Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World

April 22, 2007

On Earthday Cupcakes, Grandmas and Napkins

Filed under: Baking Porn,Decorating,Holiday Cupcakes,Musings,Other People's Cupcakes — by isachandra @ 12:49 pm

Earthday cupcakes

Earthday cupcakes from Madness Rivera in the Vegan Cupcake Pool

On Earth Day 1990 I awoke to my best friend telling me that my grandmother had just died. The day before my cat had died and my boyfriend had cheated on me with a green haired girl who was always at every punk show.

But Earth Day that year was a big deal. It was the 20th anniversary of the holiday, and although the day wasn’t really on the radar in the 20 years since 1970, the 80s were over and I suppose people were thinking that it was as good a time as any to stop snorting cocaine and go green again. So I went to Central Park with my anarchist youth collective as I had planned, there was no point sitting around in Brooklyn crying when I could be in the park with my friends. Crying.

One of our first orders of business once on the Upper East Side was to go cardboard box surfing. That is, you flatten out a cardboard box on the sidewalk, run towards it as fast as you can, jump on it and see how far you can slide. Depending on the sidewalk and the slipperiness of the box it was usually only a few feet, maybe 10 if you were really little and really lucky.

A woman with an expensive baby stroller and big sunglasses shouted at us, “You are doing this on Earth Day?” Of course, these boxes were destined for the garbage dump, any amount of surfing on them wasn’t going to make the environmental situation any worse. In fact, kudos to us for finding fun with garbage instead of sitting home, playing video games and using electricity.

Once in the park, a comfortable distance from where the B-52s were playing, we lay in the grass and did whatever teenagers do on the grass. I rolled over onto my back, away from my friends and looked up to the sky through my purple tinted sunglasses (can anyone but a teenager appreciate the world through colored lenses?). I thought about my grandma and my cat. Since that time, my first instinct whenever a loved one dies is to look up at the sky and wonder “Where the fuck did you go?”

The last time I had spoken to my grandma she had asked me to bring her mirror and make-up to the hospital. I thought of how she wasn’t just able to say that she wanted to see me one last time. I felt guilty because I never did bring her make-up and mirror and how I should have known that what she really meant was that she loved me, even if I did paint my face white and dye my hair purple. I thought about how I don’t want to grow old that way – afraid to tell people I love them.

Garbage was accumulating all around us, and it wasn’t ours. Hoards of people were making their way through the park, dropping McDonald’s wrappers and Budweiser empties and whatever else they didn’t want to deal with. I picked up a McDonald’s Earthday napkin and read the missive on it. It talked about how McDonald’s was committed to the environment and how the napkin was whatever percentage recycled material.

Did you ever make a promise to yourself that you will never forget? I can remember a few. For some reason when I was walking up my elementary school stairs in second grade I stopped, looked at the building and thought, “Never forget this day.” And I haven’t, it was March 9th. I have no idea why I wanted to remember it, other than that I was catching on to the fleetingness of life. But on Earth Day, April 22nd 1990, in the grass in Central Park, I thought it again and this time I do remember what I was thinking.

Don’t believe the lies that napkins tell you, don’t grow old and afraid of love, don’t ever stop looking up at the sky and wondering.

I had some sense at the time how hard these things would be, but 17 years later- exactly 2 times the age I was then- I’m trying to get back on track. I don’t want to disappoint that 17 year old because I feel like she’s the wisest person I know. Also, she might kick my ass if I don’t follow through.



  1. that was perfect. just what I needed today.

    Comment by Stephanie — April 22, 2007 @ 4:34 pm |Reply

  2. Hey, nice post, touching.
    Happy ED.

    Comment by Madness — April 22, 2007 @ 7:09 pm |Reply

  3. great post, isa!! thanks for sharing it. and madness–i love the cuppers!

    Comment by girl least likely to — April 22, 2007 @ 7:41 pm |Reply

  4. Happy belated Earth Day, Isa!

    Your post was lovely. Thank you.

