Friday, December 23, 2011

Spreading Holiday Joy


Nothing brightens up these dark winter days so much as the smiles we see everyday when people stumble in out of the wind and cold into our warm and bright bakery with it's amazing smells and colorful array of festive treats. It is one of the times of year we are especially grateful for our job and the satisfaction that it brings. The family of people who have been using our services to round out their celebrations is very loyal, we have been around long enough to become a part of their own family traditions, it is a responsibility we have learned to take very seriously. As in any small town, when things don't go so well, even if folks don't directly call the store to complain, for certain it will come up the next time we are in line at the grocery store! To stem these embarrassing moments, we have become quite good at assessing our limits and working within them at as high a level possible. We count and recount the orders, like Santa checking his list...we must be extra sure we have what we need and then try to make a little extra just in case. That method has seemed to work pretty well in recent years, and as long as I remember to put sugar in the pumpkin pie...we are good to go! Once, about 10 years ago, I had the most amazing homer grown pumpkins for Thanksgiving pies...I roasted them to golden perfection, pulled out the slimy seeds and mixed the golden flesh into a rich spicy filling. the pies were truly beautiful and I sent each and every one of them off with pride. The friday after, I went to work still basking in the glow of a job well done when a man walks in with a bakery box and all but throws it at me across the counter. "This is the worst pie I have ever tasted...you ruined our holiday dinner!" All the blood drained from my face as I'm certain he got the response he was looking for. My head was swimming, what could have gone wrong? I gave him a fast refund with a bewildered, but sincere apology and turned my attention to the pie...the minute it hit my tongue I knew what I had done. In my excitement over the great pumpkin I completely forgot the sugar! It wasn't horrible, like he said...it was spicy and custardy but definitely not sweet. I immediately ran down the list of who had bought those pies and contacted each one apologizing and arranging refunds...I swallowed a huge portion of my pride that day, it took quite a while to digest! Now, I've learned my lesson and I take a little taste of every single thing I make. I think that makes me a better cook, or at least a more consistent one.
 Which is very important when your job is spreading joy. 

Have a wonderful Holiday!







3 comments:

Rose said...

Before I opened a bakery, I was a river guide on the Colorado River. We had a saying, "The river makes you humble." And as a twenty-something, bikini-bod, cocky young lass I learned my lessons fast (and sometimes furiously). The kitchen does the same...how many tarts come out beautifully...only to have the wind blow them off the farmers market stand, the dogs pee on the potted flower display, the kid with a runny nose sneeze all over the place. I am truly grateful for the beauty and love that baking inspires, I am also grateful that wily coyote keeps me alert and in the present moment. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Carri Thurman said...

Thanks for the great comment, Rose! It's true, it's always something, eh? Well, right now I hope that something is a Happy New Year for you and yours!

Betsy said...

Ha! This reminds me of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Book "The First Four Years" when Laura bakes a pie and forgets to put sugar in it. The gentleman she's feeding opens up the pie, sprinkles sugar over the pie, and says "That is the way I like it. If there is no sugar in the pie, then every fellow can sweeten his own as much as he likes without hurting the cook's feelings."
What a tactful way to handle that!

http://books.google.com/books?id=_HqHxm0kuIUC&pg=PA19&lpg=PA19&dq=laura+ingalls+wilder+pie+without+sugar&source=bl&ots=X9gEPBlKlv&sig=PtSStktcmKfto_ab1AX6_j2LJv4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=2kpmT-7iCZDYiQKX74GiDw&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false