Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cupcake Buddies


One of the many tasks I set out for myself since moving to New Orleans is to learn how to make a decent cupcake. How this fits into my future I'm not exactly sure, but I find baking relaxing, and I dream of a day when I can open a small cafe selling cupcakes and empanadas, and take time off when I want. I picked the almighty cupcake because it easy to make in batches, and generally a crowd-pleaser; Cheaper than bringing a good bottle of wine, good cupcakes are the perfect house party gift or neighborly offering.

Once, when I was depressed about breaking up with my boyfriend at the time, in an effort to console me, my friend Jill gave me the following wisdom: "Kim, what you need is a guy who likes to travel and can enjoy a good cupcake." Well I haven't found that man quite yet but I have made some good friendships with an offer of cupcakes.

But, after a while, like the rich, the famous, and the beautiful, sometimes I wonder...is it me they want or is it merely what I have?

Why would you say such a thing? You might ask. Consider the following story. My new friend Jeff and I were in the car headed out to listen to some music in town when he awkwardly asks me,
"So uh, do anything cool last night? Like at around 11:00ish? Or were you sleeping?"
I had to search my memory for a bit before I answered,
"Uh, I think I was just getting home from the Rivershack."
"Oh, so it's not like you were woken up by anything, were you? Milo barking or anything?"
"Um no. Why?"

I was trying my best to decipher this cryptic line of questioning when Jeff confesses the following story which I am attempting to retell to you here. Please note that the names and identities of the parties have been changed to protect the innocent. From Jeff's point of view, it went a little something like this...

"It was a dark and stormy Monday night, and like all Monday nights in New Orleans, there was a multitude of things to do in the city. I went to the Circle Bar to see some friends play when I got a text message from Dan. He tells me that he and Chris were going to the Maple Leaf Bar and then jamming at Chris's house nearby. I had a few more drinks and then made my way to Chris' place, where they were practicing with a new bass player, Steve, who they were trying to start a band with. We smoked a couple bowls and I listened to them play for about an hour until about 11:00p.m. Chris is pretty beat at this point, Steve looks like he's ready to take off, but Dan is ready for more, and so am I.

"Ok, what's next?" asks Dan.
"Downtown? Frenchman Street?" I offer.
"Yeah, why not?" he responds.
"I'm way too tired to leave the house," says Chris, who, at this point is supporting his head on his conga drums, arms askew. "I'm out on this one." He looks really pathetic at this point.

Dan hesitates a minute before he says, awkwardly, "So uh, do you think we should call Kim?"
I smile saying, "I was just thinking the same thing! I know for a fact she made a fresh batch of cupcakes just yesterday. Three different kinds. I won't even tell you about the chocolate one I had the other day."
"No way," says Chris, hoisting his head up.
"Hey I'd head over to Kim's if we drive there, and someone promises to drive me home," Chris offers, generously.
"Yeah, screw Frenchman Street. Let's go buy some milk and head over to her house."
Newcomer Steve looks from one guy to the other.
"So um, what's the deal with the cupcake thing? Are they pot cupcakes or something?" he asks.
"No. But they're really good. Sorry, man, but I think you gotta sit this one out. I wouldn't feel right just taking a new guy over there without her meeting you first," I say.
"Yeah, that would be weird. Sorry man." Concurs Dan.
"No that's cool guys. I'm good. I'm just wondering what's up that's all." He looks back and forth to ensure that we're not being sarcastic about the entire thing.
"Yeah well do you think it's a little late though?" I ask.
"No way man. It's like a pot dealer. She's gotta expect late night calls. Occupational hazard."
"True. Anyhow, she's gotta be up, she's a total night owl. She told me so herself," I say.
"Let's go!" orders Dan.

We drove to your house, and turn off the car, when we realize that we forgot the milk. So we head back the opposite direction to the gas station, pick up a half gallon of plain and a half gallon of chocolate milk. We buzz ourselves into the building and stand in front of your door.

"Is this cool? I mean, is she gonna get totally pissed off or what?" Asks Chris.
"Yeah, what if she's sleeping?" Asks Dan.
"Hey, I see a light! Well let's knock really really lightly. If she's awake, she'll hear us. If she's sleeping, she'll keep sleeping." I say.
There we were, all hunched around front of your door, fairly stoned, half gallon cartons of milk in our hands. I knock really lightly on your door when Milo-dogg starts barking his head off. The three of us look at each other for a second, and without further ado we run from the building and back into the car, laughing our heads off! We weren't sure if you were there or not, but we knew that if you had been, then you were sleeping and Milo would have woken you up with the barking. We didn't want to piss you off so we ran, each man for himself at that point. We all make it back to the getaway car and couldn't stop laughing at how stupid we were acting..."

So is it my friendship they want or my highly coveted cupcake?

At the end of the day, like the late Michael Jackson (rest in peace), I'm happy to buy my friends, even if they are goofy musician potheads. Hell, at least I don't have to buy them zoo animals or mansions or anything like that. It's easy to be generous when you're serving up cream cheese coconut frosting... Or black-bottom chocolate cupcakes with ghiradelli chocolate chips on top... Or white frosting with almond slivers... Or a lemon bars made with real vanilla bean...

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