Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jamie's dresses

this is my favorite kind of order--one that starts with "oooh! you should call katie!" long story short, there have been parties this year featuring my cookies. one guest, former coworker Mary Jo, passed my website along to her daughter Jamie who wanted a fun way to surprise her friends with the big question. she wanted to leave it up to me, citing a creativity shortage on her part, but i said how about a color, or a picture you like, and she sent back one of pastel dresses hanging side by side, and a preference for blue. so i sent back this sketch.
i traced the dress cutter twice, and the mini bell twice for the dress combo, and showed 2 choices for the text. the two have the same motif with the question marks and hangers. once i got a thumbs up from Jamie, i had the big idea to try meringue powder.

my mother and i have been using the same icing recipe since at least the mid 80s. it involves egg whites, and we've never had one complaint about it. raves and requests yes, but not a peep about egg-related dissatisfaction. that said, our plan, once these cookies were done, was to drive them to Mary Jo, who will mail them out to Jamie's friends, as Jamie is in AZ and her friends are all over, like MN. i wasn't exactly worried for the cookies making these journeys, and i mused at those little million-to-one disasters that only happen to your package on the leaky truck, or in the hot weather, and i thought, why not try an alternate to egg whites, because one day we'll need to. this order has intricate piping, travelling, and the deadline was kinda soft, so if i hated it, i could start over. it seemed a good time to dabble.

it took some getting used to. it was a lot thicker, it dried with a glossier finish, and the cookie remained firmer. plus it didn't have that not-quite-dry, not-quite-dense, airiness from whipped egg whites. the meringue powder provided the elasticity, but not the slight fluff. the end result was a little more taffeta than organza, but still pretty with pearl dragees, pearl dust, and opal sugar. Jamie said they were a hit and all 4 ladies said yes. congrats! and thanks Jamie and Mary Jo for a fun order.

i look forward to a few valentines, marriage proposals, etc. it's such a fun way to pass a message. my favorite kind of art has always been the kind that translates and idea. when i was little i cut out snowflakes and papered the windows in wintertime. the view out the window wasn't enough, it had to be a perpetual flurry. in high school i didn't feel compelled to write a script or act it, but i thought make-up and model building were awesome--as important as the acting or writing, it was the visuals that got you there. Jamie could have sent some blank chocolates and a card, but here's the iconic image of the bridesmaid's duty, "The Dresses," all bright and edible and cheerful. there's that moment when your eyes stop seeing icing on a cookie and they see the picture. like when the paper snowflakes in the window become the weather outside. it's a neat thing to conjure up in people. and then they get to eat it! win-win!
ladies, i hoped you enjoyed your surprise, and to all, stay tuned for angels, stars, trees, more stars, snow, and a metagingerbread man.

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