Welcome to Monday Miscellany, where I present the best of this week in people, places, and things (in my opinion, at least).
I have to put Mama Carmen's on my list, first and foremost. If you haven't been yet, you need to stop by. It's an espresso cafe serving coffee from a farm in Guatemala. The story of the coffee farm is absolutely amazing (click here to read about it), and anyone working at Mama Carmen's would be more than happy to relay the story to you. The coffee is amazing - I have tweeted about it literally every single time I go (which is a lot), and the teas are fantastic. It's one of my favorite places to chill, blog, read, or hang out with friends. They also have a Global Shoppe that "operates in the spirit of fair trade, seeking to make a positive difference in the lives of the artisans with whom we work by purchasing their products for a fair price and providing market access for their products in the US" (from their Facebook page). You can find anything from handmade bracelets and purses to carved wooden bowls and figurines. Every item is handmade by artisans who are being supported spiritually and financially by the work they produce. Great coffee, great cause.
______________________________________________________Next, I found this infographic on Mashable a few days ago, called "Social Dudes and Fast Food." It compares the eating habits of guys in regard to, well, fast food. For your information, guys love McDonald's fries above anything else. Guys apparently also order three junior bacon cheeseburgers on a ridiculously consistent basis (it was the second most popular meal, right behind Taco Bell's cheesy Double-Decker tacos). I also found another interactive infographic this week, called "How Many Households are Like Yours," from the New York Times. For example, I can click on the "married couple" and learn that 21% of American households are married couples. I can also see the average income, ethnicity distribution, and other demographic information along the bottom of the screen. That way, I can feel bad that I don't "represent" well, or feel superior that I overqualify. Hmmm. I can also add in children, parents, boarders, siblings, etc. and see how others live your kind of life. Pretty cool. The best feature: the silhouette icons, especially grandpa.
Having just celebrated one year of wifehood, I am becoming quite sentimental and nostalgic (these are different things. Kinda.) about the memories we share together. I found this incredibly sweet journal constructed by Monika Wright on her blog. I tried to do a journal challenge this month that was similar, but (confession) I got through day four. Okay, fine, day three. But if I had a week of uninterrupted time and a room where I could spread my entire collection of glitter pens, craft scissors, glue, stickers, buttons, hot glue gun, sequins, ribbon, and crafting paper, then I could do make a journal that would Rock. Your. World. Or at least your Thursday.
Finally, a rant. So there are several baked goods I would like to master over the course of the next few years, and honestly, the "cake pop" is not one of them.
I don't understand cake pops, nor the recent fascination with them. Why do we need this single serving cake-on-a-stick? Why not just eat a piece of cake? Doesn't this "pop" fall off the stick after one bite, thus negating the utility of the stick itself? There is apparently even a cookbook dedicated solely to cake pops, titled, Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats, wherein you can learn about making martian cake pops, apple cake pops, and even bride and groom cake pops (because nothing says "Congratulations!" like biting off the bride's delicious cake-y torso).
So instead of the cake pop, I suggest a radically upsetting alternative: the cupcake. Why? I'm glad you asked:
- Larger bites-per-treat ratio. With the cake pop, you get 1-2 bites. That's it. Just enough for me to get upset that I have to go back for seconds, thirds, and fourths to get an appeasable portion. Not cool. With a cupcake, you get at least 4-5 bites of pure deliciousness veiled in a rich layer of icing. Yum...
- Ease of decoration. With cake pops, you pretty much have to roll them in something (sprinkles, nuts, cocoa powder, sprinkles, nuts...) or make them into a face, apple, or other generally round object. But with the cupcake, you have a fantastic canvas upon which to paint your sacchariferous masterpiece. Perhaps you're throwing a basketball-themed party. How about hoops and basketballs on top of yellow spiced cupcakes! Are you into Alice in Wonderland? How about some Cheshire cats and tea cups atop chocolate cupcakes! The possibilities are endless. Endless, I tell you.
- Ease of preparation. From my experience, cupcakes are made in four steps: Mix. Bake. Cool. Decorate. Simple, straightforward, and (fairly) foolproof. However, in this "easy" recipe from Little Miss Momma, cake pops seem to require eight steps (though some of her steps have steps which, in my opinion, is cheating). That means there are eight separate opportunities for me to completely screw up the entire recipe and hurl a massive cakefrostingburntchocolateball into the trash can. Four steps I can handle. But eight? Eight? Have you seen me make instant rice?! I still read the directions.
- You can "stuff" cupcakes. Do you grasp the implications of that statement? You can STUFF cupcakes. Rumor has it that cupcakes have been stuffed with cookies, chocolate-covered cherries, mousse, dried fruit, chocolate chunks, creme, and a plethora of other divine bakery goodies. Apparently, there is even a bakery in New Jersey called "Stuffed Cupcakes." That's their whole thing. People make a living putting sweets inside cupcakes. The best part of this is, in reality, you get two-for-one: candy, cookie, creme, etc. plus a cupcake. And any time the words "two-for-one" and "cupcakes" are combined, the gold at the end of a rainbow doubles in size. Truth.
|My wedding (cup)cakes.|
So that is why I think cupcakes are superior to cake pops. I hope you feel better about this serious and highly contestable topic. I also hope you have a fantastic week involving lots of stuffed cupcakes and Mama Carmen's coffee!