Sweet Minnesota

Why cupcakes compel me to choose Minnesota over warmer climates this winter break.

Mike Munzenrider

My family ditched Minnesota like the cold, unforgiving friend that it can be, approximately 17 days after my youngest brother graduated high school. We have roots in a place with much warmer climes âÄî letâÄôs call it âÄúArizonaâÄù âÄîand my brotherâÄôs completion of school was the green light for Pops to get the heck out of here for browner pastures.
The impending end of the semester would âÄî as it has for the past few years now âÄî normally signal a respite from this fair city and state, to this world away, this âÄúArizona.âÄù In light of the newly revealed Snowpocalypse, the crusher of Domes and breaker of shovelersâÄô backs, this annual exodus to the desert is usually just the thing to get everything back on track. Nothing says rebirth like Phoenix.
However, with a heavy-ish heart, but mostly vitamin D-depleted skin, I must announce that I will not be joining my family in the Grand Canyon State. IâÄôve decided to stick it out in Minneapolis, shovels and salt and snot and all. Frankly, my heart feels fine. No offense family, but I couldnâÄôt be happier to stay home for the holidays.
There is a complex web of reasons and incentives and other technical crap for why IâÄôm staying put. It all started when my personal finance team issued a report a couple of weeks back stating, supplemented with some research done on Kayak.com, that an airplane ticket to anywhere would be highly detrimental to my personal coffers. Adding to that, no amount of spending cuts or last second freelance endeavors could cover up the holes in my budget. So it goes.
Money, however, is a fairly flimsy excuse, especially at this time of year, when everyone is wishing that they had a little bit more of it. No, my reasoning for staying home for the holidays comes down to something deeper, sweeter and edible: Cupcakes.
I was born on Christmas Day. ItâÄôs the type of birthday that makes people who check I.D.s for a living light up. ItâÄôs a surefire topic for a five-minute conversation when thereâÄôs not even the weather to bring up. It is, at this point in my life, an absolutely mundane fact, and no, I donâÄôt feel like I âÄúget screwed,âÄù like everyone wants to seem to think. The only way IâÄôm screwed is that IâÄôll have to answer that question for the rest of my life, to strangers holding my identification card and in small talk the world over.
But weâÄôre talking about cupcakes. My Christmas birthday precluded me from ever being able to bring cupcakes or any other awesome treats to my grade school class on the day of my birth. In my eyes, there is no other primary school action that will inspire as much good-will and blind acceptance, as, if for just a day, bribing your classmates with sweets. And I never got to do it.
This winter break is my chance for some cupcakes. No, I wonâÄôt be sharing them with my fourth grade class or my family, but with my friends that are staying put. I envision amazing winter montages âÄî sledding and hot cocoa and marshmallows, rollerblading through the MOA, cold nights sipping a cocktail by the fire while wearing a scarf indoors. Oh, the cupcakes to be had!
With just a few classes and finals left this semester, whether youâÄôre headed somewhere warm, to the small town of your origin, or staying put in the city like me, weâÄôre all heading toward schedules that are hopefully a little less rigorous. Have a good break, and I invite everyone to find their cupcakes, and eat them too.