EXIT MAY, ENTER JUNE
Upon closer re-reading of the above title, it appears I have penned a stage direction. That is not my intention. Though clearly, life in the bakery vacillates daily between dark comedy, (from where I stand) and light tragedy (it’s baked goods, not medical research.) As we tend to say more often than not , you can’t make this stuff up. This week was no exception. Recounting, the highlights featured the preparation, scooping, baking and packaging of 1,000 chocolate chip cookies. My contribution was strictly in the naysaying, dough making and scooping of hundreds (but not all of the) cookies. Repeat after me, “Repetitive Motion Syndrome.” Fortunately for my employer, there are younger, hardier types working around the bench. They are also cheery and less likely to say nay.
May, (who as the week unfolded became more of an evil character than a month) decided in the midst of the chocolate chip cookie-ing and cake baking and butter creaming, to pull the plug on the electrical service throughout our humble Village. It didn’t affect me the way it did my co-workers, because I can roll and crimp pie shells in a black-out, in the sweltering heat. Watching the ice cubes in my iced Americano melt away, the bakery was strangely quiet, blissfully interrupting the 1940s Sonos soundtrack. Yes, it was an inconvenience, almost as inconvenient as the demise of the compressor on the dairy refrigerator. Neck and neck in hilarity with the accidental unplugging of the double door refrigerator that holds just about everything. Almost as much fun as double checking to see if any of the dairy items had spoiled in the refrigeratus-interruptus. Indeed they had. It seems superfluous to mention the shelf in the fondant cake fridge that buckled under the weight of an immense graduation cake. Equally incidental, the misspelling of an individual’s name on a cake requiring surgical precision to remove and correct. Perhaps we are saving lives here?
That was only in the kitchen. Just think of the suffering endured by the patrons. In the midst of the power outage, the espresso machine was down and out. Personally, that was a game-changer. But for the woman fresh from her Pilates class, attired in capri-style black stretchy pants and turquoise tank top, our lack of power was her No Exit. Incredulous, she practically shrieked, “Does this mean you don’t have Wi-Fi??!!” Poor dear.
It is now a new week, a new month and if you stumble upon this on Friday, the 5th day of June, it is National Doughnut Day. Of course, we’ve got you covered for all of your doughnut cookie needs. The idea of eating a doughnut pleases me, but not the post-reality of sugar high/carbo crash. My interest lies elsewhere, in the produce that June does so very well. This week, I am smitten with sweet cherries, despite the fact that they are a bit needy.
In a commercial kitchen, frozen cherries are the only way to fly. Loretta at Hyline Orchards continues to be my go-to cherry gal in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. On the home front however, fresh cherries do not frighten me. Bring on the Bing, mahogany red and perfect in pie and the elusive peachy-hued Rainier to eat by the handful. Members of the stone fruit family (no relation to Sly), it takes a dedicated individual to pit sufficient cherries for a pie. Without the incredibly capable Blondilocks by my side, that leaves yours truly with just a bowl of cherries.
Maybe my love for this fruit stems from youthful consumption of Shirley Temples and Charlotte Russe. Or baking too-many-to-count cherry pies with almond crumble. But after the week that was, I’m leaning towards a grown-up version of the classic cherry lattice. One with a generous splash of bourbon. When the workplace is fraught with pitfalls, a slice of cherry pie couldn’t hurt. End scene.
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Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm