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I’m a big believer in canceling out gym-burned calories by eating something hi-cal and unhealthy afterward.

Today after a workout, having discovered that Cornucopia, the little Italian market and sandwich shop near our gym, was cruelly and inexplicably closed (the owner is Italian; is he really out whooping it up over Herbert Hoover?), I stopped by Bethesda’s outlet of Le Pain Quotidien. Still sweaty and hardly fit to dine among the posh, I nabbed a savory cheese muffin and a cup of hot chocolate from Cacao and vamoosed—-only to discover that I’d been victim of one of my bakery pet peeves: The paper around the cheesy treat was alternately a) so welded to the side of the muffin that I had to use fingernails to scrape it off (mostly unsuccessfully) and b) actually cooked into the muffin itself. The batter had overflowed the paper and run down its sides, so on the parts of the paper I could peel, I also pried off about one third of the muffin. Even with much of the wrapping removed, I ate several bites of savory paper-muffin.

What I had of nonpapery muffin was decent enough, cheesy, peppery, streaked with chives, but slightly stale and overly dense to my taste. The hot chocolate from Cacao, though (I chose the 60 percent cocoa iteration), more than made up for the muffin mishap. Paper free and decadently rich, the drink washed the paper down perfectly. If I belch up a sheet of stationery later today, I plan to write to Le Pain Quotidien and give them un piece de mon cerveau.

By the way, I have encountered this issue in many a commercial muffin, but never in a commercial cupcake. Is this a coincidence, or is there some difference between muffinry and cupcakery that makes muffins more inclined to rise and swallow their enclosures? Are cupcakes inherently more dainty, each wrapper filled with a more precise hand so that the cupcakes will sit primly within their paper panties, precise as a line of debutantes underneath their frills of buttercream frosting? Or are muffins just angrier? Are they resentful that they usually get eaten only at breakfast, the most skipped meal in America?

Image by Flickr user Dharmabum60