What’s In A Name?
When I am at the bakery creating my edible poetry in the form of cupcakes they call me “The Cupcake Dude.” The name is indicative of what I appear to be. I am 6-4 and look like an overbearing biker dude, who actually did frighten many in my younger days. Just by the nature of that look. But that’s just a look, it’s not what I am. I have always worn my hair long (when I had it), I have tattoos, and I am a pretty large dude. But I’m a pussycat, a teddy bear of a dude. I am actually a lifelong pacifist and I’m a lover not a fighter. Basically I am way more harmless than my appearance.
Buddy the Cake Boss was doing a charity for epilepsy and asked me and Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes to join with five other bakeries to help raise money. Of course being a tree hugger and self proclaimed lover not fighter I seldom pass up an opportunity to help out a charity. The color theme for epilepsy is purple, so we made purple people eater cupcakes for the event A vanilla grenadine cupcake topped with plum icing and blueberry custard filling. During the event two teenage girls were nearby our display and I heard, “Look.. There he is. He was just on TV last night.” Of course I assumed they were talking about The Cake Boss but when I looked Buddy wasn’t around. One of the young girls pointed to me and said, “Hey Cupcake Dude, can we take a picture with you?” Humble yet bursting with excitement I told them of course, and their Moms took several photo’s. I had just been on a segment of Unique Eats on the cooking channel and they recognized me by my trademark bandana. I was blown away. I gotta say it felt really good.
A week and a half later one of the moms came into my shop to talk about a party in which she wanted our cupcakes. She thanked me for being so nice to the girls and I let her now it was my pleasure, which was an understatement. The she said, “You know my daughter has put up the picture with them and you in her locker at school and they brag to all their friends that they hung out with the cupcake dude.” I was red with anger….Wait, no! Not anger, I was enbarssed as hell, which I assume is what caued the red. Part of me thought that it was a tad creepy being a high school and all, but that was washed away quickly by the part of me that felt as though I had attained rock tar status, if only for my fifteen minutes. More a pebble star than a rock star, but still, it felt great. A nickname was born and it has stuck.
But here in the world of word lovers I call myself The Existential Baker. It’s here where I put my creative juices to a keyboard instead of a bakers board and use words instead of flour eggs an milk to express myself. Here is where I share my dementia, my memories (if somewhat foggy) and random thoughts. Not knowing me, the name tells you a little about me. First that I am an existentialist. I’m not the “I was existential before it was cool” sort, but a lifelong existentialist. It doesn’t make me intelligent, I don’t hang out drinking happening beverages and talking world politics, and quote philosophers verbatim all day. Its just my philosophic belief. Second it indicates that I either enjoy baking or am a professional baker. So thats what you learn from just the name. The reason for this drawn out ramble is this. Names are important. Names are a coat rack to hang our personalities on. That’s why I take great pains to give my cupcakes a name they deserve.
There are times I spend as much effort naming them as I do cooking and eating them. Some names are pretty obvious like “Strawberry Alarm Clock”, or “A Clockwork Orange”. Some a bit more complicated like the Fandango. it’s a cupcake with a caramel mousse. I made the mousse and abbreviated the name “Cara-mousse”. My wife seeing that thought it said Scaramouch and stating sing the Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the line ends with will you do the Fandango. That’s the name right there. Then we have The Godfather part I and Godfather part II, both obviously very Italian oriented or more like Soprano-ish..So you see, pop culture and rock and roll play a vital role in the naming of our cupcakes.
This leads me to today’s edition, Sins Not Tragedies. I have always loved rock and it’s assisted me in bridging generation gaps because I refuse to tell kids that their music sucks. I may not like it, but its not supposed to resonate with me, it for them. But sometime a tune comes along that could have fit into any generation, and one such tune is by Panic At The Disco. This is one of the rare times my teen daughter and I agree on musical excellence. The song “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” is a great tune from way back in 2006. Its essentially about a best man and bride being caught having “benefits”. Haven’t they heard of keeping the god damn door shut??!! ..Anyway, before we became bakers we did full scale catering for weddings and parties. One such party was supposed to have a grooms cake of cheesecake. I never caught it on the function sheet, and the night before the wedding I needed to come up with a cheesecake on the spot. Using what I had around I through together a cheesecake made with Roc N Rye. I didn’t even have a recipe, it was straight from my head.
As luck would have it, the groom thought it was the best cheesecake ever. My wife said you better save that recipe. I gulped hard, an confessed there is no such recipe. She politely told me to write it down now if I ever want to see my scrotum again. I was appalled! The3 indignity, the nerve, the……I wrote it down. To this day its on a scrap of paper titled “The I think this is it cheesecake.” True story. So the cupcake….cheesecake batter and vanilla cake batter mixed, its stuffed with Rock N Rye custard, and topped with chocolate icing. Believe me when I tell you its delicious. I’d be willing to gamble my scrotum on it…….PEACE