Wednesday, May 16, 2012

So Much Baking Going On...

My kitchen needs a vacation.  Did I write that out loud?  Well, my kitchen does need a break, and so do I!  It's the middle of May and I have reached an exhaustion level that hits every year around this time. It's self-imposed, and I am not whining.  I ask for this, it seems.  People ask me to make cakes for their parties, and I usually say "Sure" (though lately, I have had to say "Can't do it" a few times).  I'm not a professional baker, and most of the cakes I make are as favors to friends and family (and there are many!).  Often, people have one of my cakes at a party and ask "Can I have a card?" to which I respond, "I don't have a card.  I'm not a business."  No, believe it or not, pretty much all the cakes on this blog's slideshow are baked for celebrations of people I know well and love.  Since I work full-time and am "Granny-Nanny" much of the rest of the time, I don't have the time, means, or luxury of becoming a baking business.  I do sometimes dream of the possibility.  I even wrote a business plan for a bakery as part of my masters thesis.  I have all the ideas percolating in my head about what it could be, and where, what it would look like, how it would feel, and how it would operate.  I imagine large glass containers filled with assorted home-style cookies atop a gleaming display case of simple cakes and pastries, in a Broadway (Saratoga) store front with old-fashioned charm and a black-and-white checkered floor.  It would be simple and unassuming, like one of those 1950s soda shops where children spin on stools along a long, cool counter.  It would have beverages for young and older customers, and home-baked biscuits for their dogs.  Then I think, "Who's getting up at 3 a.m. to do that baking?"  and "Who's going to be there at midnight swabbing the deck?" and "Who's going to be making those night deposits?" and even "Who's going to work 7 days a week and never take a vacation?"  Well, as much as I can envision all the pretty pictures of my own beautiful if not imaginary bakery, I cannot fathom being (at age 58 and advancing) the person responsible for all the blood, sweat, and tears that would surely be required to be successful at such an endeavor.

So, I continue to bake "for the love of it" though sometimes the demands exceed my energy reserves.  Tonight I have two cakes in the oven.  One is for my friend Kim's sister who's expecting a baby in July.  The other is for a friend of mine who works in an academic department at Skidmore, where I also work.  She wanted to surprise her graduating seniors with a special cake, and I am very happy to do that.

May and June are always busy cake months.  In addition, there are always coffee cakes, cinnamon rolls, muffins, and scones (some pictured above) on the to-do list.  When I am not baking, I think about what I will be baking when I am baking again (how grammatically incorrect is all of that sentence?).  It must be some kind of obsession.  I can't stay away long.  It reminds me of when I was younger, and I was a painter.  I loved painting, and I'd finish one and think, "I'm going to take a break for a while" and then the next painting started to take shape in my mind. I gave them all away!!! It's the same with cakes.  I always think of what I can do to make it better, next time.

I think it's time to buy a canvas and dust off the oils and acrylics....  Now, if I can just find that beach-house studio loft with morning light.  Time to go to bed and dream some more!


  1. I would SO want to come work with you in your bakery? K? Okay. :)

  2. You have to practise saying "No"....I practise saying it all the time. At our age, we have to pick our pleasures but always take time for ourselves, smell the lilacs! Lots of Love Jeannie....take some time to.......

  3. I swear I'm techno illiterate!!!!!!!!!!!! Have been trying to join you and can't figure out my google!!!!!!! I do read all your posts and salivate over all your pictures of beautiful goodies!

    1. Dee, I consider you an honorary follower, but give the "join this site" button on the right a try. And thanks for all your fb comments! i really appreciate all of them!

  4. It's so great to be able to create something for the people that you love I completely understand.

  5. I could make you business cards...if you're interested.

  6. Oh Jeannie...I wish I were a "Genie" so I could abracadabra, zippitydo, make my wish for you come true! And that wish would be for several "Jeannie's Helpers" to magically appear that would not only have your passion & desire for baking, they would also possess the business acumen & old school work ethic to help make your dream become reality! How I wish that one of your "babies" would want to be your shadow and would soak up all of your talent & knowledge to create beautiful & tasty baked goods and would realize what a wonderful thing it would be to work with & help their Grandma make her wish come true and voila...a bakery is born! Perhaps this is not that crazy of a wish or dream my friend, for as you said, your immediate and much less extended family alone would create a vast pool of candidates to draw from, and we are all looking for that idea, that person to team up with, that partner who has something noone else does, but needs something & someone else to push it over the top! Don't stop dreaming Jeannie! I know you love your life at Skidmore and have been there many years, but perhaps sometime in the not too distant future you could cut back to part-time employment, &/or plan a timetable for retirement so you will still have the energy to work on your dream! I know it sounds overwhelming right now, but you have so many friends who love you & believe in you, too, and maybe just maybe have the time & resources to help you transition into something else in your "Golden Baking Years"! Let me close by saying that I can't wait to see you on Monday and am very much looking forward to our campus tour, lunch together....and of course, your cake! It truly is your signature & calling card, and nothing but your beautiful face & smile can rival that of one of your creations! xo