Google™ has about 2,090,000 results for a search on cupcakes and school.
A Michigan elementary school has banned the classroom tradition of celebrating a child’s birthday with cupcakes.
The interestingly spelled Syndee Malek, principal at the South Redford elementary school, insists that birthdays be honored with “healthy foods.”
Schools, the first bastion of fat-kids-with-high-self-esteem over performance, have had gravy on the French fries instead of vegetables and soda machines in the halls for more than a generation. Now, in 2010, the same schools promote student nutrition and fitness. Lunch at Ms. Malek’s school is very different from most schools. Nothing is fried, hot dogs are made with turkey, and she thinks the kids love the fresh fruit and vegetable bar.
Cupcakes have a nutritiously terrible ingredient list: all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda, a teaspoon of salt, some shortening, water, eggs, and milk. Chocolate cupcakes add a little vanilla and some melted, unsweetened, baking chocolate. For comparison, Hard Do Bread, a popular artisan bread sold in West Indian stores, has all purpose flour, white sugar, water, salt, vegetable oil and margarine, and yeast. Pasta has all purpose flour, baking powder, a teaspoon of salt, some butter or shortening, and eggs.
Cupcakes also have a long and momentous history. In 18th Century France, for example, Marie Antoinette was permanently enjoined from bringing them to school for having the audacity to tell the school administrators, “Let them eat cupcakes.”
Another Internet search turned up list after list of the significant benefits of cupcakes. Cupcakes apparently cure AIDS, arthritis, and autism. They alleviate eczema and emphysema. Certain special recipes ameliorate hair loss and headaches. They mend Parkinson’s disease by flushing toxic metals from the body. All cupcakes palliate stuttering. They sweat out viral and yeast infections. And, perhaps most important, they rectify low SAT scores.
My handy Roget’s Thesaurus shows us that cupcake also stands in for any number of terms of endearment for the fairer sex: angel, babe, bathing beauty, beauty queen, broad, bunny, centerfold, chick, cover girl, cutie, cutie-pie, doll, dollface, dream girl, dreamboat, fox, glamor girl, good-looking woman, honey, hot dish, hot number, peach, pin-up, raving beauty, sex bunny, sex kitten, sex pot, and even tomato.
Perhaps they have been banned out of political correctness after all.
Whatever the benefit, whatever the reason, you still can’t bake cupcakes to send to school with your kids for their birthdays anymore.
For the record, I could have expanded this to 1,000 words or trimmed it to 100. Moderation in all things is important, so it is just 400.