I’ll cut right to the chase. Over the weekend, three questions popped into my head that I need to offload, not because I need answers, no. I just feel that if I share them rhetorically, I’ll have the satisfaction of unloading them on you, so I don’t have to take on this burden alone.
Question 1: Why does carrot cake need an introduction?
More often than not, when my path has crossed that of a carrot cake or carrot cupcakes, they are decoratively iced with the image of a carrot. It’s logical, I guess, but is it necessary? On Saturday, I saw both a carrot cake and a batch of carrot cupcakes in the bakery section of the grocery store, and they all had carrots “burnished” into the icing.
I mean, when you order a hamburger, is there an image of a hamburger (or a steer) branded into the top of the bun? Or when make an apple pie, do you apply an apple “applique” onto the top crust? That’s what has me scratching my head about these carrot-based desserts and confections. (Full disclosure, I just wanted to seize the opportunity to write “apply an apple applique.”)
It’s like the person or group who created the dish is warning us: “Don’t be fooled into thinking this is something you’ll like. IT’S CARROT CAKE!!!! SAVE YOURSELVES BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!”
For the record, I have nothing against carrot cake or its siblings, carrot muffins. If they’re offered and there’s nothing else available, I’ll play along. However, I don’t recall ever seeking it out like I might chocolate chip cookies, walnut fudge or banana cream pie.
Truth is, I see carrot cake more as a “food is fuel” type of thing vs. a “treat.” I guess that’s why it’s always so gratuitously topped with cream cheese frosting; the icing is hiding the cake’s true identity, general mediocrity and “animal feed” texture. (If you’re a fan of carrot cake or it’s your specialty, my apologies. I mean no offense.)
But that’s not the point. The point – or question – is, “Why do we need to display an image of a carrot on carrot cake?”
Question 2: Why does Bono look so cool while I look so goofy?
I wear glasses that transition from clear lenses indoors to sunglasses outside. I like them because they don’t force me to switch back and forth on days when I’ve got a lot of indoor/outdoor action on my schedule.
What I don’t like is that they take some time to transition from dark to clear, which often means my lenses remain dark (or partially so), for up to 10 minutes after I come inside. That makes me look goofy (or, in my case, goofier).
But why? Why do I (or anyone for that matter, except Bono, Snoop Dog and to a certain degree, Jack Nicholson) look perfectly fine wearing dark lenses outdoors and look so odd (or in my case, stupid) when I have dark lenses indoors?
I guess context is a powerful thing.
Question 3: Is chocolate truly “eye-closingly” delicious?
I’ve seen, as I’m sure you have, the TV commercials advertising high-end chocolates. Every time, we see slo-mo footage of this “luxuriously” chocolate being poured over some base of nuts, nougat or caramel, followed by a kid or adult grabbing the finished product, removing the gold or brightly colored foil wrapping and taking a bite.
Without fail, this action is accompanied by the recipient of said chocolate smiling some inauthentic smirk, followed by them closing their eyes as though they’ve just undergone some form of hypnosis or chocolate sedation. What would be more accurate is if these people were jamming the chocolate into their faces as quickly as possible before anyone knew they were eating it. (Tell me I’m wrong.)
In my life, and with God as my witness, I don’t think I’ve ever closed my eyes in euphoria while eating. And I’ll submit that it almost never happens in real life, except for sharks, who do it to protect their eyes from the thrashing of their prey as they devour it.
Going one step further, I’ll say this (at the risk of offending another food “group,” chocolate lovers): Is high-end chocolate really that good, that much better --- “eye-closingly” better – than a Kit Kat, Snickers or Krunch bar? I submit to you that it isn’t, simply for the fact that I get that much more chocolate per “unit” with one of those everyday candy bars, and thus my overall satisfaction (speaking for myself only; you’re free to disagree) is much higher than if I were to simply pop one of these foil-wrapped “executive” chocolates in my mush.
You, no doubt, have opinions on these topics and likely questions of you own. So, with that, I’ll leave you to ponder these and all the other things that rumble through your brain today.
© 2022 David R. Haznaw