Not the New Cupcake: Macarons

Dear Media,

As we prepare to consign 2011 to short-term memory, here’s a heartfelt plea: Could we please celebrate the beginning of the New Year with a moratorium on articles asking if macarons are the next cupcake?

You’ve been asking this question since 2009, when you theorized that macarons were just “one SNL reference away from international cult status.” And two years later, you’re still asking: Earlier this week, after asserting that “food experts, trend analysts and next-it-thing-seeking foodies have been anxiously anticipating what will be the heir apparent” to the cupcake, Fox News dared to suggest that why, yes! Macarons could indeed be that very heir apparent!

As evidence, Fox duly quoted a couple of your members and noted that, like cupcakes, macarons are small, sweet, and often pastel. Also, earlier this year Target (and Costco and Trader Joe’s) began selling them, or at least some semblance of them, a development that Fox deemed “yet another sure sign of the apotheosis of the macaron.”

OK, yes, fine, we can agree that they have infiltrated both numerous big-box stores and G.I. tracts. And yes, like cupcakes, macarons are basically the miniature Yorkies of the dessert world, cute wee things that certain ladies like to transport in padded Vuitton bags. Unlike cupcakes, however, macarons are difficult to make, let alone make well, and have that Gallic accent that so predictably arouses suspicion in a fair number of Americans. So hey, who knows. It could go either way.

But could you please stop asking? After all, as one industry analyst pointed out, whether or not cupcakes themselves are a trend depends on who you’re asking, and where, and when. Which means that, like freedom and porn, macarons are all things to all people, or nothing at all.

New years mean new beginnings, and most importantly, new trends to invent for the sake of page views. Just look at the James Beard Foundation: It’s already anointed the canele—another diminutive French pastry that’s difficult to make well —as the “new new cupcake,” based almost solely upon the fact a very good one is being sold at a new patisserie in Manhattan. So perhaps you’ve already moved on after all, Media. Or, more likely, you’re right back where you started.

Sincerely,

The Neglected Baked Goods of America

Image source: Flickr member kubotake under Creative Commons