Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reason No. 23652: interfaith baking contest

One of the many reasons I think John Mayer is cool is that he has sustained a direct and 'unmanaged' relationship with his fans despite having exploded onto the mainstream. Despite his rapid success etc. there is something genuine and unpackaged about how he comes across...

Exhibit A: For the past few weeks Mayer has been really into baking. Over the past few weeks, his blog has been taken over by all things baking....the famous obama cake, his families cakes, fan submissions and even more fan submissions (some of which are just stunning in design and concept), his live baking posts etc. That's cool in itself.

Then came the 'interfaith baking contest'. The idea was simple- send in a picture of your holiday baking. JM will then pick his favorite and the winner gets a John Mayer autographed signature series fender stratocaster, which even I with zero knowledge of guitars can tell you is a pretty sweet prize. Contest closes on the 22nd btw

The response has been really cool. JM sites and boards are full of earnest discussions about fondant and frosting and just where to get the perfect cupcake stands instead of gossip about Anniston., the email account for submissions is constantly full etc. It has been a lot of fun to follow. And to take part in!

Very early on I decided to enter the contest but I've never really baked anything! Slight problem! I had an idea but no skills, scant equipment and little courage...So I sent a message to 7 of my best friends (about whom I have a long- overdue post coming soon). I didn't really expect much of a response- it was the end of semester, people had stuff to do, places to go, parties to plan... but lo and behold a week later we found ourselves at tulip's house, baking away.

I present to you the following pictures along with an extract of the email I sent:

Title/Concept: 'The (cupcake) world as we would like it to be' (cupcakes for peace)

(Basically we took the 'interfaith' part of your contest seriously and decided to make the most inclusive, all encompassing, interfaith bunch of cupcakes we could think of). You'll see the major religious symbols sure, but also cupcakes for atheism (the white one), agnosticism (the question mark), darwinism (the jesus fish with feet), pro-gay rights (the rainbow) and even one called enlightenment (can you guess which one?).

Medium: cake mix, frosting, sprinkles, silver and other balls, icing (baking is a lot easier than I thought!!)

Having seen the really brilliant works of art submitted by fans (seriously check them out), I don't think our 'cupcakes for peace' are going to make the cut. So I may not win the fender or john mayer's heart....

But that's not even the point. I have something way more valuable....7 of the best friends anybody could ever hope for.

To my gang: thank you guys for coming in the middle of a snow storm, despite busy schedules in a crazy weekend to help me bake. It was such a lovely afternoon! I'll always remember tulip's expert baking, lotus teasing me about my 'multi-culturalism' cupcake which she thought (incorrectly) looks like nothing, bluebell's intricate evil eye and heather's irreverent atheist and darwin fish designs... Saffron's meticulous, professional looking cakes and violet's painstaking beautiful rainbow...We played with tulip's beautiful baby, devoured our cupcakes and photographed them lovingly, while laughing and chatting about life...

So with those lovely memories, I close the book on my involvement in the great interfaith baking contest of 2008. Thanks to my wonderful friends, also for my sister's and mom's sage advice about concepts and flavors from thousands of miles away, thanks to all the people that ate our cupcakes (the downside to baking 24 cupcakes is that you're left with 24 cupcakes) and of course to a certain musician for being the impetus for it all....if Mayer's aim was to foster a communal holiday spirit, I can say from our experience - mission accomplished!

I'll close with some of my fav cupcakes-( I also loved the rainbow, the atheism and evil eye but they got eaten before I could take pictures...)

I call this 'enlightenment'

This one I call 'Will I find love? Only with divine intervention' (Or something to that effect)

The Darwin Fish

And this one by saffron sums it all up...Just perfect.


Heather said...

<3 <3 <3

prpriya said...

What a delicious way to [finally] be introduced to your blog. :)

Asli said...

second that! And dear, even if you didn't win JM's heart, you sure did get admiration (and love!) from so many people from miles away, my family, friends in Turkey to name just a few :) and I also agree with H: we should make this an annual tradition!

ps. Thanks to JM we had such a wonderful day!

pps. I loved my nickname:)

Violet said...

Wonderful expression of the same sentiments that I have! If JM doesn't pick ours, then he's missing the point. Obviously, there are some professional bakers out that there can do a much more 'polished' job.... but we were creative and got into the spirit. It made me very grateful for you all!

Erika Carlson said...

I loved your idea. The cupcakes were all very cute!
I too entered the contest, you can see a picture on my blog.
Are you part of L-83?

Lightlight said...

Heather, Prpriya, asli and violet: I give you heather's comment back in spades!

Erika- I checked out your great cake- very intricate!