Sins Not Tragedies

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

The Greatest Story Never Told (cont)

The saga continues into Egypt then on to the party of the Red Sea.

The Mosey Chronicles
Fortunately for Noah, Mosey had written both he and Ballinchane into the story. They, along with Abraham and Sarah, one of Abe’s co-workers, Lot and his wife and two daughters. Along with the other 42 chosen by the cops, they got rounded up and are herded of away from Sodomy and Gonorrhea to a safe place. They tell the group to keep moving forward and not look back. They could hear the cops shooting the towns up and tearing things down. When they were about seven miles from the town, the cops all began laughing. The big fat cop eating a sweet lavosh spoke. “You ignorant idiot sinners. Did you really think we were gonna let you go? You belong to us now, you will forever be known now as the chutzpa slaves.” Well Lot had an idea. He crept up to fat cop and said, “If you let me go, I will let you have my two daughters. They are both virgins.” At first fat cop looked interested. “ Virgins you say?” Clearly he wasn’t thinking of it as a negotiation. “You think I need your permission? I don’t need it, I will take these two virgins for myself. Thanks Lott.” Fat cop laughed and grabbed the virgins as Lot attempted to fight him. Fat cop grabbed the first thing he could find and yelled at Lott. “You Dare to try and take anything away from me? I shall take from you what you love scoundrel.” With that he took the shaker of salt he had grabbed off the table and killed Lott’s wife with it. Lott’s wife was assaulted with salt and banged her head into a pillar. Frightened beyond belief, the remaining 47 righteous ones entered Egypt as prisoners.

