[“Let Inga Tell You,” La Jolla Light, published June 7, 2021] ©2021
Over the twelve years I’ve been writing this column, chocolate has been a frequent topic, most recently as a health food, which, by the way, it has finally been determined to be. I was definitely born too soon.
Of course, I recognized the health properties of chocolate long before science figured it out. Some years ago, I discovered that, unknown to any but the most dedicated wrapper-reading chocoholics, one can supply ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of one’s daily calcium, riboflavin, protein AND fiber requirements (never mind a whopping 50% of your daily iron) with only twenty-five vending machine-size packages of M&Ms – all with no trans-fats and staying WELL within your daily sodium and cholesterol allotments.
Not surprisingly, chocolate lovers tend to gravitate toward each other, partners in cocoa-buttered crime. I have a wonderful neighbor named Jill who is always up for a field trip to what we call the The Cupcake Place. Annoying construction delays and impossible parking have never deterred us. Where there’s a cupcake, there’s a way.
During the pandemic, Jill discovered that with a minimum order of $25, Cupcake Place will deliver. I’m kind of sorry she told me. But Jill’s deliveries usually translate into more cupcakes than even she wants to eat in one sitting, so she often brings two over, allegedly for Olof and me.
She knows, of course, that Olof will never eat his cupcake, partly because he just isn’t a sweets kind of guy. But mostly because I always eat his first, the non-chocolate one, just in case that changes. While my preferred flavor is chocolate, anything with two inches of gooey frosting has my vote.
Cupcake Place understands that cupcakes are a vehicle food. Hotdogs, for examples are vehicles for mustard. Cupcakes are vehicles for frosting. The cake part (or the hotdog) are mere delivery mechanisms. Alas, most cupcakes are all-too-frequently mostly cake and not much frosting, missing the point entirely.
When Jill made her most recent drug drop, er, delivery, I wasn’t home so she handed them off to Olof. This included two regular-size cupcakes (chocolate and red velvet) plus a cute little sample one with white icing. The next day, I texted Jill with my thanks.
“Great cupcakes! You are the best friend ever!”
She replied, “So Lily liked hers too?”
Jill: “Yes, the little one was a dog cupcake.”
Inga: “Ha ha!” What a kidder, that Jill.
Jill: “Seriously. I told Olof.”
Inga: “Oy. I thought it was just a sample. But it was great!”
Or was it? I tried to think back: Did it have an under taste of kibble? And was that why the dog was glaring at me the whole time I was eating it? Should the little orange dog bone on the top been a clue? Hey, the orange thing could have been a bow tie. And who was paying attention anyway? It was a cupcake!
Sorry, Lily. Next time.
Cupcake Place describes their canine confections on their website as “a sugar-free cupcake with yogurt ‘frosting’.” Hmmm, why the quotes? And no further ingredient list. This made me the teeniest bit concerned.
After all, I recently wrote a column about why some dogs (that would be ours) like to roll in their own poop. Research indicated that dogs are primally attracted to odors that humans find repugnant. There is also the evolutionary theory that smelling bad would help protect them from predators even though dogs have been domesticated for, like, 40,000 years.
One of the wonderful things about writing this column is the things I’ve learned from readers. And right after that column, a reader sent me an article about the difficulties pet food makers have in making pet foods that smell disgusting enough to appeal to dogs but not so bad that it will repel their owners. Among the “palatants” added to dog food can be such colorless flavorings as “putrescine” and “cadaverine.” Yum-mo.
Let me say right here that I am not suggesting in any way that Cupcake Place adds either of these to their doggie treats. But you do have to wonder what they did put in it to make it attractive to dogs. And given that I ate it, I am at least mildly curious. Thus far, no one has accused me of having doggie breath.
But another advantage of writing this column is that people don’t only send me links to interesting articles. For the first time ever in the 12 years I’ve been writing, someone replied to my recent column on chocolate as a health food by sending me actual chocolate. And no, not M&Ms! It’s called Volo and let me tell you, this stuff really is insanely good. And yes, healthy! One of the types even has chunks of candied orange peel which in Inga Land technically makes it a fruit, and no one can argue that Vitamin C isn’t good for you.
But from now on, I’m going to let Lily have the cupcakes with the little orange bones on them.