I like to think that my knowledge of the food world and its holidays is rather far reaching. Imagine my surprise to learn that September 28th was a brand spanking new food holiday and I missed it. This one sounded more legit than National Acorn Squash Day (which fell on the 7th) and the rapidly approaching Hot Mulled Cider Day (up and coming on the 30th.) Apparently, September 28th marked the unveiling of the very first National Bakery Day. Who knew such a thing even existed?! As far as I’m concerned, the holiday was cloaked in a veil of ganache. Neither notified nor encouraged to celebrate, I would like to know how the very first National Bakery Day slipped through my food service gloved fingers? More importantly, who was responsible for this oversight?
Never mind. After a little digging, I unearthed the simple, ugly truth. The Retail Bakers of America created the holiday, a holiday sounding suspiciously like a marketing vehicle. This leaves me no choice but to bear a grudge against Retail Bakers. If pressed, I’ll admit my grudge is not with the bakers, it’s with the retail.
It’s quite possible that one of the reasons I was unaware of the inaugural holiday was because there was no mention of it at work. My workplace is notorious for marking even the smallest of holidays with at the very least, a decorated sugar cookie, if not a cupcake topper. Not a single word was uttered in reference to Retail Bakers and their holiday. I took a sip of coffee from my slightly warped eco-friendly-ish Styrofoam cup. Lining up my ingredients for Honey Cakes (a cake that celebrates a holiday steeped in tradition, Yom Kippur) it was easy to overhear the rumblings about a potential custom cake order. The conversation swirled around me.
From what I could gather from my side of the bench, the cake in question was to feature fondant work capturing a birthday getaway. Since the destination was Niagara Falls, it seemed the customer wanted a replica of a barrel going over the falls. Maybe it’s me, but does anything say, “I Love You” more than your likeness sculpted out of gum paste, encased in a fondant barrel, plunging into a buttercream pool of Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls? I think not. (Note to family: my likeness fashioned out of gum paste need never embellish any cakes served at future birthday celebrations. Ditto for fondant.) As the conversation continued to spin out of control, it seemed like the opportune moment to unearth a new bottle of Jim Beam from my basement stash. Not for me, mind you, but as an integral honey cake ingredient. (Okay, maybe just the barest thimbleful for the baker, in her coffee, as a medicinal agent. Cold and flu season, you know.)
Why the Retail Bakers of America felt the need to inaugurate their holiday on September the 28th is anyone’s guess. I will venture to suggest that the upcoming Voldemort of pie holidays has something to do with it. We are a mere 50+ days away from what sends the spreadsheets of retail bakers into the black. The Retail Bakers of America want to make sure we’re on board, counting down the days as we catapult towards prime holiday season. Don’t worry- I’m standing by with pie plates and abacus poised.
In a perfect bakery world, there would be a pause, a chance to enjoy the beauty of autumn before being run over by a steamroller of holidays. Instead, we are being assaulted by pumpkins and pilgrims and stuffing mix before we’ve finished our Yom Kippur fast and grabbed forty winks in our Sukkah. I would like a few weeks to enjoy the glorious assortment of apples and slow-to-ripen pears that are stacked high along the back wall of the bakery.
But it’s too late. The 5am crew has already unearthed the No. 10 cans of Libby’s pumpkin, mixing it with cold cubes of sweet butter, gluten free flour, and dotting it with chocolate chips. I am digging my gluten-crusted sneakers into the checkered linoleum, putting a hold on pumpkin pies until October officially arrives. There’s plenty of time for blind-baked shells and gratings of nutmeg, lashings of cinnamon. Cranberries are leaping at the chance to mingle with the apples and the oatmeal crumble, but I’m not there yet. I’m clinging to September, tossing a mix of crimson apples with the last of the summer raspberries. Maybe I’ll save a slice in celebration of the 30th. It’s bad enough missing both National Acorn Day and National Bakery Day. I’ll be damned if I let Hot Mulled Cider Day slink out of town without me.
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm