Wednesday, May 28, 2014

dancing the cookie shuffle

And I’ve returned.  Where have I been?  Baking chocolate chip cookies and banana bread at the library.  Good feedback, more on the job later.  Also picking up my kid from the bus stop, and laundry, and I still have no internet at home, so getting more than 140 characters out of me can be tricky.  I’d save myself a trip if I could text on a smart phone while driving, but my phone is not smart, and I am, so in short (not really) it’s much ado getting my pics posted.   
These were from a weekend in [March?] when many dancers convened at The Hemmens in Elgin.  It just so happens that yours truly performed there—ballet, tap, and tumbling—in my very young days.  Recitals were at The Hemmens, but class was in Bartlett, a ride across town on the back on mom’s bike, at the park district’s odd little log cabin in a park off Oak St.  It was one of those little clubhouses where you’d have ballet class on Friday, and someone could rent it for a baby shower on Saturday, then next Tuesday the township trustees would have a budget meeting, or something.  Anyway, I twirled and tapped and tumbled, and our teacher would send each of us off after class with one of those daisy-shaped shortbread cookies with the hole in the middle, just the right size for a 5-year-old’s pinky, and I’d ride home in my yellow bike seat pretending my finger was wearing a tutu.  So imagine my happy little sense of purpose to be making pretty ballerina butterfly cookies for young aspiring dancers.  I had a 'gone-full-circle' kind of contentment. 

About the rest of the job.  Firstly, people keep calling me a pastry chef.  You need credentials to be called “a chef” and I don’t have ’em, and “pastry” actually encompasses more than I know.  I’m kind of hit or miss on pie crusts for example.  I didn’t take the class, and I rarely make pie.  Never made a scone, croissant, madeleine, popover, éclair, or benier.  I prefer say I’m a baker, and I’d like to think that because I’ve been baking since forever, and because my mom always said if you can read you can cook, I’m sure I can make all the things I just listed once I studied the recipe, and gave it a try or two.   
But what I really bake from week to week are:  cookies, especially chocolate chip; banana bread, or I switch out the bananas for zucchini, pumpkin, apple, carrot; bar cookies like brownies and what Grandma called “hello dolly” bars; “truffles” like brownie- or peanut-butter-pretzel-balls dipped in chocolate; and the occasional cupcake.  Basically the stuff a mom bakes, only I bake it in volumes to fill the front case.   
And when I stated that I’m the sole baker, that was a bit of a misnomer as well.  If it’s advantageous for someone else at one of the other locations to bake a couple pans of brownies, then they bake them.  And if they cater a wedding the weekend I’m having my fantasy butt-lift, they’ll find a way to dip some truffles.  It’s just that of all the employees, I’m the one that was hired to bake first, and then do sandwich stuff.  And when something fancy is ordered, like lemon bars for that thing at the library, or some footprint cookies for a baby shower, it’s my project.  And, more often than I’d like because I like baking all fresh and natural, some of our baked goods are from a boxed mix, or premade from a vendor, so again, I don’t do all the baking.  But yeah, I’m the go-to gal for dessert.   
And it’s pretty awesome that I can bake cookies and sell them at the library.  I can’t get over how quaint that is.  I get all nerdly about it.  Meanwhile, pics at this end of the post are the ones I had on my phone.  I make something neat at work and realize I don’t have my camera, so i resort to the cell, then when I’m on my computer, I don’t have the memory card thingy to upload them.  Yeah, baking by the seat of my pants.  And knowing me I probably sat in brownie batter.  Ha!   
So next I have some wedding cookies that weren’t for a wedding, and some evidence of my prowess in marketing.  And I will still be making pretty cookies.  And I will still be taking pictures of them.  I just have to sit down and do my homework.  
 Till then, happy lead in to summer, and we got all new fancy coffee at the library, so come on in…

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