Category Archives: Food

The Art of Seduction Is A Piece of Cake

You know, you can learn a lot about life from watching a Season 8 episode of  NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” You’re rolling your eyes saying, “Thank you Captain Obvious. The moral of the show is that we have an obesity problem in America.” And I would respond kindly, “Yep, there’s that, but that’s just the fat of it. Forgive the pun. You need to go deeper to get to the meat of the problem.”

Temptation. The word basically means the quality of seduction. I find the Temptation Challenges on “The Biggest Loser” quite entertaining and down-right educating. The first Temptation Challenge changes the weight loss competition into a all-out strategy game. The contestants stood behind silver platters. When they open the platters, a single cupcake is revealed containing 100 calories. Whoever eats the most cupcakes gets to manipulate which team would fall below the yellow line at final weigh in. However, the team who wins the challenge still has to work hard to not fall bellow the yellow line, or it would be a waste of strategy. Oh, and whoever wins the challenge would not receive any help from trainers to lose weight. To put it simply, to eat the cupcake, or not eat the cupcake? That is the question. Only two gave in to the temptation as piles of cupcake are added to each contestant’s silver platter- Antoine from the red team ate one cupcake, while Tracey ate four. She “wins” the temptation.

When I saw this, I had to laugh. This is ridiculous? Tempting people with cupcakes? That’s so easy to resist. But it isn’t. I forgot the context of the situation, and who is being tempted. For someone who enjoys food and eats cupcakes like breathing air, this was quite a challenge. Addiction is challenging. I remembered my own addiction to Starbucks frappes and how I tried so hard to give it up for 40 days, only to fail on the 20th day. When the temptation was presented to me, the smell of a Chai frappe floating through the air, floating towards me–I remembered the fun times I had sipping on my Starbucks frappes. And my body remembered too, craving it. That’s what temptation is, right? Seduction. Reminds you of what you’re missing out on, what you can’t have, what you had, and essentially, what you could have for the taking. It’s right there in front of you, welcoming you, calling out your name. It messes with your mind. Temptation is easy; withstanding it is the hard part.

Lately, I’ve been craving cupcakes, but not just any cupcake. RED VELVET CUPCAKES! My mouth is watering just typing the words down. I can taste it now, the vanilla cream cheese with a dash of red sprinkles touching my taste buds. And I’m not the only one. Everyone and their mother have been wanting cupcakes, whether it be red velvet cupcakes, I do not know.  In this down economy, the cupcake industry has been steadily growing between 2006 and 2008 and still growing now. Gee, that’s about time the economy started going down. But why the increase when the economy isn’t tasting good? Apparently, cupcakes are nostalgic foods and comfort foods. Cupcakes bring people back to when life was much simpler and better (nostalgia) and when they eat the cupcake, it makes them feel a whole lot better about themselves and their situation (comfort). It’s as if all the stresses of the world disappear while you’re eating a cupcake.

Living in Los Angeles, I love Sprinkles Cupcakes (located in Beverly Hills). They sell about 5,000 cupcakes a day. And though the cupcakes may be a bit pricey (hey, they got to pay the Beverly Hills rent somehow), their cupcakes are worth it! Not only are they delicious, but you can also customize it if you want–find a cupcake that matches your nostalgia and comfort.

So with that, I send you off with a Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcake recipe located via Martha Stewart, the Queen of Conventional Cooking and Arts and Crafts. And send a cupcake or two my way. I’m great at testing food.
What’s your favorite cupcake? What’s your favorite cupcake bakery?

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Filed under Entertainment, Food, Issues/Causes, Life, Movies/TV

God, I’m Fat. God, Are You?

Photo Source: Roosevelt Academy

Photo Source: Roosevelt Academy

I recently went running with Michael, my fraternity brother, around the hills of Westwood. As some of the expensive-looking cars drove through Sunset Boulevard, I couldn’t help but wonder which celebrity had passed by and saw me catching my breath. How did I get to this point? I used to be able to run with ease! I will one day run with ease. But in the most humorous sense of weakness, I remembered thinking: God, I’m fat.

After running up and down Drake Stadium, I gave up running altogether and made my way back to the fraternity house in defeat. As I sat on the couch disappointed in myself and what I’ve become, I decided to amuse myself by taking my iPod touch and searched for the words “How fat is God?” I needed to laugh at myself. Lo and behold, I came across various results, such as mama jokes: “Yo mama is so fat, that when God said, ‘Let there be light,’ He asked her to move out of the way.” And then I came across an amusing article entitled, “Is God fat too?” by Jim Evans, an SF Fitness Examiner. And I’ve got to say, he made some completely interesting points and observations.

