Since last July, anyone who has wandered beyond the bakery’s espresso machine, meandering through the kitchen, has undoubtedly heard snippets of wedding conversation. Sharing little more than the same title as the 2008 romance drama, the kitchen has been caught up in the happy news that our very own Rachel is getting married. A multi-talented, calm under pressure, early-to-rise 5 am baker, Rachel will walk down the aisle on Friday, June 2nd. Rachel will share her wedding day with the unofficial but very real holiday known as National Doughnut Day.
Created as a fundraiser to help bring awareness to the Salvation Army’s service programs, National Doughnut Day rolled into town in 1938. According to the Salvation Army Website, Chicago was the first city to kick-off the unofficial holiday, now celebrated nationwide on the first Friday in June. During World War I, volunteers known as “Donut Lassies” served coffee and doughnuts to soldiers in the trenches. With the intention of providing emotional, spiritual and high caloric support, Salvation Army Volunteers set up small shelters near the front lines. Restricted by limited space, two crackerjack volunteers, Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance began frying donuts in soldiers’ helmets. The mere thought of that pre-Krispy Kreme donut emporium boggles the mind; frying seven donuts at a time in a military helmet in the hopes of boosting morale. Imagine if Sheldon and Purviance had stumbled upon a few Cambro food storage containers of Bavarian cream, chocolate glaze and multi-colored sprinkles. Not necessarily the recipe for world peace, but pretty darn close.
There is more to June than brides and dunk-able baked goods. June celebrates flags and Fathers, acknowledges the longest day of the year and gives a nod to lemonade. It has also been brought to my attention that strawberry rhubarb pie has garnered an unofficial holiday in June. With access to rhubarb rapidly dwindling, I will do my best to promote one of my favorite pie combinations. To be brutally honest however, the month of May saw the comings and goings of more strawberry rhubarb pies than I could keep track of. Baking a single strawberry rhubarb pie or even two is one of the greatest pleasures of spring. Once those numbers cross over to double (even triple) digits, it is easy to become a fickle pie whisperer. My thoughts now turn towards the currently elusive summer peach. I remind myself that good things come to those who wait. You might say the same thing about weddings.
The next time you tuck your fork into a slice of wedding cake, remember; it takes a small village. Cake batters, mousses, buttercreams all require attention to detail. Today’s cake is dressed in vanilla buttercream punctuated with Swiss dots. This afternoon, as Rachel prepares to step into her wedding dress, her cake will slide into corrugated boxes. The stress of transporting a wedding cake and delivering it unscathed to a skirted cake table is very real. Carefully stacking four tiers of cake atop slender pillars requires nerves of steel. I hope there’s a Krispy Kreme on the return trip.