The Book Of Exodus

And so it was that Noah, Ballinchane, and Lott were put in a prison somewhere in Egypt, a penitentiary called Hum Hum, or Sing Sing, or something like that. Life inside the walls was relatively uneventful, with a few trips to the library or to the gym to work out. On one particular trip to the gym a new prisoner arrived. Well maybe arrived isn’t the word, more like a new prisoner sauntered into the prison. He walked without much determination as if he were not in a rush to get anywhere. He walked slowly and deliberately with a slight gimp. Then again, they are in a prison so what’s the rush anyway. Noah was instantly interested in this new guy. “What be your name stranger?” The stranger looked at him as if he knew him. “Alas Noah, I have been sent here by my devine father who goes by the name Yehaw to free all the prisoners and start a commune in another country.” Noah was taken aback. Not about being freed, that part he didn’t even hear. How the non existent burning forever place did he know my name? Noah stared at him suspiciously. “Again sir, I ask you your name.” The stranger raised a hand. “Calm down there Noah, we have seen each other before. I was placed in a babies basket and covered to hide me from the warden. My mother set me in the water, pointed to your floating house and told me who you were and that she believed you and your lovely wife would be taken prisoner by the corrupt cop who goes by the name of Andy-Kriest. And apparently she was correct. Anyway, my name is Mosey and I am here to free my people.” Noah chuckled softly and said under his breath, “Mosey huh? Well that explains a lot, moseying around here like a thief or something.” Mosey couldn’t quite hear him. “Pardon me Noah, did you say something?” Noah shook his head no and responded. “Never mind mosey, tell me more about this free my people thing.” At last it had registered. He was pretty certain he had heard his dad Adam talk about some geek with a gimp and a character named Yehaw and that gave him some comfort. He couldn’t fully remember what the geek thing was, but he knew Yehaw was a good an powerful being. “Here’s the deal Noah. I am gonna go up to the warden and demand the keys. Then we will all leave and head through the wilderness to the land of make believe. There we will set up a hippie commune, grow some crops to eat and to, ah, to smoke. And life will be good.” This sounded exceptional to Noah. “Fuck yea, I’m in man. When do we leave?” Mosey told him to be ready by the third rooster crow on the morrow, so Noah went to the library to find out when the fuck that meant.
The next morning Noah got up extra early. But as luck would have it, especially for his family, Noah was moved to another cell on the other side of a fence. He listened closely as the rooster crowed the third time. He heard Mosey speak. Andy Kriest, let my people go. Give me the keys now.” Andy began to laugh loudly. “No why in Yehaw’s name would I give you the keys?” Mosey walked slowly towards him as everyone around began to lose patience. “Because I have here a box of assorted doughnuts, two dozen of those delectable sweet cop treats. And they can be all yours, if you give me the keys and let my people go.” Well of course between his obesity and his being a cop it was absolutely impossible for him to pass up the deal. He gave Mosey the keys, and took his donuts to the break room. Mosey opened all the cells and let the prisoners free. “My name is Mosey. I am here to set you all free. Follow me and I will lead you to a place where you can all live without bars or chains. Unless your into that shit, but that’s your choice. Where is the one they call Noah?” From the other side of the fence came a shout. “I am here Mosey, on the other side of the fence. The key ring. Pass it over, please pass it over.” And Mosey did so, he absolutely did Passover the keys exclaiming, “I Passover the key ring for you Noah, and we will name a holiday after this event. Now free yourself and let us flee like unleavened bread.” Noah opened his cell all the time thinking to himself, “what a curious fellow this Mosey” But he was free, and in the end that was all that mattered. At least that’s what he thought.
“Come form a line, single file and follow me.” Now all the prisoners had become accustomed to following direction and walking single file so they obeyed as much out of routine as wanting to be free. But Noah was a born leader and he would have none of it. He ran up to Mosey to find out exactly what was going on. He did not want to be fooled a second time. “Tell me this Mosey, to where are you leading everyone?” Mosey took three steps, which seemed excruciatingly long to Noah, stopped and looked Noah in the eyes. “I have been visited upon by a dream which told me I should go to the Red Sea, party there awhile, and then head into a commune called Jerusalem. There we will start a few new religions all based on my dad, Yehaw Allahaha God. Whether or not you and the lovely Ballinchane come is strictly up to you, but I suggest whatever you choose, you act on before the Andy Kriest finishes his box of doughnuts. I fear he will be awfully pissed when he finds out no one is left in prison.” Noah gave it some careful thought and decided he would blaze his own trail. So off he went with Ballinchane to search for his mom and Dad who had headed for Greece or some such country. So they grabbed the unicorn (foolishly the unicorn had A fight with its wife and left it before the trip and wa now the last of his species. Such is the fate of the lonely unicorn), a big horse, a handful of Trojans (they surely didn’t want any children at this point) and lit out for the land of myths and legends. He wanted to say good-bye to Mosey, but the group had already gone a few miles up ahead along the river, and Noah wanted to go the other way.
Now Mosey had to take the group on to Jerusalem. He decided they would travel faster if they formed three groups, so he chose 3 men as leaders and separated the groups, Mosey spoke to the people. “Okay guys, I am going to go up into that mountain, Mount Sinai, to chill in a tent, smoke some herb and think up some laws I can impose on you.” (He would in fact burn an entire bush of cannabis and began to hallucinate from it) There was a loud growl from the crowd. “Now wait a minute you guys, remember, not 4 days ago you were all prisoners and were forced to do whatever the warden wanted you to. Have you had to cover your assets when bending over for the soap since then? No! Have you ladies been forced to digest junk you didn’t want to? No! Before we get to the commune we just need a few rules to live by. That’s all I mean by laws, it’s not like the other camel shit we had to deal with! So before you start whining and grumbling just give a listen. As I was saying, I am going up to mount Sinai to make some…….commandments for us all to follow as a kind of guide. We’ll call them the tent commandments okay?…We’ll be breaking up into three groups before the partying of the Red Sea.

