Saturday, September 26, 2009

Case Study 33: "The Back to School Special"

Nostalgic. That's how I feel every year when September fades away. Unlike the warm embrace of the summer wind, one fall breeze whips in and my body remembers it- the way it feels as the earth moves closer to its farthest tilted axis on an eternal trip around the sun. And September's end always held the inevitable for me: the bonfires and football games, the earthy smell of a freshly sharpened Ticonderoga No. 2 and the frantic scramble to enjoy the dwindling sunlight hours before the New England grayness set in.

"The Back to School Special" is a scholastic-inspired trio of cupcakes that are dedicated to the first day of school jitters, the tire swing and monkey bar playgrounds, and the brown-bagged lunchroom antics.

The "PB&J" is a peanut butter cupcake filled with strawberry jam and topped with a strawberry jelly buttercream and toasted peanuts. Before the era of widespread peanut/gluten allergies and political correctness, the basic Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich was a staple in the diet every elementary school child, recording the lifelong marriage of "fruit and nut" in the Bible of Good American Eatin'.
"The S'more" is a chocolate cupcake atop a graham cracker crust with a Hershey's chocolate buttercream and toasted marshmallow on top. Whether you toasted "shmallows" on a backwood camping trip or melted your chocolate at a Homecoming bonfire, S'mores told us Americans that there's magic in good old processed cookies, candy, and fire. Combined or separate.
And lastly, "The Idyllic Apple" . Regardless of if you ate an "apple a day" or you were a "hot for teacher" apple-polisher, the apple has long been a reminder of brown-nosing scholarly excellence, and a true emblem for back-to-school memories.

They say that your sense of smell is the strongest in evoking memories, but with the change of seasons, I beg to differ. Though the first smell of musty rain can signal the start of spring, it's the feel that winter is creeping in and the tastes of my schoolgirl lunches that tell me it's not far off. Those days of playground flirtation and soccer games may be long gone, but that stubborn old autumn wind just brings me back every year...

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