The Cupcake Needs to Stage a Coup | Teeny Manolo

The Cupcake Needs to Stage a Coup

By Glinda

Watch Out! It’s Bad!

Do you like cupcakes? I like cupcakes. In fact, I don’t know anybody that doesn’t. Especially kids. Even if they won’t eat the cake part, the icing is always a goner.

Via Serious Eats we learn that school districts across this great land of ours are having our kids “Just Say No.”

Glinda, you ask, what are they saying “no” to? Drugs? Alcohol? My friends, the answer is that they are learning the dangers of a food that is the root of all evil, the cupcake. Sure it looks all sweet and innocent, but lurking beneath that yummy exterior is a lifetime of obesity! Cupcakes are a gateway food, didn’t you know?

It seems that with all the warranted concern over childhood obesity and rising Type II diabetes in children, schools are now looking to ban sweet treats in school. Even for special occasions such as a birthday.

I can see it now, “Boys and girls, it’s Natasha’s birthday, so her mom brought us all brussels sprouts and cabbage!” Can you hear the shouts of joy? I thought not.

I understand that with larger class sizes now being the norm (hey, why not a ban on that?) bringing treats to class for a birthday can result in what seems like many days of sugar-and-butter-fueled parties.

And yet again, we as a nation try to blame the majority of our societal ills on our school system.

I’m here to tell you that a child just does not gain significant amounts of weight from eating birthday cupcakes. Too many video games? Check. Not enough physical activity? Check. A lack of healthy foods consumed at home? Check-o-rama.  A grocery store filled to the brim with foods that have high fructose corn syrup? What do you think?

Now to be honest, I don’t always agree with the good folks in Texas, but they were actually able to pass a “Safe Cupcake Amendment” in the state’s nutritional school guidelines to retain the cupcake’s place in our national birthday psyches. Don’t mess with Texas, and hands off their cupcakes!

Why, why do we keep trying to take things away from our children instead of teaching them proper nutrition and most of all, moderation?  There has got to be a better way to do it, rather than an all-out ban.

But I’m guessing that what the cupcake really needs is a good publicist. It needs to focus on “charity” and being photographed holding a Bible. Hey, it worked for Paris Hilton, didn’t it?

25 Responses to “The Cupcake Needs to Stage a Coup”

  1. Ginger Says:

    When we had open house at the new school this year we were told that cupcakes were once again allowed. I didn’t know what they were talking about so I guess I do now. I’m not a big fan of cupcakes myself, but do not really see how the cupcake is responsible for juvenille diabetes and childhood obesity. Seems like when I was growing up we ate cupcakes and cookies and even cake.

  2. anne Says:

    On a related note, didn’t Sesame Street rewrite the Cookie Monster’s song to “Cookies are a Sometimes Thing”? Blasphemy.

    Full disclosure: I think most school snacks should be of the carrot stick variety, but banning cupcakes makes no sense. Revising the food pyramid so it supports nutrition rather than the beef and dairy industries makes more sense to me.

  3. Never teh Bride Says:

    My mom brought cupcakes to school for my birthday just once, and that day remains one of my fondest memories. Obesity? Come on — a half cup of cake topped with a dollop of icing isn’t the highway to hell.

  4. Glinda Says:

    Ginger- It’s a throw out the baby with the bathwater type of reaction, which bugs me. I ate a ton of things as a kid, and wasn’t the slightest bit overweight.

    Anne- I think Sesame Street took a whole lotta flack for that, I’m not sure if they changed it back or not.

    Never teh Bride- Exactly.

  5. Lisa Says:

    Glinda, I hate to disagree with you because your general moderation approach is a good one, but as a teacher I have to say that when kids eat sugar during school they get hyper, and then it’s hard to teach them. Is a birthday cupcake party any worse than the oreos that some kids bring in their lunch boxes every day? Or the ice cream/cookies/candy bars that are sold in so many school cafeterias? No, but it sure doesn’t help. In a perfect world, kids would not have regular sugar at school, and then the occasional cupcake would be fine. We don’t live in this perfect world, though, and thus maybe nixing the cupcakes is as good as any place to start?