There’s A bee In My Easter Bonnet

Easter Time
Move over St. Patty, Easter bunny time is here. Sorry your Saintship, but that’s the way that time rolls. Time answers to no one. Time just keeps rolling along at its own pace. It can take its sweet ass time, go fast as hell (although no recorded document on hell’s speed exists as far as I know), or it can keep on slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future. Time can run out or heal all my wounds. The time is now so there’s no time like the present to ramble about how time is passing me by. It seems like only yesterday, or the day before, I was rambling about bagpipes, corned beef, green colored beer and shamrock shakes. But here I am now, prepared to talk about the mysteries of the next holiday, Easter. Ah yes finally. Sorry it took so much time to get to my point. But here we are, looking down the rabbit hole waiting on the Eater bunny to leave us some treats. We don’t have egg hunts here in my house, we have cupcake hunts. We dip our cupcakes in water, vinegar, and various food colors the night before and…I really shouldn’t lie just for a cheap cupcake promotion but chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and robins eggs have had their day in the sun and its time for some new traditions. New ideas, new treats. What better than a cupcake?
Yea baby, that’s what I’m talkin’ bout. A giant rabbit carrying a big basket filled with delicious cupcakes. Or maybe a giant hamster. Move over Mr. Bunny. Of course I can’t just leave it there, especially after taking up so much of your time rambling about time. I think its about time I get to the point of Easter, or more specifically why the bunnies and eggs possess such dominance over the holiday making cupcakes seemingly insignificant on Easter morning.
It all started with Pliny the Elder, who was born way back in 23AD Ah yes, the not so roaring 20’s as it was known back then. Pliny was a brilliant Roman philosopher who somehow convinced the Roman Church that hares were hermaphrodites, and thereby capable of giving virginal birth. This lifted the rabbit to the status of worship along with The Virgin Mary. Maybe not quite on par with Mary but slower than a racing tortoise our bunny crept into popular iconogy in the church. Mr. Rabbit attained important distinction in both Catholic arts and literatures. Pliny reached into his magic hat and pulled out a religious artifact of a rabbit. This then is the story of how the rabbit became so revered. But why chocolate bunnies?
To the best o our knowledge the first edible celebration of a rabbit which doesn’t entail using an actual dead rabbit was in Germany. A baked pastry confection shaped as Peter Cottontail was created in the early 1800’s and the families would hide the treat in nests around the home. In the morning the young Das Wunderkinds would find and delightfully consume the sweet tasting rabbit. Leave it to Americans to find a way to turn it into a money maker. Around 1842 Whitman (No not Walt the poet, Stephen the one famous for chocolate samplers) came out with the first molded chocolate bunny and by the early 1900’s many other chocolatiers joined in the fun and began mass producing the chocolate hoppless hares. Today the Easter Bunny has reached the upper echelon of childhood magic along with a hippie looking Santa Claus and an absolutely scrumptious flying tooth fairy. The chocolate bunny was brought to life and credited with stalking young kids, breaching the security of their homes, and instead of removing stuff leaving a basket filled with candies and other treats. In the 1950’s Hugh Hefner would create a new mystique for the bunny that would create adolescent confusion, but that’s a topic for another day.
So that’s the bunny story. I see no reason at all for the lapidary legend to be bearing cupcakes instead of candy. But the old school long eared acceptable rodent is not famous for brining cupcakes, it carries candy and day-glo colored eggs. Well mine did, but that’s the hippie version. Other less hip hopping hares brought pastel colored hard cooked eggs. Eggs? WTF?? Eggs you see are a symbol of fertility. Exactly what makes that appropriate for children is somewhat perplexing. Hey kids, I brought you a treat, it’s a symbol of fertility! But don’t eat too many eggs or you may go blind!. Colored eggs my ass! The coloring it seems represent the colors of spring. We buy colored egg kits to honor the Spring. That or its another merchandising scam. So I will happily adjust the colors of my cupcakes to be more “Springy” if that’s what it takes. Hermaphrodite hares and fertile colored eggs? Maybe better to think this through a bit. I mean really, don’t tell kids that rabbits lay eggs and hatch chickens, they’re scarred enough from the whole both gender fertility thing. Tell them the Eater Bunny puts on an apron and bakes colored cupcakes. Makes sense to me! It even seems more politically correct than a bi-species unmarried couple hinting to kids about fertility. Besides, it’s about time!
Did I really try and tie this whole crazy scenario up in a bow of time quips? Of course, I do shit like this all the time. Why? Because time waits for no man and yet time is of the essence. Ti-i-i-me is on my side, yes it is. Time has come today, so there’s no time like the present to bid you safe journeys and shared love. But please give cupcakes their morning in the Easter sun this year and buck tradition. Oh, and keep the jelly beans, cuz they friggen rock!…………………….Peace…(Until next time)

