DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the proper way to eat a cupcake when one is not given a fork? Should I ask for a fork? I always seem to make a mess without one.
GENTLE READER: The cupcake is the fried chicken of the dessert world: It should properly be eaten only informally or with family, where it may be picked up with the hands -- and the mess and facial decorations are part of the fun.
Since the turn of the modern century, however, it has become common to serve cupcakes at weddings and other formal settings, often without the accompanying and necessary utensils. The results have been, as you say, a disaster.
Guests have had to get creative. Miss Manners has even witnessed the advent of frosting sandwiches, where consumers take off the bottom half of the cake and place it on top.
But if hosts insist on serving cupcakes outside of children’s birthday parties, their guests will be obliged to ask for the proper implements. Tablecloths, silk dresses and upper lips will be eternally grateful.