    Or maybe I’m really influenced by the fact that my mother was a terrible baker when I was a kid, and when it was my birthday, I brought these horrible inedible charred little things to school, and they were clearly the worst cupcakes that anyone ever brought. The shame! It still burns!

  6. Nance Says:

    Sugar causing hyperactivity has been *disproven by research. The IDEA of having sugar/party food is the culprit. I teach high school kids and their reaction to any disruption of the normal school day is similar: they act like toddlers and it’s hard to teach them. It doesn’t have to be a cupcake; it can be a fire drill.

    Juvenile obesity is the cause celebre right now, so cupcakes are the villain du jour. We can’t legislate parenting, i.e. limit the number of mommies and daddies who use the television and computer as a childcare device or as kiddie sedatives, so we are going to ban cupcakes as the origin of fat kids. Pretty soon it’ll all go away when something else comes down the pike

    *read this article about the sugar-hyperactivity myth

  7. Glinda Says:

    Lisa- You see, I want to live in that perfect world, and I am annoyed that I am not.

  8. Glinda Says:

    Nance- Come back my friend, your link didn’t work! I want to read it!

  9. Jennifer in GA Says:

    Heh heh. So timely. Tomorrow is my oldest daughter’s ninth birthday. She has requested I bring Chocolate Chip Muffins to her class, which I am more than happy to do.

  10. Liz Says:

    I’ve heard that sugar hyperactivity is a myth as well. I agree with Nance that it’s the disruption in routine that makes the kids hyper. I also hope she comes back because I’d like to read that article too.

  11. Nance Says:

    Well, crap. I just cut and pasted the URL, so this time I’ll try all that html junk with the fancy href code:

    click here for the article I mentioned above

    Hope that worked!

  12. Twistie Says:

    //I can see it now, “Boys and girls, it’s Natasha’s birthday, so her mom brought us all brussels sprouts and cabbage!” Can you hear the shouts of joy? I thought not.//

    Actually, I would have cheered and yummed that up…but then I was a very strange kid who hated hot dogs and requested spinich and fish for my birthday every year.

    But cupcakes? Those I still love.

  13. raincoaster Says:

    I don’t like cupcakes. Never have. I’m all about the scones and cookies, myself. But I don’t believe that kids learn that cupcakes are a special occasion food rather than an any-time-you-can-get-some food unless they get cupcakes on special occasions. And deprivation and banning lead to abuse…as anyone with serious food issues could tell you.

  14. Glinda Says:

    Jennifer- Mmmmm, Chocolate Chip Muffins…

    Liz- I agree!

    Nance- Thanks!

    Twistie- At least you liked cupcakes! I’m not sure about the spinach thing, though.

    Rain- Ooops, you know, I transposed my comments for you! Deprivation absolutely leads to wanting something more.

  15. Lisa Says:

    I’m still not ready to give up the connection between junk food and hyperactivity, and neither is this article from the New York Times last week.

    I do like the muffin idea, though.

  16. Cherry Says:

    I suppose the muffins are better then the cupcakes as they lack the tasty frosting, but honestly, they aren’t all that much better for you. Less sugar yes, but not healthy.

    I agree that moderation is the key, but I am glad that teachers have commented on this post because honestly, I never thought of the hyper part of the equation.

  17. michelle Says:

    We were off to the beach last weekend and stopped at Trader Joe’s for some snacky beach food. My four-year old son, I am not kidding, chased me around the store with a head of broccoli saying mommy please please can I have broccoli for dessert? I love broccoli!
    True story! You can’t make this stuff up! I am obviously the best…mom…ever.
    (honey, I said, wouldn’t you rather have these cookies?)

  18. raincoaster Says:

    michelle, you’re not my roommate in disguise, are you? I have to sneak out for burgers like some closet smoker or something.