Death After Death, part 1

Sometimes you just need to treat yourself and splurge a little. That’s how I justified having that humongous double bacon cheeseburger and fries on that one fateful night. Holy guacamole it sure was delicious going down and man oh man did it make me feel good. All smiles and satisfaction on my face. Oh yea, beer, bacon, and burgers make everything on the outside feel all tingly and giddy. However, things on the inside where not quite as jovial. Unbeknownst to me there was an acidic uprising throughout the gastro battlefields. The war between the intestines was engaged and acids were flying around everywhere. An all out acid attack was underway which was bad enough, but even worse, in the cardio corner a shock and awe campaign was fully engaged. While the intestines battled it out they sent waves of nausea up through the esophagus in a campaign to create a reflux warning. Tossing and turning, tumbling and churning, the gastro intestinal system did its best to raise the threat level to red and wake me up. But the eight or so beer and the large glass of boxed wine had seen to it that nothing short of an absolute hydrogen explosion or an atomic disturbance would wake me from my comatose sleep. The battle ensued and intensified through the evening as much of the fat from the bacon, cheese, and hamburger had forced their way past the intestine walls and into the already weak liver. There it jumped on the hemoglobin bus and took the main artery directly to coronary quadrant. The bus let off exactly where the cholesterol had been preparing for its moment. Ah yes, the cholesterol, the bad kind of course, had been planning this for years, setting up roadblocks all along the arteries to prevent anything from passing through to reach the life center. If it can cut off all paths to the heart an prevent the flow of life giving liquids to blood pumping center the evil cholesterol will be declared the winner! The blood supply line was doing its best to bring its humanitarian supplies to the heart, but this huge bacon cheeseburger gave cholesterol just the proper blockage it needed to shut down its opponent forever. No blood flow and its just a matter of time. I guess I’m glad I was asleep at the time, but what follows death is what may interest you most. Here’s how it went down.
Something felt a little off that night. Not sure how to put it into words but I get to feeling lethargic at this time of night often, and usually attribute it to being tired from a long day of work. But there was something more to it tonight. I mean sure, the beer made me a bit woozy and sleepy, and the work its gonna take to digest that huge fucking bacon cheeseburger is taking a lot out of me, but still an unusual lethargy tonight. An almost sinister lethargy on this eve. That’s what made me think a few Zantac washed down with a tall cup of wine would take of the edge and then I could enjoy a serious chillax on the couch. “Never again!” How many times have I said that?
If I was still feeling weird the wine successfully masked the sensation. Done with the mind numbing exercise of staring at the glowing colored pixels shooting out from the TV screen and processing worthless information that is supposed to entertain me. Now I’m just flat out tired as shit and I need to get to bed. It would be the last time.
I woke from my sleep, or that is I thought I woke, but I wasn’t really awake. It was a surreal state. My eyesight was strained kinda like I was looking through the thick bottom of a coke bottle. Not so much blurry as if I was seeing ten dimensions and they overlapped causing an almost fractured view of the world. But what world? I mean like where the fuck am I? Think back JT, where was the last place you were? Oh my god a delicious bacon cheeseburger with a….Fucking A, a ton of cholesterol laden bricks fell on my head! I had a fucking heart attack! This is it! I’m dead. Now I’m gonna find out now what happens next right? Right??
I finally started to put it together. I’m dead as a doornail yet I can still think. Is this that phenomenon of life after death? I can see my body but I cant feel anything so why am I still thinking? What am I here for? I took stock of the room. The walls seemed almost oval and I am encased in water yet I’m breathing normal. Some kind of joke or something? I’m back in the womb? No, its not that, I’m not being reborn but I see a kind of tunnel to the right, and a stairwell to the left. Could this be my final decision? Was I completely wrong about God and all the mystery surrounding him or her? Am I stuck between heaven an hell? The tunnel like thing is sorta dark so that must be hell, and the stairwell is lit up at the top so that must be heaven. Okay JT, time to choose. One glance down the tunnel revealed absolutely nothing but darkness so the decision was pretty easy. Up the stairwell I go.