    Comment by Tim — April 23, 2007 @ 5:05 pm |Reply

  5. Happy Earth Day. That was a really nice post, it made my happy.

    Comment by Kate — April 23, 2007 @ 10:36 pm |Reply

  6. Thanks for the post. Can’t wait to get your book and start cooking! Just a little tip for the blog – you can add a subscribe button and point it here – – so people can add your site to their feed reader. Thanks!

    Comment by Sweet Red Beet — April 24, 2007 @ 9:11 am |Reply

  7. What a great story–and what adorable cupcakes.

    Comment by urban vegan — April 28, 2007 @ 11:46 pm |Reply

  8. i wanted to buy your book (cupcakes take over the world) for a friend who has lots of allergies, but i need to know if the cupcake recipes have potatoe flour in them. if not YAY! and if so then i will just get the book for me not her. please email me to let me know. thankyou.
    ps: ur cupcakes are AMAZING!

    Comment by caz — April 29, 2007 @ 3:48 am |Reply

  9. Greta post, incredibly heart felt and moving. Congrats for sharing, it really made my day.
    cupcakes are amazing as allways, and a happy belated earth day to you ;).

    Comment by B.A.D. — April 29, 2007 @ 8:04 am |Reply

  10. That was beautiful.

    Comment by jess — April 29, 2007 @ 2:00 pm |Reply

  11. Life just sucks sometimes…

    Well, the way I figure it is that if you have a bunch of bad things happen to you all at once–something really great is just around the corner. Just recently, I had a $700 car bill, almost quit my job and had a good friend stop talking to me..The next day I was accepted into grad school. See?

    Comment by Julie — April 30, 2007 @ 3:29 am |Reply

  12. isa- you’ve officially freaked me out. i was married on earth day, 1990 (still am!) — and my birthday is march 9. ::cue twilight zone music::

    love the post 🙂

    Comment by wrekehavoc — May 5, 2007 @ 8:22 pm |Reply

  13. Sher, that is really creepy! Maybe I can tell your future.

    Comment by isachandra — May 7, 2007 @ 1:29 pm |Reply

  14. if it doesn’t involve world peace or good health, i have a feeling i may not want to know 😉

    Comment by wrekehavoc — May 7, 2007 @ 6:17 pm |Reply

  15. Thanks for such a beautiful post. My birthday is this weekend and my dad reminded me that at 32, maybe I’m as powerful as two 16-year-old me’s…that chick kicked ass.

    Comment by axelfoley — May 8, 2007 @ 7:05 pm |Reply

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  17. You are an amazing writer, as well as baker. Please keep writing!

    Comment by dlatman — May 30, 2007 @ 10:22 pm |Reply

  18. Hope you don’t mind me posting this, but it’s a poem I wrote a few years ago that you just made me think of again:

    remember this moment
    the one that makes you stop on the stairs outside your one-room apartment
    and turn to let your vision rest on the hotel-california sunset,
    rust orange red brown
    the beginnings of teal-gray
    hurrying to cross the pacific,
    to turn its glow on that girl in hawaii you had a crush on once

    remember, later, when your ankles are swollen and tight
    and you’ve got eighteen dollars in the bank
    that a moment can be nothing or it can be everything

    remember how it felt to stride to the laundry room,
    unable to suppress your own reasonless smile
    how it seemed to fill your arms and chest and stomach and pelvis and legs,
    like a macy’s inflatable.
    remember that moment when duty turned to consciousness
    spilling on the iceplant, rolling down the embankment,
    covering the highway like warm honey
    and muting the noisome steadiness of traffic spending itself into the night

    we’re born with too much to do.
    too many moments die unremarked.
    so remember.
    write it down or don’t, relive it or move on to the next one,
    don’t forget.

    Comment by serene — June 13, 2007 @ 3:32 am |Reply

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  22. This year, Earth Day will be special!
    We’ll celebrate Earth Day Birthday!

    Comment by Dayse Eathingale — March 7, 2009 @ 3:31 am |Reply

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