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Cupcake Wars
April 6th, 2011

I’m keeping it light today, folks.  My job has been a bear lately.  GAP’s job has really been a bear lately.  And sometimes (like now) my brain just loses its capacity to do anything worthwhile.  Please, indulge me or forgive me as you find appropriate.

Tis the season of friendly competition.  March Madness just wrapped up and we’ve all spent the past few weeks ribbing each other about unforeseen upsets (“bracket busters” in pool parlance) and whose team was going all the way.  Admittedly, I had less fun with March Madness this year because I picked Pitt to win it all and, well, that didn’t quite turn out.  But I can take heart, not only because my whole pool’s brackets were crappy this year, but because there is a new competition on the horizon: Cupcake Wars!

A bit of background for you…

GAP’s family is competitive.  They are a family of eight.  Six kids, two parents, and split evenly between boys and girls.  Whether it be a friendly game of Bridge or a full season of fantasy football, the competitive streak never fails to come out.  If you didn’t grow up in this kind of family (I didn’t…) it takes a bit of getting used to.  But I have grown to really love it.  There are some competitions where I am a strong contender (Trivial Pursuit), and some where I am not (anything relating to football).  However, since this family is an equal opportunity score keeper, everyone has their moment to shine.

I’ve been a part of GAP’s family for nearly 12 years now and in that time we’ve all grown very close.  Much of that closeness came from shared beach vacations, shared childbirth experiences, shared holidays, and, lately, shared e-mail threads of our favorite Charlie Sheen quotes.  But some of it came from our little competitions.  We boast about our skills and gravitas.  We taunt and trash talk.  And, with the exception of a couple of white elephant style trophies, we only play for bragging rights.  At some point in time we’ve all been victorious and we’ve all been humbled.  There’s something very equalizing about it.

We will be gathering the whole group together over Memorial Day weekend to have portraits taken of the whole gang – all 19 of us.  It will be fun and relaxing and with any luck at all the little kids will cooperate with the photographer.  My mother-in-law couldn’t leave well enough alone, though.  She has instituted our family’s first ever Cupcake Wars, complete with rules and regulations:  There will be two divisions – sweet and savory.  One entry per person.  Submissions will be anonymous.  Last minute finishing touches will be allowed.  Scoring will be based on appearance (25%), creativity (25%), and taste (50%).  It’s going to be intense!

Even though general exhaustion around here has prevented me from relentless recipe testing these past few weeks, I’m really looking forward to it.  Because no matter what kind of showing I make, I am assured of a few things.  1) We will all have stomach aches by the end of it.  2) We will all laugh a lot.  3) The whole thing will be memorable.

I guess what I’m driving at here (at the risk of getting a little saccharine) is that “friendly competition” doesn’t tell the whole story.  More than being a fun diversion, over time, it builds memories and forges bonds.  At some level, at the end of the day, we all win.  So, I may not turn out my best work (my sweet tooth has been on hiatus lately), but I’ll have my game face on nonetheless.

7 Responses to “Cupcake Wars”

  1. Anna Says:

    I love the line, “this family is an equal opportunity score keeper”. How fabulous.
    I can totally relate to your experience. Tommy’s family is very similar, in that they have competitive natures, so it was an adjustment at first, but lots of fun now.

  2. Lindsey Says:

    I can think of only one comment to post . . . YOU’RE GOING DOWN!!!!

  3. Eva Evolving Says:

    Oh my. I’m glad I don’t come from a competitive family like that – my perfectionist streak could go into over drive. But it sounds like you’ve managed to hold your own, and hopefully it’s all in good fun for everyone.

    I’d like to volunteer to be a guest judge in the Cupcake Wars!

  4. Gale Says:

    In response to Lindsey’s comment… See what I mean, people??? Truly intense!

    Eva – I know what you mean about the perfectionist streak. You just have to reserve your real competitive juices for the contests that are in your wheelhouse. I know I’m never going to be any good at football stuff, and I’m okay with that. I’m fired up for Cupcake Wars, though!

  5. Cathy Says:

    Sounds fantastic! Make sure your cake recipe has sour cream in it – secret ingredient to ensure moistness!

    As for March Madness, I must confess that my team went all the way – and it was really my team as I am a Husky!

  6. e Says:

    Thanks for the hint Cathy. Almost everyone in this crazy family checks Gale’s blog……..so……..a wise person might want to invest in sour cream as a LOT will be purchased over the next few months. Any other secret ingredients????

  7. Ten Dollar Thoughts » Blog Archive » Wherein I Accept My Own Limitations Says:

    [...] couple of months ago I told you about my upcoming cupcake battle with GAP’s family.  When I wrote that post I was eager for Cupcake Wars.  My competitive spirit had been stirred.  [...]