Armed with a remote control, I watched 2020 waltz into town Tuesday night from the comfort of a sofa in Toronto. Ryan Seacrest was at the helm of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in Times Square. Canadian crooner Bryan Adams headlined from Niagara Falls. Just before midnight, I flipped the channels, stumbling across Celebration Square, Mississauga. You can always distinguish the Canadian revelers from the New Yorkers. Canadians dress in smart Canadian winter jackets, laughing in the face of wind, water, and snow. New Yorkers are more fixated on slimming pouffy waist-length jackets and oversized Party City New Year’s eyeglasses. I suspect it’s a cultural thing.
I’m not sorry/sooory to wave good-bye to 2019. It was a year as mercurial as a bowl of egg whites and sugar, with some lofty highs and far too many lows to count. In my line of work, the year spins like the gears on a Kitchen-Aid mixer, accelerating from modest holidays to dangerously high-speed holidays. In the confines of a bakery, we’re in the business of making lives a little sweeter, a little more (or a lot less) gluten-y, a little nutty, unless of course you’re allergic. In most cases, we’re here to help you douse your everyday in caffeine and celebrate with copious amounts of butter and sugar.
A bakery strives for success every single day. When things go wrong, the epic fails feel monumental; until the next one comes along. Some of the failures are out of our control, like oven timers with laryngitis. Others are tethered to human error, cold and flu season, a finite labor pool. Like egg whites and sugar clinging optimistically to the sides of an impeccably grease-free bowl, I dream of success with every pie. I want the crust to be flaky and the filling to be memorable. It should be the kind of pie that announces itself when you carry the bakery box through your front door and set it on the kitchen counter. It should be a pie that beckons you to cut one more sliver before you leave the table and another morning sliver with your first cup of coffee. There’s nothing cavalier about pie baking. Pie is needy and finicky and seldom perfect. On Thanksgiving, all of the pies nag, tugging at the sleeves of my bathrobe. The pies of 2019 were no different.
Not much will change in the minutiae of my New Year. I’m not one for resolutions or monumental adjustments. Maybe I’ll eat more vegetables and fewer cheesy puffs; probably not. A new decade is humbling, reminding us that the oven timer of life continues to tick down. Seasons and holidays will once again tumble one into the other like dominoes, empty pie shells will haunt. Pie-bye, 2019. Sorry to see you go; not sorry.
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm