Wednesday, August 24, 2011

maggot cookies!!

i took: The National Restaurant Association Servsafe(R) Sanitation Manager 15 Hour Certification Course, followed by: The Illinois Department of Public Health Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification Examination. i'm awaiting word from the state, but i'm sure i passed. when i hear from the state, i'll also be asked to mail back the fee for my copy of my certificate, which i'm eager to have for 2 reasons:

first, it's required of home bakers that will want to partake of the recently passed IL Cottage Food Law. it takes effect next year and allows unlicensed home bakers like me to sell their wares at farmer's markets, so long as they have the sanitation certificate, and the food is labeled as being homemade. the language of the bill says that it will allow potential small business owners, who haven't been able to start up yet, to test their product. amen, sister! this recession really stinks, and to have your own business, you either need a fat loan to open a shop, or enough money lying around to rent commercial kitchen space, pay for insurance, advertise... it's involved. but i know i can make a couple hundred cookies and sit in a booth on a Saturday. and if i sell out by 10am, i'll know i'm on to something, and if everyone turns their noses up and walks away, i know i'm not destined to sell in bulk. but i have a feeling that if my cookies were available to a wider audience, there would be enough demand to keep me busy.

which brings me to reason #2: it'll show a potential employer that i'm not kidding about wanting to work in a commercial kitchen. i technically don't need one just to work in a kitchen, but without the certificate, i'd need to be supervised and monitored because i might not know how to properly refrigerate eggs, etc. but now i do! plus i haven't taken any other classes. never took a Wilton cake or cookie class, never went to pastry school. my big claims to "experience" and "education" are years as a cookie hobbyist and ceramics class student, the latter actually involving bread mixers, dough rollers, dry ingredient scales, and large ovens. i'm an art student who ended up using food, not a food student who ended up using art. i need some kind of credentials.

the class was interesting, and fun, and it turns out i knew a lot already and kept sharing my own little anecdotes about my food-employment experiences. i even knew the answer when the instructor asked if we knew the color deemed least appetizing--it's blue. so when i knew it was ok to bring cookies for day 2 of the class, i decided that larvae in an unappetizing color was the way to go--everyone got the joke. i made them the night before and they were so fresh that when i laid one worm over the other to fit in the cellophane bag, the top one drooped and cracked. (but they got the idea) i used meringue powder for these too, and mixed 2 different consistencies so the light blue area was smooth, but the dark blue made little bumps on their backs. eeeeew. :)

on the way, hula pops, and three more birthdays...

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