One of the most important pieces of information I was ever given was this: be memorable. It doesn’t matter what you are trying to do, from a job interview to a college application, if someone doesn’t remember who you are they can’t give you what you want. We all try to stand out, and some succeed more than others. However, in my experience there is only one fail safe way that works irregardless of whether one is an introvert or extrovert.
Possibly due to the evolutionary benefit of forming and focusing memories around food sources, food, its taste and its smell, is an evocative experience. Many of the hormones that regulate our digestion, appetite, and eating behavior have receptors in the hippocampus, the part of the brain dedicated to long term declarative memories. We all have certain foods which make us think of specific places, people, and/or events. Eating homemade mound bars on Christmas for me always brings back the good ghosts of Christmas past. It’s part of the joy of the holidays, not only enjoying that particular day of happiness with your family, but reliving and appreciating all of the other happy days in years gone past. Food is an amplifying effect. Now, why can’t this effect be used at an interview, a company party, or a networking event?
I should also mention that I am from the middle class midwest, where you ALWAYS bring food wherever you go. At any house party or company event, cookies, cake, or some sort of dip comes along too. My grandmother sends me mixes all the time, complete with suggestions as to how I can use them to build my social capital and network. It pains me to see this practice of baking go out of favor. For one thing, the faces passing through are not as memorable. For another, the act of feeding each other is filled with such compassion, and brings out such warmth. You can tell when a party is full of homemade food, not just party trays from Costco. Maybe it’s because by making our favorite recipes to share, we also bring in to that event all the good memories that went into making that dish our go-to favorite. Or even if it is a new dish, we can relate the excitement of a new accomplishment with our peers. On my latest food providing opportunity, Jesse had helped with the baking. As we shared our pumpkin spice latte cupcakes, what was also shared was my thankfulness to the wonderful boyfriend who would help me in my baking endeavors. There might have been a few cutsie awwws, but through our cooking, a little of that warmth we share with each other was shared with the room. In just a few moments, countless amounts was communicated about Jesse, me, and our relationship with each other. I don’t think I am going out on a limb here by saying that the impressions received were both favorable and memorable.
This Week in Updates: Portland and Portland State
Once again I took a weekend in Portland, and the time proved to be interesting. For the first part, due to being sick and having to pack for both the weekend and duty, I left my phone and my computer charge cord at home. I admit to panicking at first, and wondering just how much I would have to spend to last minute taxi home, then to the airport. After awhile though, knowing that as long as Jesse and I found each other I would have access to both a phone and the internet, I resigned myself to a weekend exercise in unplugging. Do I miss my phone? Yes. How else am I supposed to read the New York Times? But did I survive? The answer is also, yes.
The second interesting part was attending a class and meeting a professor from the Portland State MURP program. Both were engaging, wonderful, and helpful, and I was pleasantly surprised at the student body. Truly, the Portland State Urban Planning program is filled with people of all ages and from all walks of life. Not dissuaded by numerous remarks of the rigor of the course, I am very excited to apply and (hopefully) attend! Jesse was with me, and this was the site of the fabled pumpkin spice latte cupcakes. It was wonderful to have him there, and super helpful to have his second opinion on the feasibility and fit of the program. Needless to say, the cupcakes were quite the hit, and I was pleased as punch to see them all disappear quickly, along with any new people awkwardness previously present.
The Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
This week’s recipe is brought to you by Loving it Vegan, for her fantastic Pumpkin Vegan Cupcakes. Trust her (and me) on using the insane amount of pumpkin spice, as it pays off in the long run. My only critique is that you really don’t need the flax egg, since you are using gluten flour. I didn’t, and the recipe turned out great! To help add to the fat content, I also put in some of Jesse’s homemade walnut butter. The frosting is my major contribution, consisting of easy to get natural ingredients (vegan butter=bleh!) turning these cupcakes into an edible version of a Starbuck’s classic.
These pumpkin spice latte cupcakes were delicious, and helped me make quite the impression at an interview! A delicious vegan take on a Starbucks classic.
- For the cupcakes:
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 cup White Sugar
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 and 1/2 cups Pumpkin Puree
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil (trust, this really works!)
- 1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tbs nut butter
- For the frosting:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup coconut oil (solid)
- 4 tbs strong coffee
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbs ground espresso beans
- Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 12 cupcake, cupcake pan.
- Combine the wet cupcake ingredients in one bowl, and the dry ingredients in another. This is an important step, as it won't work if you mix all the ingredients together initially.
- Now, combine all ingredients together and RIGHT AWAY pour into the cupcake pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove when fork going in and comes out completely clean. Let cupcakes cool completely.
- After cupcakes have cooled, blend all the frosting ingredients together.
- Because the heat of the blender will melt the coconut oil a little bit, chill in the fridge until solid enough to work with.
- Frost your cupcakes and enjoy!