From Longworth to Dirksen, Hill staffers can’t stop talking about cupcakes.
They critique them in elevators. They share recipes over Gchat. And they order them as gifts by the dozen.
Maureen Shanahan, communications director for Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), was out to lunch recently when a colleague emailed her to say a pink box from Georgetown Cupcake had arrived for her at their Rayburn office.
As the colleague put it: “If you don’t get back here soon, they may all be gone!”
Shanahan rushed back to Rayburn. There, a box of “carrot cakes” — her favorite — were waiting for her. It was a birthday gift from a special friend. And when Shanahan made it back, she shared them with colleagues and the Congressman.
“As an office, we all usually pitch in together to pick up cake or cookies,” Shanahan said. “Personally, I prefer the cupcakes.”
The box of cupcakes Shanahan got is a common scene on the Hill. Long gone are the days when a box of chocolates makes for a proper gift for that special someone. Teddy bears are boring and flowers are old-school.
Cupcakes are finding their way into the cloakrooms and inside closed hearings. They’re the “in” gift on the Hill, and the fascination over cupcakes has conquered the mindset of many aides who also walk through the hallways worrying about a government shutdown or the possibility of votes on a Friday.
Like Shanahan, Brian Weiss, spokesman for the Senate Intelligence Committee, says pink boxes from Georgetown Cupcake are an institution in his office. Meredith Griffanti, spokeswoman for Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), says her crew opts for the selection at Buzz in Old Town Alexandria. Brad Goehner of the House Foreign Affairs Committee notes that his colleagues go for Sprinkles Cupcakes (also in Georgetown) or the ones fellow committee staffer Layla Calderon brings to work.
The list goes on. Staffers for Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.) and John Kerry (Mass.) are known to order cupcakes from a variety of places including Hello Cupcake. Employees at agencies are seen stopping at Baked & Wired or Crumbs Bake Shop before work. The Justice Department often orders from Red Velvet in Chinatown. Cupcakes are a favorite of first daughters Sasha and Malia Obama, who are big fans of Serendipity 3 on M Street in Georgetown.
“Although we prefer the cupcake bakeries in our home district of Orange County, our office has many times ordered from Georgetown Cupcake for birthday and other office celebrations. We think they’re the best in the city,” said Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for Sanchez.
Roll Call has launched a new feature, Hill Navigator, to advise congressional staffers and would-be staffers on how to manage workplace issues on Capitol Hill. Please send us your questions anything from office etiquette, to handling awkward moments, to what happens when the work life gets too personal. Submissions will be treated anonymously.