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.