Today’s New York Times “Sunday Styles” section explores the rise of high end bakeries in Los Angeles. To understand how a culture moves full speed from fear of carbs and sugar to the need for indulgence, the Times reporter turns to cultural anthropologist, Grant McCracken and food critic Jonathan Gold for answers.
Blame it on a culture where the BlackBerry-obsessed run around like overcaffeinated track stars, but there is a tremendous craving for comfort, particularly in fast-paced cities like Los Angeles, said Grant McCracken, the author of the book Culture and Consumption II: Markets, Meaning and Brand Management. For many people, he said, “baking represents that, it harks back to a simpler time.”
Jonathan Gold, the Pulitzer-winning food critic for LA Weekly, said hardly a week goes by without a box of cookies or cupcakes landing on his desk from a new place he’s never heard of. “And they’re not just cupcakes,” he said. “They’re cupcakes with publicists.”
As for budding cupcake empires, that designation belongs to Sprinkles. Sprinkles opened in Beverly Hills in April 2005 and now counts celebs like Oprah and Katie Holmes among its customers. Sprinkles also has stores in Dallas and Newport Beach, with plans to open a dozen more.