So instead of leaving a trolling comment about this article beneath it, I have decided to create an entire blog post ranting about people’s perceptions of baked goods. This article, I think, extols everything wrong with how people often perceive baked goods.
Guess what kids? Your expectations are WAY TOO HIGH.
As a girl who often bakes, and often bakes well (though I of course have huge kitchen-based car crashes), I don’t know why you think that every cookie, cake, pie or cupcake should taste like an edible, chocolate-covered, gold-flecked version of Ryan Reynolds or Scarlet Johansson, but you do. In fact I am fairly certain that you have never actually tasted anything even remotely close to what you expect every time you take a bite out of something. You know why that is? Because your food expectations are false!
Remember that slice of pizza you had in Montreal after you went to karaoke? It was just plain cheese and is was $2. Your then-boyfriend paid for it cos you had no cash on you, and some dude started singing “Independent Woman” at you as a joke. Yeah that was a good night. And that pizza was the BEST SLICE EVER. You know why? It had nothing to do with the pizza, and everything to do with the moment in time. That pizza tasted so good, because the night was so amazing, and it will never ever be equaled, no matter how you try.
Eating, for most, is a communal and emotional experience. The tastes on your tongue are as important as the company you are sharing them with, and the mood and emotions filling your soul. A particular wine (J Lohr’s Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, mmmmm) has never managed to taste as wonderful as it did that first night I tried it. And it never will, and it has nothing to do with the wine’s quality. I mean it’s still delicious, and one of my favourites, and I’ll happily kill a bottle, but it lacks the magic of that night I discovered it.
Baked goods, I feel, suffer the most from this myth of perfection. It’s because warm, sugary, buttery baked things are intrinsically linked to our childhood. Every so often as adults we will indulge in something and it will bring us back to a moment in time. And it will be magical. But that fleeting memory has now become what is expected every time you cram a cupcake in your mouth, and it just doesn’t work that way. So instead of enjoying the splendor of a cookie, as it stands, we perhaps unknowingly, want to feel something; some emotional connection masked as an expectation of a “taste explosion”, and thus are left disappointed with a perfectly good treat.
This drives me nuts.
Now, I’m not saying a baked good can’t taste like crap, and be totally disappointing. Sadly, that happens more often than I’d like. And excuses do not need to be made for dry cake, bad icing, or any other disaster that happens. But people all too often expect to be completely blown away every single time they eat something. That just isn’t going to happen. It is impossible. Every time you up your standards unrealistically you are leaving yourself prone to more and more disappointment. Sometimes a chocolate chip cookie will inevitably just taste like a chocolate chip cookie, and it’s not something to be disappointed about. Sometimes a cupcake will just taste like a cupcake. But sometimes, sometimes you will come across something that brings you back to a moment in time, and if you are lucky, you will get to relive it, and revel in its glory. And it is then, and only then, that the average cookie will be elevated in status, and it probably has little to do with the greatness of the cookie itself, but more the memory the taste recalls.
I am also not trying to say that there is no such thing as a phenomenal baked good out there that is supremely excellent in its own right. Because there most certainly is. But these are few and far between. They are like great works of art, rare and wonderful, and a pleasure to be experienced. But it is when one is blind to the fact that this is the exception, rather than the norm. The majority of our lives will be spent eating average, good or even great baked treats. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. And each treat deserves to be recognized as delicious in its own right, rather than being compared to something that so few can achieve, or a memory of something that is hard, if not impossible to recreate.
So, in conclusion “Guest Contributor”, I’m sorry your expectations were unrealistically high. I’m sorry that you placed too much weight in the fact that the displays were lack luster, and not up to par. And I’m sorry that none of these amateur cupcakes stood out for you. It must be a hard life tasting 14 different cupcakes for fun. A hard life indeed. How about, instead of coming out of this event so incredibly jaded and disappointed, you shift your way of thinking to something along the lines of: Isn’t life great that you live in a world that has an event where you get to eat 14 mini cupcakes.
Because, really, if you think about it for a second or two, that is mind-blowingly wonderful.
And while you are here, this should remind you how awesome shit is: