doROTHEA's cupkin house

OCTOBER 1, 2013




THREE WEEKS AGO: Pursued by a secret gelato society, A. Pontious fled New York in a food truck whose pastrami he considered only fair to middling. He then went upstate to borrow a friend's station wagon and discovered Kalehenge. Now, A. Pontious faces his most dangerous foe: his impatience with driving.


Driving across America is the antithesis of the adventure I wanted to have, particularly after finding a relatively happy life in New York. I get so bored of the goddamn trees. And even more vexing are the other cars around me. I hate other cars, and the humans who drive them.

But most maddening about life on the road is the sameness of the landscape. Tree, tree, tree, human driving a car, tree. When you pause at a rest stop there's the same franchises to greet you: Baron Flamin' Burgers, Shamdoz Pizza, and Cinnabar, a place which makes me indignant on levels that beget their own indignation.

For one thing, cinnabar is actually, and I am quoting my computer's dictionary, “a bright red mineral consisting of mercury sulfide,” and not a fun place where you pay to get nose-blasted with cinnamon and then inherit a gooey bread-protozoa, which you will carry around in a nearly translucent bag. Some people, I have heard, will proceed to it either the bag, the cinnathing, or both.

Experiences like these are why I am grateful for Dorothea's Cupkin House while driving through Vermont. You might wonder why I am so excited about cupcakes, which have overtaken New York like a frosted Napoleon or Genghis Khan. But who could hate a tiny tasty treat version of Genghis Khan, especially when he's so far from Central Asia?

There is something inherently pleasing about a cupcake about the size of an acorn that sells for a quarter. But wait, I am getting ahead of myself.

Drive towards Brattleboro, Vermont, and after a few signs for the obligatory maple syrup and carved antler art, you'll see signs with an arrow pointing toward the Cupkin House, which is a cupcake-shaped shack that someone could easily leap over. I could not, however, I am full of cupkins.

A Google search reveals that there are a few of these little “Relax Shacks" scattered around Vermont, and that they enjoy something of a following. The Cupkin House is a relax shack that has been fitted with an Easy Bake Oven, the plug to which snakes around for about thirty feet before connecting to a plug inside the nearbye Just Say It's Coffee Just Say It's Now, which serves a few bitter blends that all go better with cupkins. The elfish Dot, cupkin baker in residence, has been known to frost cupkins with a jewler's loop in her eye, creating little frosting-based frogs and pigs atop these minature cupcakes.

Dorothea, or Dot as she actually prefers to be called when she's not baking Lilliputian pastries, recently graduated from Middlebury, and upon the realization that she had an English degree decided that “if she must live with family while looking for work, she could at least have a shack with a view.“

Three hundred dollars later, she not only had a small hutch to work on her novel, but also a thriving business. “I started it as a joke, but there's an actual demand: parents like that they can give something sweet to their kids that doesn't have as many calories as a standard cupcake. And I just think the larger a dessert is, the more anxiety mounts about eating it. But you can walk off the calories from a cupkin by just walking around the Cupkin House, and you won't go broke eating them.”

But I might. The price of twenty five cents a cupcake is really an insult to her terrific talent and effort, but that did not stop me from eating about a hundred just because it amused me to do so. .

If it were not just around the corner from an actual coffee shop, I'm not sure that I would be nearly as happy with Dorothea's Cupkin House. But I am. I am truly thrilled, and I am already planning to build my own relax shack, perhaps one with wheels, so that I can go on the lam from home.

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