Let them Eat Cupcakes
If you think those are Americans lining up to scarf down cupcakes, you’re very much mistaken.
They’re Arabs. And they’re not in America.
The cupcakes have been baked by Fadi Jaber at his successful bakery in Amman, Jordan called Sugar Daddy’s. Jaber visted the New York City, got one taste of the vanilla cupcakes at the Magnolia Bakery, quit his job at Unilever, went to culinary school to learn how to bake them, and the rest is history.
Writing about Fadi, the New York Times reports: “Cupcake shops have become as ubiquitous as hot dog stands in some American cities, and have spread to Rome; Istanbul; Berlin; Seoul, South Korea; and Sydney, Australia.”
If you’re a Russophile, we’d like to hear you tell us a similar story about a foreigner who visited Russia, was overwhelmed with the deliciousness of a Russian food item, and rearranged his life as the result of his inspiration to build a successful business in his home country selling that food item. We’d be particuarly interested if they came from a part of the world that is famous for despising Russians.
Actually though, we’d be happy just hearing about Russia’s version of the cupcake, discovered or not — because as far as we know, there isn’t one. As far as we know, if you walk into a Russian bakery you’ll be confronted with an array of unappetizing slop that makes it seem Russians aren’t really too interested in sweet things. That is, if you can find a bakery. You’ll find in fact a far wider selection of vodkas in your local kiosk, which will also have vastly superior packaged foreign pastries on offer. And you can say the same for virtually any other food item that could fairly be considered “Russian.”
Indeed, it’s virtually impossible to find anyone who upon returning from a trip to Russia recalls vividly some exciting experience with food, much less a passionate or inspirational one. That’s the difference between America and Russia: America inspires people, even in countries thought of as being its enemies. Russia doesn’t. Russia just makes more enemies.
And the reason for that is really quite simple. Russia’s don’t have a clue, and they don’t care to get one. They’re full of hatred and jealousy for other people who do, and who are therefore far more successul and happy. They’ve allowed their cuisine to wallow in failure and deterioration for decade upon decade, while they themselves wallow in denial and rationalization. Meanwhile, America reforms, innovates and improves. And its leaves Russia in its dust, with an average wage and per capita GDP ten times greater than Russia has.
Some years ago I seem to remember eating some pastries that I believe were the best I ever had. Russian pastries if my memory serves me correctly here. Small, bite sized with some powdered sugar on them and greyish colored I think. They were simply fabulous and wish I knew the name because if I did I could defend Russian cuisine in this thread to be sure. If someone knows something about the pastry situation in Russia and a really good website on it please tell us all! You can imagine my surprise when I encountered this editorial post’s poor mention of Russian pastries! Unless my memory ill serves me here something is wrong.
I bought some chocolate candies from a euro store and most of the chocolate candies came from that region of the country Russia, Scandinavia maybe, I thought the candies were good
Uh-oh, has Scandanavia become Russia? Somebody better let the Swedes know they need to learn a new language! :)
I hate to break it to you Corey but the delectable ‘grey pastries’ you consumed were actually 3 month old frozen pierogi covered with fungus. Perhaps you’d over indulged in the more traditional Russian cuisine, being vodka.
Hey, Corey, in comment after comment you pop up chirping some lame anecdotal or factually false reality of Russia.
I have no doubt that Russians have the ability to make food ranging from awful to exceptional like most of the world, so what’s your point?
LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:
Our point is that we instructed you to apologize for your outrageous lies about the Runet.
Our point is that you didn’t.
Our point is that you are banned. Have a nice day.
My main point was simply that I was looking for some one to tell me and all something about Russian pastries which I would love to eat again! Phobophobe has already jogged my memory with his report on almond pastries, which could very well be a candidate for Russia’s version of the cupcake. La Russophobe said she would love to hear about a Russian version of the cupcake and Phobophobe and I haven’t done too bad in helping her out here. LR asked, Penny! Some threads lend themselves to anecdotal commentary, in particular ones about food. As far as I am aware my comments on here have been factually correct and my anecdotal commentary has direct relevance to the subject in the thread.
Oh wow. Funny thing that I used to taste freshly baked bread as a child at the end of Soviet era, and it was great; my parents claimed in the 50ies-60ies all bread was like that; now most of the bread you buy in Russia is the same kind I always buy in Canada – made of plastic.
It is one the very few things that were good about Soviet union – things like bread, chocolate, space flights, chess whatever were made greatly even though it made little business sense to do so.
In Moscow there was a bakery close to my house in early 2000ies (store had a bakery inside), first they made good bread but then I guess they realized business is not going anywhere and they started making the semi-plastic one.
As for sweets; Antonio Garcia probably means what we call “sweets” in Russia (konfety; things like M&Ms or Snickers or whatever are usually not called that). Russia has great bite-sized sweets of all kinds, chocolate and non-chocolate. Every Russian store sells them, usually imported from Russia and usually good, I don’t buy them because no matter how much I buy I eat them all in one day :)
Same goes for local brownies here, though…
What Corey may mean is “Koshalva” (I am not aware of English word), although it’s not usually bite-sized.
