Monday, June 20, 2011

summer school

next month i'll be taking the course to get my Illinois food service sanitation certification. i'll be legally permitted to participate in a baking job. a possible sticking point might be that my exposure to large mixers, ovens, scales, sacks of powder, and dough-rollers were all in ceramics studios, but it was 10 semesters of ceramics, from high school to post-college. upon my graduation from high school, i was planning to make alien foreheads for Star Trek-- i mentioned a few months ago, once i got to know fondant, i found it's really just another modeling clay. honestly, all i learned in sculpture and pottery taught me enough to make a passable wedding cake. except a crumb coat. still working on those.

but i'm not the only one getting smarter--Brenda's 5 daughters concluded another school year and their many teachers all got some cookies for a year well-taught. they are:

chicks--the only chick cookie cutter i had was the single bird, so i flipped him over, cut a space in the foreground, and added a buddy.

shoes and purses-- these are ok, but i'm still in the prototype-area for how i like to make sexy girly accessory cookies. but i'm a little weak on sexy-girly lately. i only started carrying a purse again, and my husband still calls it a diaper bag. and my favorite shoes are some ancient Birkenstocks. one ever orders old sandal cookies. mine would be awesome...

"something with the Wizard of Oz" the house was a bit dark, and needed some white windy swirls to show that it was moving 'over the rainbow' not parked there, or falling on the Emerald City below. i'd happily do this scene again, but i'd make some adjustments. a good first run.

lambs and shepherd's hooks--the chicks shoes and rainbows were for 3 individuals. the rest were for groups, and these were for the Sunday school teachers. same sugared-icing-dot technique as the Easter sheep and clouds, and i even found a great photo of a lamb and copied it's eye shape.

these were for music teachers. now that i have food-writing pens, i can do sheet music.

and when i got to the last of my icing, i made some strange shades of purples and browns and greens and iced some moons and stars with earth tones, then dusted them with different colors of pearl dust.

this was a challenging order. believe it or not, it's actually kind of easier to do 200 of one kind, than 30, 6 different ways. with the former, it's assembly line. repetition. you get in a zen kind of groove. with many kinds, you have to plan what gets iced what color and when. you have to spread your work out even farther so you don't get green sugar on the pink cookies. you count a lot. but i know that in this dream job of mine, there will be scary orders. i'll have some mother-in-law micromanaging a baby shower, i'll have a bridezilla or two. but that's why i do these friends-and-family orders. i like the challenge. i keep at it so it starts becoming automatic--like how i'm getting to where i can measure out the amount of icing i need just by eyeballing it. i'm looking at these home projects like a kind of self-imposed one-person internship. and like how Columbia taught fiction writing by making you write a little more "out there" than most American audiences would require (making "just right" a piece of cake), i look at all the weird wonderful kinds of complicated effects i can find or invent, even if it's totally unlikely that i'll make any money off of a cookie that takes 23 steps to decorate. (but i'll know how!)

thanks Brenda, for your educational order! coming soon, Taylor's final 'tween' birthday, Grace and Andrew's summer co-birthday, and what to bake for Dad's birthday--a stumper...

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