First, we all know that America is one of the most obese nations in the world. According to Forbes.com, “nearly 237 million Americans are currently overweight. It is estimated that medical costs connected to obesity accounted for 9.1% of all health expenditures each year in the U.S.” Although we may be ranked #9 because 74.1% of people over 15 are overweight in this country, the first 8 countries are islands and their population can’t really compare with ours. How the heck did we get to this point? Is it because of our stressful jobs and little exercise? Is it because our physical education classes in middle schools and high schools consist of only reading and nothing to do with physical activity? Perhaps it’s also our availability of fast foods and how affordable it is? God, we’re fat.

But maybe, just maybe, God is fat too! This is where Evans’ article gets interesting. He says that a majority of the people in this country consider themselves Christians, thus if a majority of this country is overweight or obese, then Christians certainly make a large part of these statistics. Evans reminds Christians that our bodies are temples of God, and that we are to glorify Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This suggests that we shouldn’t be filling our bodies with filth and other unhealthy things. That’s Jambaisms #5: “Your body is a temple, littering is strictly prohibited.”  Thus, if we are to be stewards of this gift–this body that we have–then we need to take better care of it.

Evans goes far to wonder (and I wondered about this too as I laid on the couch recovering from the run) that if we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and we are growing overwhelmingly obese, does this reflect God’s own image? I’m going to have to say no, and not because I think we need to all look like Abercrombie and Fitch models either. No, that’s more of a Classical Greco-Roman ideal. I like Evans’s answer when he says that God gave us common sense and intelligence about what we are doing to our bodies. Our behavior and the environment are partly responsible for making us fat. But more importantly, we chose this path. We have the ability to control it. We need to control it. Our bodies are temples for God’s sake! And whether you believe in God or not, it’s still very logical and very intelligent to keep your body healthy.

Oh, and whether you’re skinny, average, or fat, God still loves you just the same. And no, that’s not a big fat lie.

Photo Source: Roosevelt Academy

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Filed under Christianity, Food, Issues/Causes, Life

Starbucks and Alcohol, Quite a Concoction

Photo Credit: DelawareOnline

Photo Credit: DelawareOnline

I love Starbucks, almost as much as I love my parents. Heck, I’m a walking free advertising for Starbucks. Sometimes, I find myself preaching about the coffee trinity: chai frappuccinos, mocha lattes, and caramel machiatos. And for students like me, Starbucks is our second home. It’s where we go to get high on caffeine, the much needed “drug-of-choice” to stay awake and study. Even the atmosphere of the coffee store, the “chillaxin” factor, the soft music, and the company of friends who are in the same fate to study speaks to college students alike. And now, Starbucks is venturing into something no other mainstream coffee store has ever gone before: ALCOHOL! Yes, that’s right, according to the Associated Press, alcohol may be the remedy. Due to the failing economy and the fact that many Starbucks stores have closed shop nation-wide, and that lower-priced coffee stores like McDonalds is taking a lot of their sales, the people of Starbucks (God, I love them) want to market to a bigger crowd. Okay, I’m guilty of not being loyal to Starbucks. You can find me occassionally at McDonalds, sipping a McCafe. But I’m not the only one, and there’s many other Starbucks lovers out there who have gone to McDonalds doing just that. Sometimes, we can’t afford the $4.30 for those delicious frapes, so we settle for the McCafe, which is half the price. Economy and business is so interesting when you live it out!

Starbucks is currently testing this out in one of their Seattle stores, changing the name to “15th Avenue Coffee and Tea inspired by Starbucks.” They will continue with testing by opening two other stores in the Seattle area. If it’s a success, Starbucks will copy this pattern nation-wide, meaning they will serve alcohol in all their stores.

Are you hoping it’s a success? Will drunk people plague Starbucks? Will they be selling alcohol during the day? At $4 to $7 a glass, is the quality going to be just as good as its alcohol competitors? I wonder if Starbucks will have its own brewery company. And if so, will Starbucks be known as a coffee store that sells beer, or a bar that sells coffee?

Photo Credit: Delaware Online

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Filed under Food, Issues/Causes, Life