As I ascended the steps I couldn’t feel my feet. I didn’t so much walk as I did float up the steps slowly, one at a time. The tension was building up and I was anxious to see what was at the top. When I arrived there was a beautiful image looking at me and straight away I could somehow tell she knew everything about me. I knew instinctively that if I were going to plead my case this was the time and she was the person. Time to get pro-active.
“I made some pretty bad decisions, didn’t I?” She looked at me knowingly and shook her head. In the most soothing voice she said, “Yes JT, you have made some very poor choices which caused undue harm to people who did not deserve it. On the other hand you have helped out a great many of people as well.” Hope rose up in my throat like magma burning to escape. “That’s true, I did, I helped so many people in many ways. I know I made some mistakes but I did a lot of good too. Right?” I can’t be sure but I think I was breathing hard. If I was even breathing at all. She smiled and it lit her face up. I got a closer look. Her hair was light brown and hung around her face in slight curls. So thick an full her locks were billows of blustery clouds. Her face was perfectly round and beautiful. Somehow she looked like every girl and woman I have ever known. Slightly raised sleek forehead one moment, perfectly flat and silky smooth the next. Her face was absolutely wrinkle free and she had a nose that epitomized the button mushroom one second then jutted out regally the next. It was quite disconcerting and confusing. . By far the most intriguing and alluring part of her face were her eyes. I was peering directly into two mirrors aflame and with burning life. Her thin warm lips did not move so I assumed it were those reflective orbs that spoke directly to my soul. “You know JT, it had taken you many a year to learn the preciousness of life and you have been so very honorable to so many, yet you did not take much care of your own well being.” I knew she was right, I have a long history of various forms of self medication, I didn’t get check ups and tests as was suggested, I ate and drank many things I knew were not good for me, and overall took little care of the maintenance of my body outside of daily personal hygiene. “True that Ms. Spirit, I have put others ahead of myself but isn’t that a good thing? I mean, I care for many others and not taking care of myself was more or less a well deserved self punishment right? Those who have little give everything and take nothing, or something like that. I’m paraphrasing here but it is true, I forsook of myself so that others may benefit from my deeds.” I closed my eyes so she couldn’t see my fear, but of course she’s not human so I have no idea what she may be seeing. “That’s what we’re here to decide JT, whether or not your deeds and attributes outweigh your mistakes and earned you the right to hear the truth.” I looked right into those all seeing disks, “I have tried to make amends for all the stupid things I have done. I have given much of myself and here it is, the end. This I how it works? You choose who is worthy of going on and……and what happen to the rest, what is the fate if you decide they are unworthy? Are you God?”. Again the smile which by this time was actually beginning to piss me off with its condescending sneer. A belly laugh from this female god faker seemed almost evil and my mood was changing rapidly. Was she laughing at me? “It doesn’t matter who I am JT, and as for you the decision was made long ago by you. I’m not real because you created me JT, I am a sort of collage of lives that have been central to yours. Do you see your mother in me? I know you do, they all do.” Now anger was rapidly being replaced by confusion. What the hell does she want from me? I created her, are you fucking serious? But here it was, an image I apparently conjured up from people I love or loved and it’s already been decided what my fate will be.
“So what happens now?” My spidey senses were tingling, or I think they were, not really sure of anything anymore. “Now its time for you to go see the creator.” She said it so matter of fact and non chalant. Her words hung around like a morning mist lingering the mountaintops waiting for the sun burn away the fog. I hoped she was preparing to shine a clearing light of knowledge. But the words themselves betrayed and threatened all my beliefs. Thoughts swirling in a vortex of confusion I uttered the most appropriate response I could muster with what little strength I had. “ You mean God?” I just stared at the woman I had begun to think might be God and she smiled that so familiar smile that seemed to warm my soul and put me at ease. I couldn’t move or talk, could only observe. “Relax JT, its nothing to be alarmed of. There is no one God as you have been taught. You are God, and I am God. Trees and bees and lions and tigers and bears are God. Everything you have ever loved is God. You are not meeting God you are going to see the truth. The creator has the truth JT, and the truth has been waiting for you. It’s time for you to meet the creator. Go to the bottom of the staircase.”

