It's cupcake time again! This week's dessert comes from Cupcake Charlie's at Patriot Place in Foxborough, Massachusetts. I tried the Lemon Drop Cupcake--lemon cake with a sweet lemon filling, topped with mounds of buttercream frosting, a sprinkle of candied sugar, and finished with a white chocolate garnish. The cake was fresh and just the right consistency, and the filling was a nice balance to the frosting and cake, with a lemon flavor that was not overpowering. The best thing about this cupcake was the buttercream frosting. It was the perfect blend of butter and sugar; not overly rich but also not too sweet. The candied sugar on top was a nice contrast to the smooth buttercream. The size of the cupcake was just right, and there was plenty of frosting to last throughout the entire cupcake experience.
I was drawn to the Lemon Drop Cupcake because of my grandfather, who loved lemon drop candies. I was lucky enough to grow up with my maternal grandparents living upstairs in our two-family home, and they were an integral part of my childhood and my life. One of my beloved memories of my grandfather dates back to the 1970's, when I was about ten years old. Around that time, the game show "Bowling For Dollars" was running on channel 9 in New York. Contestants would literally bowl to win money, and viewers would mail in postcards in the hopes of being selected as the 'Pin Pal.' Contestants would select one postcard from a big vat of postcards, and the Pin Pal would win the same money that the contestant won. For each pin knocked down by the contestant, the contestant and Pin Pal would each win a dollar. If the contestant rolled two strikes, the contestant and Pin Pal would win a much larger jackpot.
My grandparents had mailed in a postcard, and one particular evening their postcard was drawn as the Pin Pal. My grandfather and I were actually on a walk to the lake during the show, and I remember the excitement of finding out what had happened when we got back.
It was one of those joyous, unexpected moments in life that you can't plan for. It started as an ordinary night, and then my grandparents' postcard was drawn, and my grandparents won money on TV! It was big news in our house! The contestant who chose their card did really well, and my grandparents ended up winning the jackpot of about $500.00, which, back in the 1970's, was a pretty good outcome for simply mailing in a postcard.
What happened next was the best part of all. One afternoon, with no fanfare or warning, my grandfather announced that we were going to play Name That Tune. He gathered the grandkids together, and we sat in his living room while he played song after song on his piano. When we recognized the song we would jump up and yell out the name, and if we got it right, we would win some money. Of course all the grandkids ended up winning. We thought it was great fun, and I still remember the scene like it was yesterday--my grandfather sitting down to play a few bars, one of us excitedly yelling out the answer, and him happily jumping up and giving out some more money. He played tune after tune after tune, and we kept guessing and winning more.
I recall that at the time, I had a vague realization that the Name That Tune game occurred coincidentally after the Bowling For Dollars win. But back then, I just thought that it was so much fun that we were having our own game show, and that we were all winning money. Looking back as an adult, I realize that it was a great act of love and generosity. My grandparents were on a fixed income. Winning Bowling for Dollars was a really nice windfall for them. And one of the first things they did was share it with their very young grandchildren.
The fourteenth anniversary of my grandfather's passing was last week. The money from the Name That Tune game is long gone, but that memory, and many more loving memories of my grandfather, will always remain. When I think of my grandfather, I can't help but be reminded that the best legacy we can leave to others is the legacy of love.
I definitely enjoyed the Lemon Drop Cupcake. The sweetest desserts are those that remind us of the people we love. Have a sweet week!