It’s sort of like halva but usually greyish white (or yellow/etc with some added flavors, but I dislike those), less grainy, much softer, with taste also softer and sweet.
It spoils quickly so nobody delivers it from Russia, and recipe is very complicated so even though I love it I gave up on making it at home. Local Russian store owners tell me that they hear some Russian store somewhere in Seattle makes it but they cannot tell where :(
When I think of Russian cuisine I can see two Russian cops, one obese, the other emaciated, squatting in the street eating sunflower seeds and spitting the shells through their permanently pursed lips straight on to the footpath (smoking at the same time of course).
There are some who might regard your thread as bordering on racism. (Equating slav physionomy with black) Mean spirited ugly sentiments do not help the cause here. They only feed into some Russians claim (Mr Putin?) that they are the victims of Western racialism. Let’s exercise care here so there is no misunderstanding!
Come on, Corey, your “victims of Western racialism” is lame and going nowhere. It’s a cheap diversion tactic.
Russians have made rotten choices in government consistently. Pootie is their abuser by choice. How dumb is that? It’s hubris and ignorance on their part. They are the same race as I am so where is the racism? Duh?
Of course there are foods in Russia that are poor to excellent just as with everywhere else in the world if you know what to order.
Dictatorships require mass support and Russians have delivered on that. That’s the hard cold facts. Russians aren’t typical of their Western counterparts, that’s their unique legacy.
Criticizing someone politely for posting racialist comments on LR is not a cheap diversion tactic; it is an accurate and justified criticism. If anything not accurate enough by way of politeness. It is also a bannable offence if I remember correctly. If you don’t like that ruling tell LR herself! By the way , Penny, LR makes a wonderful point when she criticizes moderates who she feels are enabling the present regime by behaving like Caspar Milquetoast but the last time I checked this site was” La Russophobe” and not “Why we hate Russians.” If you and Wal turn it into the latter it will be a loss of credibility and believability for this entire blog and its members. You should also be aware that one notable blogger (Irishman , Ger) has accused you of actually being La Russophobe herself. I am sure you are not because La Russophobe is far too intelligent to have written your drivel.
Let us let the hatemongers stew in their own juices for a few hours, and get to substance. If you are still interested in discussing Russian sweets and other foods and get recipes for the Russian almond pastries, please go to the blog page that I have created and post your comments and questions:
Thanks so much, I will do exactly that!
Don’t worry Corey, I’m not a racist.
I am however absolutely mean spirited and rather un-handsome if you must know.
See above , Wal.
Frankly, I’m quite a fan of pirozhki, oladushki, pampushki and similar Russian pastries. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Russian cuisine in itself, and as for Russian cooks, as someone else has said, they range from awful to sublime, pretty much like everywhere else.
You have an interesting and informative site.
However, I must take issue with the negative comments about Russian food I am seeing here.
I love Russian cuisine, which I have had home-cooked as well as in restaurants. I have had no problem finding it, nicely prepared and in generous portions, in the parts of Russia I have visited (admittedly primarily in urban areas). These are not, in general, fancy restaurants but neighborhood stores and cafes.
In the stores I find a good selection of meat, produce, and tasty snacks, many of which are unique to Russia. Slivochnoe polyena, anyone?
I also feel I must put in a good word for the chain of Teremok fast-food restaurants. These are purely fast-food establishments, but serving 100% traditional Russian foods, prepared fresh and hot, in a clean and friendly environment. And not a hamburger in sight.
I do not say Russia is not without problems, but I think the absence of good traditional Russian food is not one of them.
In Germany, a Taste of New York, via McDonald’s
These taste interpretations of four famous Manhattan neighborhoods come courtesy of German McDonald’s, which introduced cupcakes at many of its restaurants here on March 30. Although they are a staple of bake sales and birthday parties across America, cupcakes were all but unknown in Germany until recently.
To sell the unfamiliar treats to German consumers, McDonald’s chose to push its connection to New York, home to high-end cupcake shops like Magnolia Bakery, which even some Germans know from dubbed reruns of “Sex and the City.”
“All of New York is crazy about the cult cupcakes and McCafe brings the hip little cakes to you,” read the paper placemats at McCafe, the coffee shops found inside some McDonald’s restaurants. “The new cupcakes are all the rage for simply every occasion,” it says about the “trendy nibbles.”
Mr. Forster, who stipulated that he had never “knowingly” consumed a cupcake but had seen them on television, bit into a chocolate Chelsea and gave a slight nod. “Not bad,” he said. Ultimately Mr. Forster judged the cupcake “a little artificial,” and said he would stick to the traditional Bavarian walnut pastries called Nussbeugerl.
The owners of Cupcake Berlin, a shop in Berlin’s Friedrichshain neighborhood, itself a little like the East Village a few years ago, down to the tobacco shops and young tourists, just celebrated their third anniversary in business and know well the perils of selling cupcakes to Germans, who at best call them muffins and in rarer instances are not even sure what to do with them.
“Someone came in once and asked if they were candles and whether you could eat them,” said Daniel Bader, 33, who opened the store with his American companion.