This story from the state of Virginia is so downright ridiculous that all I can do is shake my head in confusion and befuddlement.
The George Mason Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia outlawed cupcakes in school to comply with federal guidelines for “wellness policies.” They announced their decision at a PTA meeting. With me so far? Sounds like a good idea, right?
Well, apparently this move to watch the health and waistlines of Virginia students was downright offensive to some parents, reports the Washington Post’s Brigid Schulte, in a tantalizing article dubbed, “Once Just a Sweet Birthday Treat, the Cupcake Becomes a Cause.”
“A lot of people are really angry,” said Karen Epperson, a George Mason parent told the Post. “They think this is really stupid.”
Excuse me? Did I hear this right?
No, what’s really stupid is squandering energy to battle with your kids’ school for the right to ply your unsuspecting young ones with sugary foods. Let’s face it, many other pressing issues should be on parents’ minds instead. But cupcakes?
I’m astounded! Jumping to the defense of sugary cupcakes is more important than doing something in response to the alarming rise of childhood obesity and diabetes? (Not to mention dozens of other health woes that could result from excessive sugar consumption, as I spotlight in my book SUGAR SHOCK!, which hits bookstores in another 15 days and which you can pre-order on Amazon).
What’s quite interesting is that the kids are doing just fine without cupcakes. It’s the parents who are having cupcake withdrawal symptoms.
The Post notes, “it’s not the kids who are upset. Kids are not the ones who are so devoted to cupcakes.”
Virginia’s not the only state with misguided, cupcake-fanatic parents. The pro-cupcake lobby (I’m serious!) in Texas was so powerful that the legislature there passed a “Safe Cupcake Amendment” to protect parents’ rights to bring the sugary goods to school, according to the Post. (You’ve got to be kidding!)
What gives, parents? Why put this sugary, four-ounce, nutrition-lacking food on a pedestal?
The Post also wonders why there’s so much heavy-duty emotional hoopla over “a 19th-century accident of history that was created when a baker poured leftover cake batter into cups.”
Oh please, is this really how Americans feel, as The Post speculated? “A cupcake, it would seem, is classic Americana, up there with hot dogs and apple pie. It’s a comfort food, as common as meatloaf and as friendly as mashed potatoes.”
The Post’s reporter Schulte even goes so far as to interview an anthropologist about the subject! (She’s clearly a journalist who covers all angles of a story.)
“The cupcake-as-symbol-of-childhood is powerful,” she writes. “It’s wrapped in the cultural definition of what it means to be a good mother, something that’s a moving target in this society, said Kathryn Oths, an anthropologist at the University of Alabama who studies food and culture.”
Oh goodness, you can’t be serious. Wait, there’s more. The Post even tells us that as “they’re being booted from classrooms, cupcakes have become the latest hipster chic food. Entire blogs are dedicated to cupcake culture. Expensive Johnny Cupcakes ‘Make Cupcakes Not War’ T-shirts are in demand. Cupcakes were raved about on ‘Sex in the City’ and rapped about on ‘Saturday Night Live.'”
I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but it sure sounds like these parents — and lots of adults nationwide — have huge sugar issues! Love and cupcakes are NOT intertwined.
Cupcakes are comforting? Well, try this on for size: Just how comforting will they be when your kids’ become plump and get other illnesses just because you can’t get over your cupcake obsession and you pass it onto them? Do you really want your innocent children to become cupcake idolizers?!
Lest you think I sound like the Cupcake Scrooge, I used to be one of these greatly misguided sugar lovers, but back in 1998, when I was besieged by 44 ailments, I abandoned — on doctor’s orders — any devotion to cakes, candies, cookies, and cupcakes. So I now know better than to idolize these things!
Look, I’m losing patience about this cupcake nonsense. It’s urgent for parents to get their priorities straight! Is it cupcakes or the well-being of their kids?
So please forgive my statement, but grow up, parents! Sugary cupcakes aren’t your ally; they could become your enemy, especially when it comes to the health of your kids.
Connie, with help from Jennifer Moore of the SUGAR SHOCK! Blog Squad