Plus, my children spend an inordinate amount of time watching cooking shows. Specifically, any cooking show with the word “War” in it. Cupcake Wars, Food Truck Wars, Charred Hunks of Meat Wars, you get the picture.

They are fascinated with passing judgment on food. As chief food preparer, I receive their critiques graciously; um, not. Most of which I ignore.  Occasionally, they are right; perhaps trout flambé was a bad idea.

I was more than happy to load them up in the car, drive them somewhere, and let them loose on someone else’s cooking.

I admit I got a kick out of discussing whether the frosting was too sugary, which is blasphemous, and whether or not the decorations were “up to par” with what the kids see on TV. Between you and me, my cupcake didn’t have nearly enough sprinkles.

Sadly, we are almost done with our “research” although I believe we may have to revisit some shops for further testing. Oh, the sacrifices I make for my children.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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