Cupcakes

So what’s with the cupcake craze? They popped up a few years ago and show no sign of going the same way as legwarmers or West Coast Wine Coolers. Everywhere you turn, be it local bakery or  tarty, top end  patisserie, there they sit. Those little cupcakes are all lined up in a row, bling attachments shining, edible micro rainbows or perfect flowers sitting perkily on top. As for the colours – they look like Ken Done has been brought in to supervise the cupcake colour code. Anyone born the uphill side of the 80’s will be familiar with a palate of aqua, hot pink, jaundice yellow and orange colour not found in nature.

But unlike Ken Done scarves, cupcakes have taken off. They represent a kind of retro chic, a bit like a fifties handbag, only edible, and they look so cute it’s impossible to believe they would have any calories. They are oh-so-feminine and uberprincessy,  they’d practically make Bob Downey want to go chop some wood. 

But I for one don’t buy it – I don’t even like them. I ate enough of the buggers growing up in 70’s, now that I’m a sophisticated adult and have finally worked out how to pronounce friand, I’ve got no need for the cupcake. Plus cupcakes have the nutritional content of a garden gnome – at least banana bread and cranberry muffin pretend to be healthy.  

Come on people – we’ve moved on from that. Plus – what will be next? If cupcakes are the height of sophistication then maybe washing dishes by hand will be next? Or God forbid, an apron? No, no, no, no we’ve got to stop the cupcake invasion. These pretty little pieces of fluff are up to no good. Ban them baby before they outcute themselves and take over the world.

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Men in the kitchen

What is it about men when they’re in the kitchen that they think they are in the final round of Masterchef, performing untold culinary feats? Even if they are making curried snag casserole, they seem to expect a reverence and praise that on par with an Iron Chef winner.

In keeping with Iron Chef, have you noticed they also tend to keep a running commentary going. Like for instance: Just putting the pastry on the mince now, tearing off a piece of grease proof paper, putting on base of baking tray. Then they get into some sort of wierd combat role play. Maybe channeling a surreal mixture of Bruce Willis and Jamie Oliver, with a dash of old-school Arnie thrown in. Oven – On; sausage rolls In. Oven – 200 degrees – I’ll be back.

Yes, that’s right, they’re out of here. Kitchen resembles First Blood – mounds of grease proof paper everywhere, the benches and floor peppered with flour, excess mince strewn across the bench and recipe book (not that he used it – this is a man after all), with a nice splat of butter and wine on it.

But hey, he’s still a hero because – HE COOKED!  And when the masterpiece emerges from the oven, deep freeze, microwave or jaffle maker, Masterchef Husband is rapt, and expects praise for his chicken stir fry commensurate with winning Masterchef at least, but more like creating world peace or discovering another planet.

And people treat the male chef as though he is some kind of reconstructed genius. So what that his pork medallions taste like an alien turd burger. So what that his chocolate mud cake is like crunching house bricks. He is a man and he cooks!

And us girls, I hate to say are the worst. I could take into my mostly female office a sample of my husband’s more indigestible offerings and they would practically drool at the site of misshapen waffles the consistency of a bathroom tile, and say isn’t he clever!

Well, maybe he is. Anyone who gets to use the kitchen without tidying up isn’t as silly as they let on.

The world’s best

Is it just me or is any time you see “The World’s Best Cup of Tea/Coffee/Meat Pie/Apple Pie/Pizza or even Service as you drive through Australia, you know you’re in for a pretty ordinary meal.

Doesn’t seem to matter where you are, you could be passing through the most amazing farmland, with bountiful produce, rolling hills splashed with grass fed waygu and chickens that dine on organic corn fritters and avocado salsa, but the minute you see that sign: World’s Best Hamburger, well you just know it’s going to be a flavourless, stodgy affair, complete with grizzly bits and damp lettuce.

I don’t know if it’s just a matter of a straight oversell. I mean World’s Best, Australia’s Best is a pretty big call. I’ve noticed that some signs now starting to self edit their bestness, and are calling themselves The South Coast’s Best or Lismore’s Best. This may be reducing margin of error by a factor of about, say 20 million, but somehow it still seems a big call, even if we’re only talking about Lismore.

I have a new driving food stop strategy. If it says best anything I’ll give it a miss. Even if it’s world’s best scones at 3pm when I’m starting to feel like a sugar carb cream hit served grandma, I’ll give it a miss. That’s where junk food truly comes into its own – it makes no claims to be the best food in whatever town you’re driving through. It just  gives you your hit – whatever your poison (sugar, caffeine, salt, carb, chocolate) and although it might make you fat and mess with your blood sugar levels, at least it doesn’t mess with your head.