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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Hiya, Cupcake!

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       It was a typical, Chamber of Commerce Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles.    Blue sky.   Warm--almost hot--but not in the muggy kinda way we're so used to in Wisconsin where this summer is rife with Guatamalan dew points.   It was a perfect time to take in the beaches of Venice or Santa Monica, or perhaps roll down Highway 1 with the sunroof open and the tunes cranked.

      Instead, my son and I were standing in line with good friend/former radio colleague Gino Salomone, waiting for our chance to buy a cupcake.   Not just any cupcake, mind you, but the ones that are sold at the now-so-trendy "Sprinkles".



        "Sprinkles" apparently is still basking in the afterglow of an Oprah Winfrey on-air mention, so the owners are no doubt set for life because such a blessing seems to bring eternal rewards.

       We bought a box (Gino threw the party) and enjoyed several varieties including the famous red velvet.


      They were good--exceptional, in fact--but pricey: $3.25 each, but cheaper by the dozen.  

      I had heard about the bakery buzz that seems to be sweeping the country before getting to L-A last month, and "Sprinkles" was my first front line frosting exposure.     Seems like I'm late to the party.

      There are any number of shows on cable devoted strictly to either cake or the subspecies cupcake.    In fact, there's one that returns to TLC tomorrow night that focuses on a shop in the nation's capital.     Two sisters sell about 5,000 cupcakes a day at just under $3 a pop (not a bad return).    I would imagine business only improves as their six-part reality show hits the air. 

      Reality show?    National TV?    Six parts?     What am I missing?

      There are a lot of channels out there, with a lot of time to fill.    If we'll watch a six-part series based out of a real-life cupcake store, it either shows that we'll tune into anything or that we're rapidly running out of new ideas to fill the digital universe.

       My "Sprinkles" red velvet cupcake was, indeed, delicious if not somewhat over-priced.    It was something I ate with great relish, my anticipation amped greatly by the whole experience of being in line to wait for something so rare.    Hype heightens taste, I guess.   That said, my interest in the store pretty much faded as the last bite left my cake-hole: I didn't really need to hear the back-story on the person who mixed the batter, lit the oven or applied the cream-cheese frosting (which is so good it should be sold by the bottle and taxed by the government, like booze).   

      A lot of you feel otherwise about your pastry.

     There's a ton of pure CRAP on cable these days, and I certainly don't consider programs about food to be among them, even when the subject grows as narrow as the cupcake.    It proves a story can be spun about virtually anyone these days: ice road truckers, lumberjacks, fishermen, or even a gaggle of human flotsam that thrives on the Jersey shore.     And, don't even get me started on the freshly completed "The Hills".    Now THAT's some crap-tastic television.

      A show about cupcakes?    Strange, yes, and very niche but certainly nothing illegal, immoral or fattening.    Watching is far easier on the waistline than actually sampling the wares.    I won't be tuning in--it's not that I consider myself above such fare, it's just that it doesn't interest me.

      Now, when they work up that six-part reality series based on a Sheboygan bratwurst shop,  THAT'S another story.



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