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Index Video

For the love of cupcakes

[one_half]Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking
When I said I’d like to
Smash every tooth in your head
—The Smiths

[I]’ll admit it. I actually feel sorry for the little bastards. It seems like just yesterday—Halloween, in fact—that cupcakes still held their suffocating grasp on the hearts of America. They were on top of the world, dominating blog conversation, appearing spread-eagled on glossy magazines nationwide, having what used to be an exclusive feature on the internet’s top food property… It seemed that the Cupcake Empire was well on its way to reaching Starbucksian proportions.

And then.

They began to feel some pushback in ’09 in the form of well-publicized pot shots from food cognoscenti David Chang and Jason Sheehan, in each case weathering them with aplomb. After all, who cares if the Class Nerds have issues with an It girl’s lengthy tenure? But by then end of 2010, everyone, from NPR to The New York Times, had gotten in on the action. Observe:

The New Cupcake: Macaroons vs. Whoopie Pies
Pie to Cupcake: Time’s Up
Cupcakes are Over Make Room For Pie
Move Over, Cupcake: Make Way For The Macaroon Etc.

Meanwhile, we saw what can now clearly be interpreted as a cry for help: Cupcakes, unveiling a curvier-than-usual look, sporting shockingly tight-fitting liners emblazoned with jolly rogers, and going seriously downmarket with a sprinkle of candied, lo-sodium Spam.

Oh, cupcake. What are we going to do with you? So suddenly out in the frigid cold, along with fallen starlets of years past: truffle oil, sun-dried tomatoes, Snapple

I’ll confess to having had a little bit of fun at the expense of the cupcake. Perhaps I was a bit too harsh. It’s important to remember that cupcakes, despite their gaudy hubris, have problems just like the rest of us. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: I don’t actually hate cupcakes. I derive no particular pleasure in seeing them so publicly and unceremoniously dumped by legions of fickle trend chasers. Now I’m well aware that people who know me, and particularly those who follow me on Twitter, may have a hard time believing this. So in the interest of full disclosure, I present you with an interview of yours truly, pulled together from footage we shot back in October.

I hope this puts to rest any doubts about my sincerity. [/one_half]

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Categories
Chinese Index Sauces Vegan Video

17:00

[one_half][W]hen I first heard mention of “National Men Make Dinner Day,” I thought it was some kind of joke. What’s next? “National Women Change Light Bulb Day?” I’ve since made two key realizations:

  1. It takes place in Canada (which is perhaps all I needed to know).
  2. According to the website, I am apparently exempt from this activity:

Are you a man who makes dinner on a regular or semi-regular basis?
If the answer is ‘YES”, do not go any further!
National Men Make Dinner Day is NOT for you!

Still, the premise of a “National Men Make Dinner Day” fascinates, though I’d like clarification on a few things. For example, is the phenomenon distinct from Valentine’s Day? How does it work for gay and lesbian households? If I lived in Canada, would Matt Berninger be making me dinner? Presumably, these questions are addressed in the FAQ …

While it seems mildly condescending and more than a little sad to imply that Canadian men are so far gone that they might consider cooking one day out of 365, I do laud the intent, which is to encourage people (perhaps as many as 15 million of them) to cook their own food. I exist in a peer group where people, male or female, generally don’t cook. And I’ll admit that I myself occasionally indulge in a bit of non-cooking by way of South Asian-inspired paste that I’ve squeezed from a foil envelope. But it never hurts to remember that, in less than 17 minutes (the duration of one televised intermission in ice hockey) I can make a meal with fresh ingredients that tastes good, makes me feel good, and costs less than $2 per person.

I’ve previously posted about my love for David Chang’s ginger scallion noodles. This recipe, in addition to meeting above criteria, is one that makes you feel like a rockstar. Why bring it up again? Because I’m guessing that someone who needs coaxing to enter the kitchen may not have read my 1500+ words about ginger scallion sauce, riveting as they may be.

So let’s lower the barrier, shall we? Canadian National Man: In the time it takes for you to drink a beer, I can promise that you’ll learn how to pick and peel ginger, how to use a knife, and how to make a killer sauce that will get you dinner on the table before 17:00 have expired. You can thank me during the second intermission.

Music: One Never Says ‘Verbal’ When One Means ‘Oral’ by Good Old Neon is licensed under a Sampling Plus License.

Update: Thank you, Chef John, for featuring us on Food Wishes! [/one_half]

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