Mooncakes have been causing trouble in China for a while now. Once treasured as luxuries, in the late 20th century they evolved into somewhat common, perfunctory gifts (remember the comparison to fruitcakes). Still the real troubles have only come lately as mooncakes have become vehicles for government corruption. Gourmet versions have become increasingly outlandish and expensive, and enterprising bureaucrats have used them to curry favors from certain high-placed persons. The most enterprising have dispensed with the edible cakes altogether in favor of facsimiles made of solid gold. Oops, how did those get in the box?
Talk about creativity. Back in Chicago where I come from we just use shoeboxes stuffed with cash. Where’s the pizzazz?
Publicity surrounding the scandals has led to a government ban on bureaucratic mooncake gifting this year. That after a mooncake gift tax failed to gain popular support back in 2011.
Fortunately for me, there are no laws banning the gifting of solid gold mooncakes here in the States. Those of you whose project requests might be languishing on my lists, take note: Joe Pastry is open for business!