Why Cupcakes? Blame It On The Munchies

WTF is in my cart?
How does one change their culinary discipline from making killer sauces to top on exotic sautéed fish to baking sweet sugary cupcakes? Why from having the munchies of course. The change hit me like an epiphany on roller skates speeding down the snack aisle of a supermarket. Devil Dogs to my left, Little Debbie’s to my right, and mallow mars dead ahead. No iceberg in sight. Not a single healthy choice within ten feet. Not that it mattered, I had just finished a bowl of chronic and I had an unusually advanced case of munchy-itis! That maddening after effect of herbal induced euphoria that has one believing they haven’t eaten in a week. And worse, the antidote for the unbearable hunger pains lies only in sweets, not in health foods. I remember my Mom staring at me suspiciously when I came home at 1230AM with my foolish smile and vacant stare as I loaded up my bowl with cocoa puffs. Ironically, a cereal bowl after an evening filled with many bowls of blissful herb.
Of course she had good reason to suspect foul play, I was friggen stoned off my ass. When I finally moved out on my own it was completely different. Mostly because I never had any foods in the fridge. Well nothing that didn’t resemble a science project on mold growth anyway. So instead of being smart and shop the next morning to fill up the cupboards, I did what any self respecting stoner would. I went to A&P. The Ho-Ho’s were singing sweet melodies and the Ring Dings were ringing and rocking directly at me. Chips Ahoy jumped in my cart by themselves. Nothing of interest in produce, meats, or dairy. Wait!? I spoke to soon, there in the dairy section, amongst various types of % milks, half and half, whipping cream, and creamers at the most beautiful sight. Chocolate milk!!! Oh sweet heaven, milk made tasty. Where ever those chocolate cows live is where I want to move. But for now, IN THE CART! When I got to check out I watched as everything made its way down the conveyor, and it all looked great. The cashier looked at me and I knew she knew I was high, but then I feared everyone did, and she said, “74.23” WTF??? How could I spend that much on just crap foods? That my friends, was the epiphany.
That’s when I knew it was right to switch my area of cooking expertise from regular foods to sweet treats. And what better than cupcakes? So now, at the bakery I am “The Cupcake Dude.” Here where I use up my leftover creative juice I am “The Existential Baker”. Names are important. But more on that next time when I introduce my next new cupcake, “Sins Not Tragedies.”………………………PEACE

Life During Wartime

In the backrop of the Viet Nam war we heard of kis being killed on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. JT never once believed his brother James would be one of those statitics. It was an uneasy time and the youth of America learned firt hand how to self medicate.

