The Birthday Cupcake Saga... and why I hate being a modern mama

Here are Marti Pearl's cupcakes. 24 strawberry-on-strawberry with rainbow sprinkles, a job my very precious nearly 3 year old took quite seriously, sprinkling 3-4 at a time, which left her adorable little hands color-speckled and sticky. She loves to bake, so much so that she asks to make cookies or cupcakes every. single. night. And she's great at it! For a child her age, she has an amazing understanding of what it takes to make the food we eat, and I'm so proud of that.

This morning we marched in proudly carrying the cupcakes, and all she could say over and over again was "I made cupcakes!" When her teachers saw us, they immediately frowned. No homemade cupcakes allowed, only store bought.


I mean, I get it... I really do, no one wants to get sued. There are bad people in this world that do terrible things, we're all hyper-sensitive and no one wants to do the wrong thing here... but its a goddamned cupcake.

What happened to the days of bake sales and potlucks? Its not like they were that long ago, I remember the days before Pepsi-sponsored elementary schools when bake sales were how we made money. My mom and I would make my grandfather's "hurry up" peanut butter cake, then sit out in lawn chairs overlooking tables and tables of delicious treats. This is one of those "pinnacle of childhood" kind of moments: the first moment I lusted. And don't you dare knock it, lust has gotten me far in life.

I'm Methodist- I've got potluck casserole in my veins. My grandfather always has the same response when I ask him "Grandaddy, what's so different about Methodists and Baptists?" "Methodists have better potlucks". Do we still potluck like we used to? Are we all really that worried about how clean our friends & neighbors kitchens are? Worried that someone would rat poison the broccoli cheese casserole? Have we just gone that nuts?

I, for one, am not impressed. And I have a feeling that when 2:30 rolls around and my daughter sees those damn chocolate frosted cupcakes I hurriedly dropped $30 on at the bakery this morning, she's going to be very disappointed. Are we so worried about liability that we've stopped appreciating the little things that made us who we were? What does that mean for our children? What about the kids who have never had the pleasure of eating a homemade cupcake? What about the parents who don't have the cash to spend on birthday treats for a school that demands uniformity?

Why can't we all just eat some fucking cupcakes and be happy?


March 12, 2010 at 8:48 AM idyll hands said...

If my time in this world ends due to being poisoned while eating a delicious broccoli cheese casserole or a strawberry cupcake, so be it. Worse things have happened.

I just went to a putluck a couple of weekends ago that the group that makes up the Fayetteville Farmer's Market put on - you know, it really made me miss the fact that there aren't enough potlucks in the world. Preach on.

March 12, 2010 at 8:57 AM Brian said...

I agree... although I think you hit the nail on the head when you said we've become so wrapped up in worry about liability that we forget to appreciate the little things. This is what "politically correct" and all of the other garbage that the "sensitive" people in this world will do to you... make you paranoid.

March 12, 2010 at 9:03 AM Laurie Marshall said...

I, for one, would rather my child eat a cupcake made by a fellow mommy than packaged snacks that include words I can't pronounce. If you haven't read it - "Food Rules" is a pretty cool little book.

We should start a Potlucks fan page... then have local potluck parties.

March 12, 2010 at 9:11 AM Erin said...

This is just heartbreaking. I feel so sorry for your daughter, I know she'll be disappointed that she doesn't get to share her hard work with her classmates. It really makes you wonder if the people who pronounce the rule from on high ever stopped to think about the feelings of a child.

March 12, 2010 at 9:51 AM jnthn said...

i love this post. the system is truly depriving our kids from what we cherished as beautiful memories. this rule lets all those slack-ass, suv-driving, cable watching, phone-stuck-to-ear mommas have another convenient excuse to not spend time with their children.

jus keep on bakin' momma! she'll remember the time with you and the messes you let her get away with. raine still tells me stories i thought shed never remember happening from when she was 3. these kids notice what you do. and youre doing just fine!!

-amber perrodin
(sorry, i dont have a google account...had to post under his name!)

March 13, 2010 at 3:17 PM April Brown said...

I think it's an Arkansas state law. I don't really know the origin of the law but I think it's pretty ridiculous.
I think it happened the year before we moved. We got a letter when school started stating that anything we brought for school parties or events had to be store bought or restaurant made. It was so upsetting.
Grocery store cupcakes SUCK.

I also think that that year they stopped letting them share food off of their lunch trays or lunches.
I think that was directly tied to allergies but it definitely leads to a lot of wasted food.

March 14, 2010 at 5:28 PM Michal Dagan Levison said...

Seriously, and people wonder why kids are allergic to EVERYTHING now a days?!? It's because they are forced to eat store bought cupcakes!

Keep making cupcakes. We will too. Let's change the world, one homemade confection at a time!

Michal Levison, proud home baker!

March 15, 2010 at 9:03 AM Abbie Nelson said...

Pshh...why even have a bake sale? Just get the parents to donate the cost of the stupid store bought cup cakes.