Now that you know that about me, let me tell you a little story…
Today at work, we belatedly celebrated the birthday of a coworker. Our office manager brought in some cupcakes: a tray of 12 supermarket cupcakes, of which half were vanilla, half were chocolate, and all of them were topped with crusty plain American buttercream frosting that was airbrushed with fluorescent color (I'm not kidding) and topped off with pastel confetti sprinkles; and 12 homemade chocolate cupcakes (and by homemade, I mean that is was very likely boxed mix and frosting from a can). Regardless of the source, I don’t like chocolate cake – I’ve only eaten a few incarnations of chocolate cake, and those were either my own creation or that of a talented pastry chef in NYC – and I certainly don’t like any cupcakes from boxed mix or supermarket cupcakes. (The photo at left is pretty much what the cupcakes looked like, except try to imagine a spray of fluorescent red or yellow color on top. Go ahead, imagine it. It's gross, isn't it?)
Everyone took a “homemade” chocolate cupcake and I sat there hoping that no one would notice that I didn’t take one. Clearly my hoping failed – the office manager asked me if I wanted a chocolate cupcake. I said, “No, I don’t like chocolate cake,” to which she replied, “OK, here’s a vanilla one then” as she plunked down in front of me one of the scary supermarket cupcakes.
Everyone else in the room devoured their cupcakes as I sat there avoiding mine. I really hoped no one would notice this, either, but that, too, failed – the woman next to me said “Aren’t you going to eat your cupcake?” At this moment, I realized that I was probably giving them the impression that I’m one of those annoying girls who refuses to eat baked goods in order to maintain her figure, which is totally not who I am. So I did something I really did not want to do – I ate the freaking cupcake.
I only ate about a third of it, but it was a very very painful third of a cupcake. The cake itself was horrible – it didn’t taste like vanilla but rather of shortening and sugar, and the texture was spongy (and not in a good way). The frosting was beyond words – it was really crusty and tasted of shortening and sugar, and the fluorescent spray color on it certainly didn’t help. I nibbled at the cupcake and then, thinking that no one was looking, I wrapped up the remainder in a paper towel. I was totally caught – the office manager saw me ball up the paper towel and attempt to hide it under my hand, and she also saw me walk out of the room and throw it away.
Now, I know that this is not a huge deal, but I can’t help but feel rude for this.
So my question to you is this: what would you have done in this situation? If I didn’t hate chocolate cake so much, I would have eaten one of the “homemade ones,” but I couldn’t bring myself to eat one of those because they would have been doubly disgusting to me. In addition to a situation like this, what would you do in any situation in which the food you are presented is not good, at least to your palate?