Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Notes from the Field: "How To Deal with a Picky Eater" or "Payback's a Bitch..."

Never did I ever think that at this point in my life I'd be writing about how to feed a child.  But last week my mother came to me with a dilemma.  As he nears two years old, my nephew, love of my life, has decided that he's just not that into food.   What kid doesn't love to eat?  I thought.  I mean, I had to be denied food as a kid.  Hell, I requested baccalĂ  at a big family party at 15 months because I thought it looked good.    

And that's when I remembered that when you're little, and you upset your parents, they use that line: "Just wait to you have one of your own." My nephew, like his parents, is brilliant.  He is compassionate and loving, with the curiosity of a little engineer and the timing of a comedic actor.  But for him, being a fusspot does run in the family.  Legend has it that at the turn of the 80s, my big brother so abhorred food that the only way they could get him to eat it was to make French toast, cut it up in shapes, rearrange it differently and call it "English toast."  And he still had one over on them. 

Baby can not live on O's alone.  He needs greens, fiber, protein and more, conveniently hidden in something fit for his little wandering hands. Sounds like a perfect recipe for a muffin.  Carrots, apples, zucchini, bran, yogurt, agave, eggs and flax are just some of the healthy goodies inside these little "cakes." They're just sweet enough for little tastebuds, and pack the punch of all the food groups.  

George Bernard Shaw said "There is no love sincerer than the love of food."   I look forward to the day when baby, like his father, finally decides he likes food.  We'll teach him about the finer delicacies, the worldly fares and everything in between.  But for now, let's just get him to eat his veggies.   

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Cupcaketologist Bloggoversary!

I somehow got too caught up in the mix to remember that mid-October marked this blog's two-year anniversary!  It's amazing to look back and see the start of this journey, the turning points and where we are today.

Thanks for reading, and here's to many more adventures in cupcaketology ahead!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Case Study 76: "The Pumpkin Seed"

Lately, I have been on the move.  I head uptown on foot, I hop over to Brooklyn on the subway, and I drive through Spanish Harlem to leave the city. I see a man in a suit closing his iron gate under an overflowing window box on 82nd Street.  There are children playing in the sidewalk beside mothers on stoops on 126th.  There's an overcurated flea market on Lafayette with lobster rolls, asian hot dogs, and street style gamines searching for a ready camera. I keep my eyes open and I don't want to miss a thing.  And yet, no matter what I see in the diverse neighborhoods I pass through, I keep thinking about one thing: the luxury of time.

When it comes to time itself, I've been a rich woman this past month.  After passing through years like wildfire, I've been given the chance to slow down, re-evaluate, and breathe.  Museums, parks, historic sites - these are the fruits of my labor these days.  I walk away from the computer and I pick up the phone, I spend time with family and friends, and I reconnect with the physical world - the one that we never thought was a luxury until we started spending eight to twelve of our waking hours behind a screen, locked away in our corporate castles running circles against a clock. 

"The Pumpkin Seed" is a pumpkin cupcake with a molasses maple cream cheese buttercream that is topped with a homemade pumpkin seed brittle. I've always thought that what pumpkin evokes in autumn was the essence of time.  As a child I watched them grow all summer long over the stone wall of a farmhouse streetcorner in Connecticut.  I'd pass on an August day to find them sitting on chairs like little round old men, too heavy for their vines against the rock. And when the cold set in, one by one they would disappear, some breaking free and rolling down the street, and others finding their way to plates and porches across the town.

I always loved that quote that reminds us that one twenty-four hour period of childhood equals twenty of our adult days.  We lose a little bit of the ability to live deliberately and with intention when we grow up because there's always somewhere else to go.  I've gotten lost these past weeks, and I'm so thankful that I've had to time to do so.  Everybody has something to say about being early or being late.  But nobody can argue that when you're on time for doing absolutely nothing at all, you are exactly where you're supposed to be, and that is a gift.

Notes from the Field: Cupcake Americana

What makes a cupcake American?  Recently, my dear friend Cary Randolph Fuller and myself joined forces to answer this question and bring New York readers the chance to win a taste of what we like to think of as "The Great American Cupcake." 

The winner, Mariel of Preppy with Twist, received a dozen of these mini vanilla layercakes with raspberry filling and ruffled vanilla buttercream topped with handcut red and blue star sugar cookies. These little confections were designed with our nation's history in mind and the themes of individuality, diversity and freedom that comes from living in this great country. 

Talk about red, white and blue.