STICKY FINGERS IN THE BAKERY
There is a pie thief among us, and I am determined to get to the bottom of it. Not among “us” as in the worker bees, but among the patrons who cross the butter yellow-chocolate brown linoleum flooring.
Last weekend, between the hours of 4:00pm on Saturday (when I fled) and 8:00am Sunday morning (when the bakery opened) someone snagged a pie that wasn’t theirs to snag. This has haunted me all week- a decent, law abiding individual ordered and paid for a Key Lime Pie to pick up on Sunday. Sunday arrived and sadly, that customer left empty handed because someone else felt a sense of pie superiority. It is a sad, sad world when sweetened condensed milk and key lime juice are no longer safe in their own graham cracker pie shell. Without being there to see the tragedy play out, I can only imagine that the perpetrator was no doubt attired in summer turquoise running togs. Running through the door and seeing the line, she maps out a master plan while waiting for her iced decaf latte with soy, no, almond milk. Let’s call this patron, Miss Scarlet. Scarlet is probably a non-baker, compelled to host a Father’s Day gala, and is empty handed in the dessert department. Approaching the counter, she catches a glimpse of fresh lime zest and whipped cream rosettes peering through a windowed pie box with a ticket attached that says ‘paid.’ She pays for the beverage and backs away from the counter. Gathering up someone else’s pie, she advances towards the door. Nonchalantly pausing to sweeten her drink with of course, Agave, Exit, Miss Scarlet. Perhaps not, but it certainly wasn’t Professor Plum.
I have my own share of problems this week, attempting to navigate the onslaught of stone fruit that is in season. Purple plums, sweet nectarines, and cherries, both Bing and Rainier, with whom I have a love/hate relationship. Stubbornly clinging to their little pits makes a pie girl such as myself, terribly concerned that an errant pit may find its way into a pie. These are the things that keep me up at night.
In addition to the riot of stone fruit and summer berries, I am besieged with math challenges. Pints and quarts, cups and ounces, a mathematical nightmare. This is when I wish I had paid attention to the chapter on the metric system. Particularly the accompanying worksheet detailing “fruits in relation to measuring cup equivalencies.” But I did not, and so the multi quart Cambro containers and Pyrex measuring cups mock me as I struggle to weigh the fruit and generously fill the pie shells. Sequestered in my metric system math hell, I turn my shoulder on the cake department.
It’s been rough on the other side of the bench for the cakers, but how they do go on. Endless back and forth about inscriptions and some sort of pink buttercream crisis; “The woman said soft pink, but not too soft, you know, pretty pink, but not ballet slipper pink…” plus cake dreams dashed when we nix the marshmallow meringue because of the extreme heat. This is why I maintain the position that when you toil in a bakery, cake remains a four letter word.
In my own little kitchen, an attempt to incorporate a small basket of fresh figs with 18 oz., (or 510 grams) of blackberries, means it is imperative to secure the correct baking dish. This is where I falter. Amidst the fluted tart and tartlet pans is a collection of cobalt blue star shaped ramekins. They once bubbled over with summer fruits during my stint at a Philly restaurant that featured the name ‘Stella,’ meaning star. (No relation whatsoever to Stanley’s STELLAAAHHH!) I don’t want the blue ramekins, I’m looking for the lime green baking dishes. And when I unearth them from the bottom of the cabinet, all I can think about is lime, and key lime, and who took the pie and how they should be punished.
When I catch her, and I will, Miss Agave Sweetened Iced Decaf Almond Milk Latte, aka Scarlet, she will pay. Completion of the “fruits in relation to measuring cup equivalencies” worksheet is just the beginning. Walk off with a pie that isn’t yours? Poor Miss Scarlet, she hasn’t got a clue.
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Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm