This morning I woke up - refreshed, bright eyed, ready for a long day of fun around the city - and prepared to make cupcakes for a bon voyage party. When you're a cupcake baker, the answer to "what's more American than apple pie?" is always "apple cupcakes." And so, I put on some moody music to match the gray sky outside and set to coarsely chopping my apples from the farmers' market.
My favorite apple cupcake is adapted from a fail proof cake recipe passed down from an orchard that my family used to pick-our-own at in New Jersey thirty years ago. It's hearty and spicy and chock full of fresh fruit. This time I topped it with a plain vanilla buttercream and called it a day....
Or did I?
Well shit. I thought. Am I satisfied by that? Sure, there's nothing more "American" than apple pie, but I've never set out to be average. This is AMERICA, for Christs' sake, we've never been like anybody else.
And so I got back into the kitchen, pumped up my tunes and churned out a batch of baked pumpkin donuts. And then I dipped them in butter. And then I rolled them in cinnamon and maple sugar and put them on top of the cupcakes. And I looked at my masterpiece and decided it was good.
Being full of opportunity and equality means being more national than Old Hollywood, a Ford Buick and a Georgia peach combined. I believe that innovation and freedom are better than Monticello, the redwood forest and the entire state of Texas all at once. And on a cloudy September afternoon in Manhattan, you can bet that New York state apple cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and pumpkin cinnamon sugar donuts on top are much more Americana than that that plain old patriotic pie.
And like a third grader at the end of a presentation, I can say, that's what being American means to me.