I confess that Europe’s controversial foray into the world of cupcakes was not on my radar until I read this New York Times article, “In Germany, A Taste of New York, Via McDonald’s.”
It appears that McDonald’s has introduced cupcakes to Germany via four very pretty (but not so tasty) versions that are supposed to exemplify four areas of New York City (Chelsea, SoHo, Central Park, East Village, below, left to right).
The tie-in is intended to echo the cupcake references from “Sex and the City,” and NYC’s cupcake craze which is best exemplified by the Magnolia Bakery’s popularity. Their cupcakes range from $2.75 to $3.25 (makes that $4 box of Girl Scout cookies look like a bargain).
But the crazy thing to me is that I never even considered that Europeans didn’t eat cupcakes. Knowing the global dominance of doughnuts, I guess I just assumed that every culture that produced cakes would also jump to the logical conclusion of making that cake smaller, more adorable, and therefore invisible to calories.
Boy, was I wrong. Not only that, apparently Europeans – who have only “known” cupcakes for a few years now – are already fed up with them!
Salon.com explored the phenomenon in this article, “Europe’s Cupcake Backlash Begins.” Apparently, the problem with cupcakes is their:
“. . . culture of frivolousness, artificial domesticity and fetishistic cuteness.”
Compounding the problem? Cupcakes are so small, no one has to share them, leading to a general selfishness.
Let me just interject here that as one of four children and the mother of a six-year old, I have DEFINITELY had to share a cupcake or two in my time. In fact, I have had to share a grape before. So I doubt that cupcakes’ size are the problem.
According to Laura Atkinson, who wrote, “Enough With the Cupcakes, Already,” for the Sunday Times of London, cupcakes are really just “the gourmet equivalent of mutton dressed as lamb.”
That is writing you have got to love.