Taking a page from Miraclesuits, I add a ‘distraction’ ruffle, horizontal stripes, a cinched waist and a ruffled skirt. The cookies instantly look pounds lighter. Desi Arnaz’s rendition of “Cuban Pete” is in full swing on Sonos, adding the slightest spring to my step. Rita and I talk over each other as we recap the “Cuban Pete” episode of I Love Lucy for the baristas. They have no idea what we are talking about.
I need to have a word with Barista Keenan’s mother. This is the second time in a few short weeks that Keenan has placed an order for lemon bars. I’m sorry Keenan, you’re a fine fellow and I know I said yes, but I don’t want to make the citrusy bar cookies with the shortbread base. It seems to me that Keenan and his mother could have lemon bars at the drop of a hat if they learned how to bake them at home. They deserve the joyful experience of whisking together sugar, freshly squeezed lemon juice and eggs. Who am I to monopolize the thrill of painstakingly transferring the lemon mixture to a hot pre-baked crust? Let the two of them bond over the moment the liquid filling sloshes over the side as they coax the warped sheet pan into the oven.
The oven timer indicates the pies need another 30 minutes. They are barely beginning to bubble around the edges and smell vaguely of peach. I lower the oven temperature and slide the lemon bar crust onto a vacant shelf.
Clamshells of blueberries are giving me the eye although my initial pie plan had featured a different summer crop. Though deceptively blush-pink and yellow on the outside, the fuzzy freestones have proven less than peachy on the inside. I’m disgruntled; the heat is as thick as marshmallow fluff on a s’mores cupcake and my bandana is restricting the air flow. There’s a young mom at the front counter attired in a breezy calico dress. She is balancing a toddler on her hip, a chubby-cheeked little boy sporting a straw hat. I want that hat. It has a brim suitable for providing shade plus open webbing for ample ventilation. In keeping with our dress code, I’m certain a thin ribbon could be fashioned out of my bandana and tied around the hat’s crown. I must mention this to the other bakers when things calm down.
There’s been quite a flurry of excitement around the bench. Rachel, our talented and stalwart early morning baker returned from a beach weekend sporting an engagement ring. Wedding bells continued to ring as methodically as a fully charged ipad oven timer. On Tuesday we learned that another one of the am team, Margarita, was getting married. The news sent cake pans flying. Rita armed herself with a piping bag suitably fitted for the application of Swiss dots.
At 1 pm on Thursday, we gathered to toast the bride-to-be. Paper espresso cups bubbled over with Prosecco. Speedy Icer brought in her exquisite bridal headpiece for the bride’s consideration as something ‘borrowed’. Rita assembled a cake filled with Nutella and espresso buttercream while Elisabeth fashioned a spectacular cake topper out of fondant. Lori’s participation required nerves of steel and a steady hand; she was delivering the two-tiered cake in 90+ degree heat.
Kiersten is to be commended for coaxing the happy news from the shy bride-to-be and Ann is a champ for covering Margarita’s 5 am shift on Saturday. My send-off gift to the bride was ‘something blue’ or in this case, something blueberry. Yes, it takes a village. We wish you a happily ever after, Margarita filled with wuv, twue wuv.