Don Mccullin

McCullin, Don

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field work 1

I visited Magnolia Bakery at Rockefeller Center and it was really busy in there. There was a huge line and it took forever for us to get one cupcake. The bakery was mainly over-crowded with Caucasians. Since it’s located in Rockefeller Center, the majority of them were tourists. While I was waiting on line to get my cupcake, I had a short conversation with a lady standing behind me. I asked her if this was her first time trying Magnolia’s cupcakes and she said no, and when I ask what she likes about this bakery she said, it’s mainly because of the crowd and the rave about this place and it’s also because they do taste good! I asked her to recommend me a cupcake that she likes and she told me to get their red velvet because it was a must try.

The bakery smells so good when I first walked in- like baked candies if that make sense. They had so many flavors to choose from and they all look so mouth-watering, I was salivating. I think it really depends on your mood and what your taste is to pick your cupcake-of-the-day.

This photo below is their infamous red velvet cupcake and it was delightful. This happened to be one of their most favorite cupcake and is also their best selling one. I heard many reviews about their red velvet before hand and since I’ve never tried it and the lady recommend it, I have to get it.

This cupcake is topped with chucks of almonds and white chocolate. The cupcake’s name is ‘white chocolate almond’ cupcake (a cupcake that my friend got).

I thought they were rather small for its price. The red velvet was good, but it was mainly because of their heavy top cream. I guess the taste balanced out since the bottom (cake part) is not as sweet.

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Questionnaire for Final Project

This is a questionnaire to measure individuals love for cupcakes for a project in Antonia Levy’s Visual Sociology class. This questionnaire is anonymous and confidential.

Please do not include your name or any other identifying information with this questionnaire.

Questions for Customers:

-Is this your first time at this store?, (if no: How often do you come here to buy cupcakes?)

-Why do you come to this particular store?

-Where else do you buy cupcakes?

-Knowing how costly each cupcake can be, do you buy these cupcakes out of convenience or necessity?

-Each time you come here, do you stick to your old reliable flavor or do you try something new and exciting?

-What do you like about the cupcakes? What keeps you coming back for more?

-Do you think the cupcakes are worth its price?

-How did you heard about this shop? Are you a regular costumer?

-What are some of your favorite flavors of cupcakes? Why

Questions for Employees and Store Owners

-What drew you to work here?

-What is the most popular flavor?

-What was the largest order that was ever placed?

-What would you say is original about your cupcakes?

-What kind of costumers do your cupcakes attract? Who buys them?

-How do you attract your costumers? Ads, name of cupcakes, etc.

-Can you tell us a bit about the history of the store?

-What type of cupcakes are you making/selling, and why?

-What were the reasons for you to start working here?

-In general, what type of costumers come here most?

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getting serious

Baumann, Shyon, and Josée Johnson. “Democracy versus Distinction: A study of omnivorousness in Gourment Food Writing.” American Journal of Sociology 113.1 (2007):165-204. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 12 April 12, 2010

Cupcakes used to be cheap and simple, but now it has become one of the most wanted sweets world wide. Consumers are willing to pay for an over priced cupcake, but what for? As Baumann and Johnson had stated, ” As experts within the culinary field, food writers have considerable power to shape perceptions of food as high quality, fashionable, and worthy of attention from high-status consumers.” (Baumann and Johnson 165). A bakery shop would claim their cupcakes to be original or “different” from all the other cupcakes to attract their consumers. whatever the method may be, it seems like it’s working. Baked by Melissa have miniature cupcakes that are pricey, but consumers still buys them. Not to mention, original sized cupcakes are small enough.

 Kummer, Corby. “Not So Guilty Pleasure.” Atlantic Monthly (10727825) 303.2 (2009):24. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 12 April, 2010.

 As far as looking into the origins of cupcakes, we want to know what the craze is all about.  who bakes them? who sells them? who buys them, where, why, and what makes the consumers keep coming back for more? One of our  destination would be Magnolia Bakery and Kummer had stated in her article, “New York’s Magnolia Bakery, which used this icing to launch the craze, gets it right–but its cake has almost no flavor, as a blindfolded tasting with my 14-year-old niece proved. Neither of us could tell the difference between vanilla, chocolate, and red-velvet cake, which to be fair never tastes like anything–it has a bit of cocoa and a lot of food coloring, and seems to be popular for its usual cream-cheese icing.” (kummer 2009).  Undernealth it all, they are generally the same, but what is there that keeps some hooked?

