Yesterday, pastry chef Dominique Ansel Tweeted a photograph of a pastry. But not just any pastry: a cronut, held aloft in a single outstretched human hand and wreathed in a nimbus of angelic light in the Rain Room of the Museum of Modern Art like it was the motherfucking pastry messiah, the Word made Cake, here to flake for the sins of the deeply flawed scone, the overfrosted cupcake, those Betty Crocker single serving cakes that you heat up in the microwave and eat when you've given up. Enough. Enough. Enough. Enough with the goddamn cronuts.
When the cronut craze started here in New York, I thought it was kind of cute. Look at that, I thought, bemused. A donut and a croissant had a baby! Huh! Wonder what the crackling, electric minds of this city will think of next! Oreonuts? Croissownies? Maybe I'll mosey on over to the bakery that created them and get one.
And mosey I did, right on over to the bakery home of the cronut one midmorning in early June. Here's an approximation of the conversation I had with the kind woman working the counter.
Me: Hi, do you have any cronuts?
Woman: (laugh best described as "rueful")
Me: If I come by tomorrow will there be some?
Woman: If you come and wait in line at 6:30.
Me: What time do you open?
Me: Can I order some?
Woman: Earliest we're accepting orders is July 1st.
Me: I can't wait that long! I might be dead by then! (earnest joke smile)
Woman: Ok. (blank face, no laughter)
Since then, the cronut craze has only gotten more risible. They've appeared on everything from NPR to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Imitators are popping up in other New York City bakeries. They're in Chicago. They're in LA. And as of a couple of days ago, people were still lining up at 6:30 am on a filthy Manhattan sidewalk during a time of day when everything smells like fresh piping hot pee, checking their smartphones nonchalantly to disguise the fact that what they're doing is fucking ridiculous. The Domino Effect may not have been a principle that applied to the spread of Communism, but it sure as hell applies to the mass bastardization of desserts.
People are waiting for hours in line for these shits. No one can find time to exercise — OH NO OUR MODERN LIVES ARE TOO BIZ-ZAY for EXERCISE — but we can find time to exit the Type II Diabetes Expressway and hoist our inactive asses out of our Memory Foam mattresses at 6 am so we can play Soviet Union with a bunch of self-proclaimed foodies outside of the Dominique Ansel bakery. If modern life were a fairy tale, this is the part where the villagers, driven mad with collective hysteria over the Frankenfood, are storming its castle armed not with pitchforks and torches, but with plastic cutlery and Instagram. This is madness.
Not only is freaking out over cronuts even more absurd than freaking out over cupcakes (no one is photographing a cupcake in the Rain Room), they're harmful to the minds of the people who care about them for the same reason they're harmful to the waistline of the assholes who pay $70 to have them delivered to their Cobble Hill brownstones — they're junk food. And while lord knows the occasional sweet distraction is good for the soul, a diet rich in Sometimes Foods like the cronut can lead to a person huffing and puffing after climbing a few flights of stairs or trying to process, you know, actual news. The other day, Hoda and Kathie Lee were yammering on about crookies (which are not what they sound like, which is a dessert that has been convicted of a felony) and as I watched the clip, I actually felt myself getting stupider.
It's food. You put it in your face, chew, swallow, and eventually it comes out the other end. Everyone calm down. Everyone calm down and get me a Cronut.