I Heard The News Today Oh Boy

We partied through the night, Patrick tried once to put the move on Sue but I took him aside and set him straight. No harm no foul, it was the ludes that really made the move and Patrick wasn’t the kind of guy that would steal his friend’s girl. That is to say not without being coerced by a number of Quaaludes and herbs. It was late and time to head home so the three of us headed out. We first dropped Sue off at her house, then Carrie and I hid in the bushes just on the side of her house. We made out for ten minutes and we both wanted to make love, but doing it on her front lawn was not a good move. It was late and we had nowhere to go to exercise our throbbing hormones so time to cold shower our desires. I gave her one last kiss goodnight and began my trek home.
A myriad of thoughts were flooding my head and I began hallucinating wildly. This was a common practice when you have been trying to maintain all night so no one would know you were tripping. When you let your guard down the hallucinations flowed with the fury and passion of young love. Which by no accident was one of those swirling thoughts. The smile on my face was so huge that my ears had to take a step back and make more room. The delirious joy from the ludes and the spiritual wonder of the mushrooms had begun a tag team match. They both won and I felt unbelievably great. “Jesus shit, nothing in the world could possibly take me down. Not nothing!!” But as we have learned, never say never.
I walked up the driveway and noticed the kitchen light was on. “Oh fuck. Someone’s awake, this can’t be good.” I walked into the house with an uneasy feeling. That wonderful feeling of good life was quickly replaced with trepidation. I could hear my Mom whimpering in the kitchen. When I walked into the kitchen I could feel the tension in the air. It was obvious Mom had been crying for some time. The old man just stared at the floor with a blank expression on his face. “Whats going on?” The silence only made the tension more evident. After about 10 seconds of eerie nothingness my Pops broke the spell. “We got a visit from the army. James was killed in battle.” Mom broke out in a renewed set of loud heaving cries that I was sure had been going on for quite a while. I knew it. Jesus shit I fucking knew this was gonna happen! The rage built up quickly and I felt my face fill with anger, sorrow, and total disdain. I looked over to my old man and he never took his eyes off the floor. Not even the balls to look me in the eye. I glared at him and all I could think of was how Ken had described punching his old man out. I wanted to go over and wail on him but my Moms crying stopped me. I walked over to hug her and my eyes filled up with salty rivers of sorrow. I began to cry as well and just held her tight as she cried in my arms. My whole world was now upside down, inside out, half assed, and backwards. The various drugs teamed up with the raw emotion and the result was a vortex of confusion.
Mom had an empty soul at that moment. Her eyes were empty, all red and beaten not just from tears but from many years of worry and stress over her kids. I knew I was a major contributor to the weathered and worn orbs and felt somewhat ashamed at the moment. Her expression was blank, vacant. I had never seen anyone so detached and it worried me. As I held her I reflected on the better times James and I had, arm punch contests, purple nurples, and wet willies aside we were very tight as kids. Jameson always let me play ball with him and his friends and I thought back to the time when we played quarterback and helped me score my first touchdown. “Okay JT, you take one step over the line, I’m throwing you the ball. You catch it, turn and run to the endzone.” Ha, the endzone. An obscure piece of real estate in between two large trees. The promised land of schoolyard football. He then turned to the rest of the guys in the huddle. “Any one of you mother fuckers lets JT get touched by anyone gonna get their ass kicked by me!” We laughed for days because I caught it, turned and ran my little ass off down the field and James and his friends used the most unethical and illegal forms of blocking, but not a soul touched me. For weeks all anyone talked about in my Jr. High school was how JT made a touchdown playing football with the high school kids. It was gold. Jesus shit I’m gonna miss James.
I looked my Mom in the eye and said “Mah, remember the time James was chasing me around the house and I ran through the sliding screen door Dad had put in that morning? I thought you were gonna kill us both.” I could see the smile taking root on her face and her eyes lit up just a tiny bit for the first time since she got the news. “Oh good god JT, you two were such terrors. You have no idea how much you guys put me through.” Mission accomplished, Mom was now reflecting fondly too. We exchanged stories for what seemed like hours, but it just felt good just to not see her crying. As for the old asshole, still not a word. Most likely he was wallowing in guilt and remorse. He was pounding down beer after beer and he looked drunk. I almost felt sorry for him because his sorry ass aura had no glow at all. Nothing, nada, zilch! Zero emotion as though he didn’t even have it in him to shed a tear. Beneath those eyes it was an empty sandlot.
I sat up with Mom for a few more hours until the sun began to shed light on what was a normal day for everyone else. Mom offered to make breakfast but I declined. My head was now pounding from the loss of James compounded by a killer hangover that promised to take residence. My worst fear compounded booze and drugs. Fuck this war. Fuck this world! I went to my room slapped on the headphones and lay on the bed, not even bothering to take off my clothes. I have no idea how long it took, but I stared at the ceiling until I fell asleep. I slept hard all the time hoping when I woke up it will all have been just some shit ass dream.

