Thursday, July 14, 2011

Case Study 89: "The Red Velvet Rope"

I play a little game called court tennis.

Maybe you've heard of it?  Maybe you haven't.  But for what you do know about modern lawn tennis, squash, and any other game of racquets today, just understand that this sport is the granddaddy of them all.

Though it's history is a bit murky, court tennis evolved from a type of jeu de paume from the twelfth century, and was played in the courtyards of French monasteries. It was enjoyed by Napoleon and Henry VIII, and rumor has it that Anne Boleyn herself was arrested whilst taking in a match.   It was played in the Louvre and at Versailles, and is mentioned in literature more than any other game.  Perhaps this is why they called it the "sport of kings."

Court tennis is a game of short chases, played off penthouses, the floor and walls.  There are only nine courts in the USA, seven if you count the ones used regularly, and a handful in the UK, France and Australia.  It is played by a small population who like to travel up and down the east coast for tournaments, black ties and general debauchery.  

"The Red Velvet Rope" cupcakes are red velvet cupcakes with a whipped cream cheese buttercream on top.  They're topped by a vintage 1960s gentleman and lady tennis-playing duo, donning their finest whites appropriate for the court.  They will make their way up to Newport tomorrow for the annual Velvet Rope tournament.  It's a weekend of long nights and short chases, and, well, I'd say more about that, but... I think I'll stop there.

They say that court tennis is a mix of lawn tennis and chess, with the precision of billiards and the quick judgment of polo.  I say that it is a damn good time.  So here's to stiff drinks, swift racquet swings and a great weekend for all, behind the velvet rope. 

For more on court tennis, check out this article.

For the best red velvet recipe, see here.

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