  19. Jennifer in GA Says:

    As Cherry said, moderation *is* the key. We’re lucky that birthdays only come around once a year! 😉

    My point is that, yes, my daughter chose Chocolate Chip Muffins. But if she had wanted cupcakes or grapes and cheese cubes I would have sent that in, too. So much pressure is put on schools in general – and teachers in particular – to “make up” for what sometimes isn’t being done in the home. That’s why the neighboring school district just spent $300,000 on a “Core Value” curriculm. (Forget for a moment that the school district started the school at the beginning of August with an elementary school lacking air conditioning. I live in south Georgia, and the average temp was 95 degrees, with the heat index around 115. But I digress.)

    So the schools have to teach values like honesty and respect because some students aren’t taught that at home. The schools also have to ban cupcakes because some students aren’t ever taught that fresh fruits and veggies are better for you than chips and cookies.

    The schools go overboard trying to be everything to everybody, when they just need to BACK OFF and remember that there are *MANY* parents in this world who are loving and caring and trying to do the right thing.

  20. Glinda Says:

    Cherry- Yes, we need to learn moderation in all things, not just food.

    Michelle- Can we trade sons?

    Jennifer- The schools are out of control in what they have to teach kids. Most of it should be done and enforced at home, but it isn’t. Because of the few, the majority have to suffer, which is always the way it is.

  21. thu Unfashionista Says:

    My problem with the cupcakes is actually more that they singled out those of us whose mom’s didn’t make cupcakes or cookies or anything – because then the kids were like “wait – its your birthday? but I didn’t get a cupcake” and then they all hate you because your mom doesn’t cook and your dad likes his cookies burned. (Also probably couldn’t make cupcakes to save his life.)
    I think it was that scarring trauma of childhood that led me to, when I was a senior in high school, bake cakes and cupcakes for all of my friends on their birthdays.

  22. Ana Says:

    Awwwww I get it now! (image of light bulb coming on over my head) So when at open house we were told cupcakes/cakes/etc were banned “because they didn’t want parent(s) to bring home-made food” it was a lie. It was all part of this push for a so-called healthier school. Ahaaaaa! It’s funny though, that just about every day the school feds the kids pizza, chicken nuggets, fries, burgers and mac n cheese. Am I missing something?

  23. Glinda Says:

    Unfashionista- I can see the scars are deep. Peace to you, my friend!

    Ana- We all are, I think.

  24. class-factotum Says:

    I’m not a mother, so I might not have the creds to speak on this, but since when did it become necessary to celebrate birthdays at school? (Ducking the plates and rotten tomatoes thrown at me.)

    Seriously. When I was a kid, we didn’t have birthday parties at school. We celebrated at home with the family and a few friends. Birthday parties did not dominate weekends and break the bank. (Yes, my friends with kids whine about chauffeuring their kids all over town every weekend to parties and about the expense of buying gifts. Their choice, I say. Just say no to excessive birthday parties.)

    I have a friend who had to take the treats to school for her daughter’s birthday at the end of April. “But your daughter’s birthday is in June,” I said.

    My friend told me that the school celebrates the summer birthdays during the school year so no one is left out.

    “But it’s not her birthday!” I kept saying.

    Wouldn’t a simpler, more logical solution be that birthdays just don’t get celebrated at school?

  25. Joan Says:

    Here in AZ, you must bring store-bought or professionally prepared food to distribute to the class, unless you have a state-issued food handler’s license. I remember when this changed, about 5 years ago, but I never looked into why. I speculate it’s because some kids got sick when fed something improperly prepared, so the state pitched a fit.

    So now, it’s only store-bought cupcakes for us — or it was, until the school nixed those, too, as part of it’s healthy eating campaign. Well: it’s OK to bring cupcakes as long as you bring something else that’s “healthy”. I usually go with grapes (Nature’s jellybeans! — but they are fruit, so they must be healthy!), and everyone’s happy.

    It’s not the sugar that discombobulates the kid, it’s the crash after all the sugar has been processed and they still have a boatload of insulin circulating in their systems. Very unpleasant. In a classroom setting, anything outside of routine can be disruptive, obviously. Building in transition activities (stand and stretch, the one-minute nap, etc) can help a class stay on track while moving from one task or activity to another.

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