Saturday, October 3, 2009

Totally Homemade And Only a Dollar

I could hear the girl on the street corner from a block away.

"Cupcakes! Water! Cupcakes! Water!"

As I approached, she pointed to her card table set in the grass at the corner of Lincoln and Ridge in Evanston. She had purple frosted cupcakes to sell - and it was a game day. Her white posterboard sign announced $1 cupcakes and $1 water bottles. It was the perfect breakfast for Northwestern students who are walking to the football stadium for an 11am game.

I was coming back from a tailgate where I had consumed a scone, a twinkie, and a brownie, so I immediately shook my head no. Then I reconsidered. I had to support a fellow baker, an entrepreneur, a 10 year old marketing genius.

"They're totally homemade and only a dollar!" she crowed as I forked over a dollar bill. I asked if she had anything for me to put it in because I wasn't going to eat it right away. She profusely apologized for not bringing tupperware. In my car I found some scrap paper and wrapped it around the cupcake, then nestled it in the hood of my windbreaker on the passenger seat. I had visions of purple frosted seats, but the cupcake held up to my erratic driving and I got it home safely.

It's not hard to please with cupcakes and they don't require special techniques. If you can whip up a buttery cake batter, if you can frost with the best of them, you can equally thrill a room of 2nd graders or a group of a bachelorettes. Only the second graders' cupcakes would have a cute frosting carrot on them while the bachelorettes' cupcakes should boast another frosted phallic object.

We make cupcakes not to aspire to high gourmet but because they can be eaten out of hand, a ready made serving that stays moist in its paper wrapper. We'll wave away that slice of cake claiming a diet but accept the cupcake because it's perfectly proportioned. It's modest, like the cute, quiet girl at the back of the classroom, not the bossy drama queen that is a four layer cake. It won't beg to be consumed, but its unassuming quality is light and satisfying.

That girl's totally homemade cupcake was nothing to get excited about. The white cake and sugary frosting was all a bit too sweet, and uninspired except for the purple of the frosting. But little girls making cupcakes and being entrepreneurs and big girls still eating cupcakes instead of fancy desserts is always worth at least a $1 to see.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I am totally in the mood for cupcakes now.