Yup, I Said It: Red Velvet (Everything) Is Overrated


I don't remember exactly where I was or when it was the first time I tried red velvet cake. If it was like any other of my notable firsts, it likely occurred in a Delta's living room while debating whether the cocker spaniel Noreaga referenced at the beginning of "Superthug" was male or female. But, I don't remember, so I don't know.


What I do remember, though, is how I felt when first trying it. Because it's the exact same way I've felt after every time I've tried it since; a feeling that can best be described as whatever feeling you feel when you say "This is…cool."

Not "This is…bad." Because, aside from this party I went to a couple years ago when someone sat a vanilla cake underneath a pan of green bean casserole and the green bean casserole fumes somehow seeped into the cake making the cake taste like vanilla green bean casserole, I've never had bad cake. Because cake is either great or, at worst, decent. Even stale cake is just hard-ass cake that, in comparison to most other things, still isn't that bad tasting. There are worse things in the world than two-week-old cake. If you put a gun to my head right now and said "eat this two-week-old cake or listen to an entire Big Sean LP," I'd eat the fuck out of that cake.


But, there has never been a point in my life when, after eating some red velvet cake, I thought to myself "Gotdamn! This is amazing! Are you tasting this? Are you seeing my face as I taste this? I need to meet the elf who thought to make a red velvet motherfucking cake! And I will smack the shit out of that red velvet motherfucking cake making elf for making me feel this way. I thought the only red foods I'd ever love would be watermelon and red Kool-Aid. But I was wrong. I was so damn wrong. Give me some more red velvet motherfucking cake."

Apparently, I'm alone in being underwhelmed by red velvet cake. Because just saying the words "red velvet" gets people so verklempt they start finishing your sentences with hysterical red velvet wishes.

"Wait…did you say you're making a red velvet turkey for Thanksgiving this year?"

"You said you only use red velvet condoms? Where do you even get those? Can I have some?"


This wave of red velvet orgasmia crescendoed earlier this month, when Oreo announced they would soon debut red velvet Oreos. Apparently, they're timing this move to coincide with Valentine's Day. Which makes perfect sense. Because red velvet is nothing but chocolate in red spandex, and "Valentine's Day" is nothing but "literally any other day but in a red thong."

Still, if you love red velvet, and you're upset I'm hating on your red velvet cake, your red velvet cookies, and your God-awful red velvet ice cream, don't fret too much. It's a win-win for both of us. I'll continue not to pretend that red velvet is the best thing since the "Superthug" chorus, and you'll have more of these average-ass desserts for yourself.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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