At the recent Green Fest environmental expo, lawyer-turned-cakemaker-turned-Food Network celebrity Warren Brown spoke from the D.C. Convention Center's main stage not about cupcakes, but about sex. Well, eventually. The Sugar Rush host's first priority was plugging CakeLove's new "Green Label" line–a raft of baked goods friendly to vegans, those with gluten allergies or celiac disease, and dieters just looking to avoid love handles. For vegans, there are ginger-pecan scones. Gluten-haters can embrace cheesecake. And anyone can enjoy yellow and chocolate cakes and cupcakes–they're available in vegan, gluten-free, reduced fat, and all-natural sugar varieties.
Brown's lecture was called, "Community without Walls." And as the screen behind him flashed close-up images of cake batters and frosting, I and other eco-active audience members munched on vegan cupcakes and
gluten-free brownies (both were semi-bland but very moist at the appropriate room temp). Once the Green Label plug was over, he switched gears to sex-ed. We loved it in junior high, and it still gets the blood flowing.
Brown, who once worked as a health educator, is making it his mission to refashion the birds n' bees curriculum in our city's public schools. Teens, he says, shouldn't be scared to ask about sex. The current dialogue, he urged, isn't enough. Brown then turned his focus to supporting gay marriage. First it was prefaced with "our message," on behalf of CakeLove, but he quickly switched his language to, "I believe."
So how does all this talk of sex and gay rights relate to chocolate buttercream and Crunchy Feet cakes? I asked that during the post-lecture q-and-a. Brown responded with a semi-sarcastic metaphor about condoms: If his cupcakes are served with comprehensive instructions—to enjoy at room temperature—why can't the same clarity be employed to make condoms more user-friendly?
Brown also linked baking and sex when he talked about birthdays. He hopes to start charting trends in birthday seasons, noting when they peak and when they dip. Then, he'd use this data to calculate peak conception times–and amp up production of aphrodisiacs like chocolate treats.
The talk of sex and gay rights was somewhat surprising, but added another dimension to Brown's not-your-average baker shtick. He may be more visible at public rallies, town council meetings and political campaign events. Maybe with some vegan cupcakes in hand.