– METHODOLOGY: In order to conduct our research in the proper manner, Lila and I will search through popular magazine articles, food network videos, books, as well as conduct interviews with store owners, employees, and customers. We will visit BabyCakes, Crumbs, Sprinkles, Baked by Melissa, and Magnolias Bakery, to try and unwrap what makes these treats so enticing. Through photo elicitation, conducting live interviews, and comparative taste tests, we hope to understand why individuals decided to purchase this fun food, rather than make it themselves. We are interested in seeing if gender or ethnicity plays a role in the sales demographic.

We are interested in uncovering whether celebrities play a larger role in this new social phenomenon, than we’d like to admit. By researching photographs, cooking shows, recipes, and online videos, we hope to answer some of our questions. Through discussions with bakers,and company owners, we hope to gain an insider scoop into this exciting new culture. All of our findings, photos, interviews and research will culminate into a conclusive final presentation on what “food culture” really means.

ETHICS: For this project, we will inform the seller of our study of cupcakes and ask permission if we could take pictures in the bakery shop stating that all information contained would be for class only. We understand that all sellers believe their work to be original, so we would give them credit by indicating their shop name and would be kept private and use it solely for the purpose of our project. We would also ask the consumers questions and opinions of why they like them? who do they think buys them? and etc. We would let them know that their opinions would be credited or kept anonymous depending on their preference.

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deep dish TV

– what is the main goal/objective of the organization or group? in what ways do members try to achieve their goals? Deep Dish TV is an organization that had been collaborating with other media organizations who makes and distribute videos. videos that are distributed by thousands of artists, independent videomakers, programmers and social activists. They challenge the suppression of awareness, the corruption of language, and the perversion of logic that characterizes so much of corporate media.

– as far as you can tell: who are the members of this group? who can join, and how? Since Deep Dish TV are involved with other independent media organization, there are a lot of groups that are involved so everybody are all welcome to join if they’re interested, so you can bring in new ideas. Everybody are involved worldwide.

– from their self-presentation on website, how do you think this group is organized and makes decision? These groups or organizations collaborate together and make their decision if they are interested in the same field or topic.

– what type of activism does this group do, and what do you think about it? This organization is all about communication and getting us to understand what is going on in the media.

– would you join this group; why or why not? Sure, it seems interesting and I would like to be involve with the community to express my ideas and be creative with it so DDTV can expand.

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class assignment

After the hurricane hit in the New Orleans I actually went there for a mission trip but I didn’t get to see the graffiti. What the article was explaining was there were graffiti everywhere that was in an art form; it was expressive and impressive, but since it’s considered vandalism and it wouldn’t be around for long, the beauty of the graffiti are so detailed, it is more than just a graffitiand can only be captured with a camera.

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My project is going to be on the history of cupcakes and it’s not going to be a hassle taking photos of cupcakes, but some bakery stores might not allow me and my partner to take any photographs in the store and that might affect us as we can’t gather the photos we want of the cupcakes. We would want to ask for the permission of the store and we’ll let them know that the store name would be mentioned and anything can be private if we’re asked to do so, but if they still persist not to consent then we can find other ways to gather our information. We would search in baking books and the internet for more pictures if needed and also, we can bake and take pictures of our own work.

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visual exploration

This photo was taken at Whole Foods Market  in the city. I want to do a research on the history of cupcakes and it where originated from. Each and every cupcakes have a unique design on them and they look almost too pretty to consume.

These cupcakes have their own personalities. In this project, I want to know how they originally looked like and how they come to look like this today. People are becoming more and more creative and maybe, it’s not all about the taste anymore and just simply the “beauty” of it.

(image source)

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midterm pics

figure 1:

Figure 2:

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I want to focus on “beauty” in different cultures and how they are viewed. What is beauty to these women and how it differs from culture to culture? It would be similar to my first proposal but I think this one would be more concentrated. I was at Ripley’s believe it or not and I saw this one asian culture (I forgot where they were from) and apparently men finds them attractive if they have long necks, they keep adding rings around them to make it longer and thinner. The longer their necks are, the more attractive they are. And, I think this project would be interesting to work on.

— edit

Lindsey and I decided to change our topic to the history of cupcakes. How cupcakes came about and how it attracts many individuals. We would interview the employees at some famous bakery stores and the customers  who buys them.

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