Making A Banshee Scream Using Only A Cupcake

The Cupcake That Made A Banshee Scream

A special St. Pats cupcake may be normal but The Screaming Banshee cupcake is paranormal!. Every year around this time we take out our Saint Patrick’s cupcakes specials and parade them around. No floats, bagpipes, or Grand Exalted Marshal of the shamrocks. No Mayors, marching bands, or baton twirlers. But what we do is bring our most popular celebratory cupcake of the year, The Screaming Banshee out from the woodwork. Daring anyone within taste bud range to rain on it’s parade it will march front and center on Sunday. The jig is up so keep your shamrocks, Kiss Me I’m Irish buttons, and the wearin’ o’the green. That’s not how I envision being Irish. When I imagine Ireland it conjures up other images. Leprechauns, pots of gold, rainbows, and those not so friendly ghosts, the screaming banshees. Screaming banshee cupcake? Seriously why? The Screaming Banshee in Irish legend is a spirit of a woman who moans woefully as someone is about to die. That doesn’t sound like a nice premise for a sweet little cupcake, but after all this special treat is…….TO DIE FOR!!
Here at Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes however we think it’s worth living for. What kind of a cupcake could possibly have enough chops to honor this female spirit that makes shrill sounding utterances to coax the reapers of the underworld? What on gods green Eire can make banshee a special wondrous snack? My goal is to make it magically delicious. I asked myself what flavors for a cupcake rise to the level of Irish mythology? To start, I made the batter. Devils food cake of course, except I made mine using Guinness Stout. A dark stout for a dark spirit. The important thing to remember when making a Guinness chocolate cake is to overbuy the evil liquid. That way as the banshee cakes are cooking I can finish the remaining Guinness. Now for the filling, something strong and Irish. After consuming the leftover dark brew I’m left feeling slightly incomplete. What I need is a shot or four of some Irish whisky. MMMM, whiskey.
Whiskey is Gaelic for “water of Life”, or “lively water”. It’s a distilled beverage made from grains and is alcohol legend in history. The wild west was weaned on whisky in saloons, and its what the bootleggers loved to boot. Yahoo, mountain dew, the official beverage of the Blue Ridge Mountains. (and Appalachians too) . Across Europe whisky was distilled and consumed from back in the 3rd century. It spread quickly across to the UK and spread gigantic smiles on the faces of the Irish and Scottish lucky enough to have barrels on hand. There in that little corner of the world is where they brought whisky to new heights. It brought consumers to new heights as well and is likely why the Irish are so well known for having a penchant for imbibing. The Scotts even have a special whisky category with the creative name of Scotch Whisky. So whisky custard it is!
To make the whisky custard more evenly palatable is a tad tricky. I don’t want my cupcake to burn going down but I want to highlight the wonderful oak flavor and have just enough to not make you smile in a drunken stupor but to accentuate the smile brought about from eating. There is some controversy over whether cooking eliminates or lessens alcohol content so the first decision I made was not to cook the whisky at all. That removes all doubt, you will taste and feel the whiskey. I chose to add it raw to the custard. I make my vanilla custard a smidge thicker than usual and temper the whisky with some molasses. The molasses gives the whisky a smooth an sweet flavor and softens the strong oaks notes in the booze. And as the custard cools I slowly stir in the tasty hooch making sure to lick my fingers when completed. Now the Banshee is just about ready to make you scream.
The topping of the cupcake is of great importance. It not only is the first image one gets of the mini cake but it serves to give the cupcake sense of Nirvanic completion, a cosmic recognition, and it bridges the tower of flavors created underneath it. The topping gives the cupcake it’s propers and lends to it’s overall credibility. A nice rosette of whipped cream using a pinch of whisky in place of vanilla, then a coating of green sprinkles leaves no doubt as to its Irish origin. You may not find a leprechaun hiding a pot of gold here at Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes, but one bite from a screaming Banshee and you will feel like the richest person in town. Just remember that The Screaming Banshee cupcakes is safe and fun and meant to enhance your eating experience, not overpower it. Never abuse cupcakes, moderation is the key…………………….Peace