Our team of butter-sugar-flour enablers have arrived at the other side of Thanksgiving, and not a minute too soon. The am crew overlapped with the pm crew, as days slid seamlessly into nights then back again into daybreak. Wedged elbow to elbow around a worktable covered in scales, mixing bowls, and flats of organic eggs, we crossed the checkerboard linoleum, from bench to walk-in to bench then oven, bruising our hips on every corner of unforgiving stainless steel.
Working eight consecutive days in a row makes you a little punchy in the end. Even the convection ovens feel it, taking their own sweet time when you’re tapping your kitchen clogs, or taunting with hotspots when you run downstairs to fetch more pumpkin. Ovens are like children, requiring constant babysitting. Straining to hear the oven timer over the din of the kitchen, it is imperative to stand at the ready, poised to rotate, adjust, and retrieve.
Every year there are lessons learned and this Thanksgiving was no different. A few new challenges reared their ugly heads requiring the following notes-to-self.
1. Pizza is truly the official food leading up to Thanksgiving.
2. Never underestimate the importance of commercial plastic wrap in a commercial kitchen. Minuscule rolls of Saran Wrap laugh in the face of holidays.
3. Hot ovens run too hot, slow ovens are too damn slow. Oven timers think it’s funny to turn themselves off. For this reason, it is imperative to stock your bakery medicine cabinet with plenty of analgesics and anti-inflammatories.
4. Oven racks like to glide into place some of the time. When least convenient, they will struggle, splashing hot buttermilk custard in your direction, specifically towards the exposed area where oven mitt ends and bare skin begins.
5. You cannot coax pumpkin pies to bake faster. They could care less about your stress level and will show their defiance with unsightly cracks.
6. Apple pies appear to be easy going but in fact, they are prima donnas who complain about their delicate complexions being exposed to the top rack of a convection oven.
7. Soft apples (I’m looking at you, Cortland) have their place, namely in applesauce. They should best stay home and decline any invitations to the apple pie party.
8. Canned pumpkin should have a lift-top tab opening. Canned pumpkin requires
a lift-top tab opening.
9. The oven mitt with the hole in it that you swore you threw away will return time and again. You will reach for it and wear it when removing the weightiest, hottest sheet pan from the top shelf of the oven.
10. People who don’t eat enough pie on a regular basis are cranky in general and more so when they are told they can’t have a pie because they didn’t order one.
11. People who eat lots of pie all the time are less cranky until they are told they can’t have a pie because they didn’t order one.
12. Pie seekers who forget to order their pie are sneaky, cajoling, and ultimately belligerent.
13. Pie scalping is really a thing amongst pie purchasers with one too many pies.
(This was confirmed by a highly reliable source; someone who witnessed the event outside the bakery.)
14. Pie bakers should absolutely squirrel away their preferred non-traditional fruit pie fixings in the freezer. They should bake that pie and eat the leftovers, if any, for breakfast on Black Friday.
15. We should seriously consider moving Thanksgiving from November to February 29th.
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm