Author: Linni Kral
Why are they called “muffins?”
According to the classic joke, the name has something to do with our guilty conscience prohibiting us from gluttonously gobbling dessert fare before 10 a.m. In a world of deceit and unhealthy expectations, let’s be honest with ourselves for once—if a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, a muffin by any other name . . . would be a cupcake?
That’s right, people—those sugar-soakers served up at children’s birthday parties after the greasy pizza has disappeared (don’t even get me started on that dietary staple) are just an artificially-colored pile of frosting away from what many of you eat for breakfast every day.
Oh, but it’s even worse than that. Those muffins try their darndest to win you over with tricky names like “Apple Bran” and “Cappuccino”—you drink cappuccinos for breakfast, bran’s good for the bowels and an apple a day keeps Emmons away, right? Wrong. That seemingly harmless cappuccino muffin actually contains more calories than any of the dessert items served by the Marketplace or Cooler, ever. And that thing somehow gets away with masquerading around as a breakfast food! I had assumed the chocolate chip muffin was leaning more toward dessert, but its 463 calories pale in comparison to the 500 packed into the cappuccino heart-stopper (nutritional information available on the Campus Dining website). To call that a wolf in sheep’s clothing would be the understatement of the year.
Why oh why do we go on deceiving ourselves?
I’m not suggesting we get rid of the muffins, nor am I saying we need to stop treating them as the Sunday morning hangover cures that they are. If people want to occasionally gorge themselves on sugar first thing in the morning, that’s a personal choice—we aren’t getting rid of Pop Tarts, Froot Loops and that heavenly smelling waffle-maker any time soon, so the muffins are in good company.
All I’m saying is that we have no reason to go on kidding ourselves. We’ve invented terminology to justify eating habits, which will only serve to make an ass out of our country as we pore over books like Why French Women Don’t Get Fat while binging on a Starbucks biscotti (read: cookie). It’s embarrassing and enormously unnecessary.
Next time I can’t resist the smell of fresh-baked Cinnamon Apple or the craving for Apple Bran overcomes me, I’m going to cast my shame aside. I will proudly sit down with my friends in the Fishbowl and declare, “Yes, I am eating a cupcake for lunch,” probably a little too loudly. Or better yet, I will go back in after dinner to get the top-heavy pastry.
In a country with an ever-expanding waistline, we can’t afford to go on with this ruse. The more people that believe it’s healthy to start every day with a naked cupcake, the more diabetics we’ll be seeing as the years go by. Already the rates have skyrocketed, with 1.5 million new cases diagnosed in people aged 20 and older in 2005. The Center for Disease Control currently lists diabetes as the number six cause of death in the United States, while the Marketplace goes on serving us “breakfast” that packs enough of a glucose punch to take down a giraffe. Our Campus Dining website doesn’t go into specifics on the sugar content of these silent killers, but with 58.9 grams of carbohydrates in the Low Fat Orange Cranberry, I can only guess what they’re using to make up for the loss of lard.
So next time your senses draw you over to the pastry case, ask yourself: do I really want cake right now or am I just looking for breakfast on the sweeter side? If it’s the latter, put some Splenda on a bowl of oatmeal. And finally, stick a thumb into your jean waistline and consider—is this muffin really worth a muffin-top?
Linni Kral is a junior Politics major. She can be reached at [email protected]
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