Saturday, June 26, 2010

Combat Cupcake

"You don't know what you got til it's gone." Joni Mitchell
"If you like it then you should have put a ring on it." Beyoncé

Words of wisdom :)  And I am guilty.  Looking over my posts and reviews about cupcakes and cupcakeries alike you'll see entries full of superlatives: "the sweetest cake," "the creamiest frosting," "the most unique flavors"...When was the last time I enjoyed a cupcake without judging or comparing, but simply for the pure joy of it?

Since coming to Afghanistan in February I have dreamt that I was eating cupcakes no fewer than three times.  I have perused online grocery stores, debating the merits of ordering flour, sugar and leaveners from across the world in the vague hope of being able to cobble together a dozen cakes in our meager kitchen.  I have Googled temperature conversions to operate our Celsius oven.  I have scoured vegan baking sites in search of the perfect egg-milk-butter-substitutions, as I have access to none of these.  All in search of the "perfect cupcake" given my circumstances.

So imagine my surprise when, on a particularly lonely and homesick night, I happened to come across tiny frosted cakes during a late night run to the dining hall.  Holding a styrofoam to-go box filled with barbecued beans and franks, I did a double take.  I looked around surreptitiously to see if anyone else had spotted what could not possibly be true.  I inched closer to the tiny card above the tray that read simply, "Cupcake"

Sure, it's baked in a Dixie cup. And the crumb texture could probably double as an exfoliator.   And the frosting is obviously powdered egg meringue.  I would not pay $0.75 for this in the States.  But so what?  Being so far from home, friends, family and everything I hold dear--particularly as I celebrated my birthday last Sunday with a thoughtfully shrink-wrapped bundt cake courtesy of my mother--has really reminded me not to take for granted even those smallest things that bring me joy.  Thanks to everyone who has helped to remind me of the truly important things in life, and next time you take a bite of that cupcake--be it superb or simply so-so--just think of me.


  1. I've missed you at the DC Food Blogger Happy Hours! This post brought tears to my eyes. I will be making cupcakes for my friend's birthday this weekend. I will think of you halfway across the world while I'm baking. Stay safe!

  2. You are in Afghanistan! Tell us more. (And Happy Birthday).

  3. Aww, thanks for the sweet thoughts ladies! I've missed you guys too and can't wait to catch up at September's DCFBHH!