The Druss Road Trip Day 4 – Fort Worth to El Paso, TX

Today we woke up in preparation for a full day of driving.  I have already blocked it out but I believe it was a 9 or 10 hour day.  And down this far south, there is not a whole lot going on.  Along with the loooooong, straiiiiiiiight roads, the thermometer touched 90.  Though the Audi was blowing cool air, it wasn’t cold but it was better than windows down.  Apparently wild wind is an every day occurrence in these parts.  There were multiple signs urging ‘Extreme Caution’ and ‘Dust Storms May Exist!’ Actually, there was no exclamation point but the bold red lettering made it feel that way.  We did not encounter any zero visibility conditions but with the windows open, the howling wind made it hard to hear, think or breathe.  Windows up.

In general, we were blasting BPM and Lithium on Sirius the whole time.  A little house followed by some music of the 90’s kept us running.  At one point, requiring food, we ended up in a Subway that has surely been forgotten by the mother ship.  This shack on the side of the road looked very off the beaten path but was really the only option.  The guy behind the counter asked me if I wanted eggs or eggs white in my breakfast thing.  As he gestured towards the pile of limp yellow circles in a metal bin, I bit my tongue as my mind ran wild with thoughts like ‘Those are eggs?’ and ‘If that’s an egg, I’m Barack Obama.’

We got to El Paso and checked into a hotel that had beds but that you would likely not revisit.  Dave pulled out all the stops and got a workout in at CrossFit 915.  I did not.  That night for dinner we found a boutique burger shack right around the corner, Toro Burger Bar. Turned out to be a great find with a big selection of craft brews.  The Old Chub by Oskar Blues Brewery was especially tasty. Along with it’s ludicrous name it had the tagline ‘It’s like Sputnik!’.  Nobody knows what that means but everybody likes it.

We split the Toro Burger (pepperjack, avocado, Toro sauce) and the SOB Burger (swiss, onions, bacon, BBQ sauce) along with some sweet potato fries.  I deliberately enjoyed some lighter beers with dinner since they had a Double Chocolate Stout Float on the menu that I was salivating over the whole time.  When it came time to order however, I learned they were out of the stout and was crushed.  The bartender was extra friendly however and that along with the quality of the food more than made up for it.  Oh, and I subbed a 1554 by New Belgium for my float that was chocolaty and glorious.  From there – straight to bed.

How many ingredients does it take to make a cupcake?

I recently had the (dis)pleasure of eating some supermarket made cupcakes.  When I bit into it and thought “This tastes like shit”, I inspected the label to ensure there was not in fact, shit in my cupcake.  Unfortunately, I can’t really be sure as I cannot decipher the list of chemical compounds displayed.  But I was so shocked at the LENGTH of this list that I had to take a picture and compare this recipe to that of the Queen of Cooking and Fake Happiness – Martha Stewart.

So, here’s the label off the supermarket cupcakes with the full list, spelled out below, for visual impact.  I’ve included commentary on some of the extra special items. Beneath all this, you’ll find the ingredient list for Martha’s comparable cakes.

Supermarket Cupcakes

Fresh Made Finds but no shit

SUPERMARKET CUPCAKES

White Cake

  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Enriched Wheat Flour Bleached
  • Soybean Oil
  • Dry Egg Whites
  • Propylene Glycol Mono & Diesters with BHT & Citric Acid as Preservatives
  • Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Alumnium Sulfate, Monocalcium Phosphate)
  • Food Starch (Modified Dry Egg Yolk, Dextrose, Mono & Diglycerides, Salt, Nonfat Milk Solids, Sorbitan MonoStearate, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Polysorbate 60, Xantham Gum, Wheat Starch, Propylene Glycol, Sulfites.092905 – D,L,J)
    • Polysorbate 60 “can cause detrimental reproductive effects, organ toxicity and cancer in high doses.  However, the FDA designated the chemical as safe for limited use in food.” More here.

Buttercreme Icing

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Palm Oil w/ Mono & Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60, Water, Food Starch Modified Guar Gum, Corn Syrup, Salt, Natural & Artificial Flavor)
    • Um, where’s the butter in the buttercreme?

When Decorated (which they are)

  • Corn Starch
  • Glucose
  • Alkalized Cocoa Powder
  • Soy Lecithin
  • FD&C Artificial Colors (Red #40, Yellow #5, Red #3, Yellow #6, Blue #1, Caranauba Wax)

When Decorated Colors (though written by Yoda, I think also applies this does)

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • FD&C Artificial Colors (Red #40, Yellow #5, Red #3, Yellow #6, Blue #1, Blue #2)
  • Modified Corn Starch
  • Vegetable Gum and/or Guar Gum
  • Citric Acid
  • Phosphoric Acid
  • Less than 1/10 of 1% Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate as Preservative
    • “When combined with…citric acid (which it is)…the preservative converts to benzene, a carcinogen reported to cause leukemia, DNA damage…” and the list goes on here. Hey, at least it’s less than 1/10 of a percent.

MARTHA STEWART CUPCAKES

White Cake

  • Cake Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • Milk
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Egg Whites

Buttercream Icing

  • Butter
    • Likely included because Martha knows how to spell ‘cream’
  • Confectioner’s Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract

I imagine supermarkets use these weird ingredients to ensure extra long shelf life.  And maybe all of the items here are completely safe to consume.  Plus it’s likely cheaper to produce.  I’ve even heard, anecdotally, a sentiment of “why would you MAKE cupcakes, when you can just BUY them?”

Well, for one, if you can’t handle mixing 8 ingredients, there may be bigger fish to fry.  But two, the cheap ones taste just like what I’d imagine a stew of the above ingredients would – shit.