Monday, March 14, 2011

Trading Chaos for Cupcake Wars

Picture courtesy of iStockphoto

When things get chaotic or stressful some people like to fantasize about Calgon taking them away while others envision themselves on the beach of a tropical island; and still others imagine themselves on a breezy-ocean cruise. Although perfectly pleasant, these scenarios don’t work for me. The only place Calgon takes me to is wondering when the last time I cleaned my bathtub was. I can’t go to a tropical island because I start freaking out about how much it cost to get me there. You might be wondering at this point how on earth I’ll sabotage the cruise. Um, have you ever heard of the Titanic? I don’t care how many lifeboats are on that thing. I’m out. No, the place I dream of is a much safer place: I dream of Cupcake Wars.

I realize that the words “safer” and “wars” in the same sentence might be a bit of an oxymoron, but we’ll skip right over that and get to the good stuff--Cupcake Wars. For those of you unfamiliar, Cupcake Wars is the quintessential cupcakeathon televised on Food Network. Four bakers are challenged to concoct a cupcake masterpiece from ingredients the likes of which are more suited for an appetizer menu than a pastry case (think cheese puffs, olives and oxtail?—I don’t judge, and it’s a good thing). Ultimately the contestants must come up with 3 recipes that will rock the pants off 3 renowned judges of the professional cupcake world. The grand finale pins the last-two-standing cupcake bakers against each other in a challenge to create a gigantor 1000-cupcake display for whatever swanky-themed event is featured for each particular episode (think Cirque du Soleil, Grammy Awards, etc.).

Now back to your regularly scheduled program of Erin’s contradictory and dreamy/chaotic escape to Cupcake Wars. Why after all, would I select this particular scenario/show to escape to when: 1. historically I have not enjoyed baking, and 2. I am not particularly successful at baking (cupcakes or anything else really) and, 3. The show actually radiates a sort of chaotic, crazy vibe. That’s the cool thing about oxymorons and contradictions--they provide a convenient loophole out of the unreasonable, nonsensical and otherwise just plain weird.

If you think about it objectively, my escape to Cupcake Wars isn’t much different than escaping to an island. My island is just full of shiny kitchenAid appliances. Who cares that in reality I don’t know the difference between baking soda and baking powder? In my Cupcake Wars fantasy I’m a freaking cupcake-baking mastermind with a reputation for producing the most decadent buttercream frosting west of the Mississippi--so put that in your cupcake and eat it! As for the chaos of Cupcake Wars—it’s organized and contained, whereas my chaos is unpredictable and usually involves cleaning up poop rather than frosting.

I may not be gracing the actual stainless-steel paradise that is the kitchen of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars anytime soon, but you bet your sweet cupcakes I’ll be on my couch watching those crazy bakers go toe-to-toe, while dreaming of Cheeto-infused, vanilla-bean cupcakes with an almond-buttercream frosting.

*Author’s note. I successfully baked my first batch of cupcakes from scratch last week, followed by cleaning up frosting AND poop (toddler’s and puppy’s). Who says dreams can’t come true amidst chaos?