In the intervening years, largely through photo-friendly social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram, they have coated the entire world of baking — and beyond. Rainbow sprinkles (also known as Funfetti and unicorn food) first invaded cookies and waffles; then marched on, swarming over cocktails and croissants, and finally, as a design motif, onto phone cases, scented candles and press-on nails.
The movement began in 1989, when Pillsbury introduced a Funfetti cake mix, a white cake mix with multicolored sprinkles included in the box. The revolutionary twist: The sprinkles were for coloring the batter, not for decorating the top. In a hot oven, the sprinkles melted into streaks and dots of bright color that instantly made plain cake obsolete for a certain demographic: kids.
In a land where most magazines have the lifespan of a fruit fly, how is it possible for one magazine to survive — and thrive — for 75 years? Janet Hutchings has a theory: “The great power that Frederic Dannay gave this magazine was its variety and its reach.”
Hutchings was referring to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and she was invoking the name of its founding editor, Frederic Dannay, who, along with his cousin Manfred B. Lee, collaborated to produce the short stories and novels of the pseudonymous mystery writer Ellery Queen, selling somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 million books. Hutchings is now the magazine’s editor, and she offered her theory about its longevity at a symposium that launched a delightful new show, “Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine 75th Anniversary Exhibition,” which is now at the Butler Library at Columbia University in New York.
The concept of snobbery is deeply complex, as the literary critic and biographer DJ Taylor cleverly explores in his “definitive guide” to snobs. Snobbery is a form of social superiority, but it can also be a moral failing. Snobs may laud it over others, but we, in turn, despise and punish them for it.
Whether or not ghosts are real is beside the point, Colin Dickey tells us in the first lines of “Ghostland.” Rather, what compels him in this appealing book is the meaning of haunted places in contemporary American culture. “How do we deal with stories about the dead and their ghosts?” Dickey asks. “How do we inhabit and move through spaces that we have deemed haunted?”