Friday, June 22, 2012

A New Job and Brownie Cookies!

I finished my first week at a local bakery today. I applied for the job in March and didn’t hear anything until nearly June. But I was so excited to start! In only a few days, I have noticed a difference in the items I’m baking. My rolls are more symmetrical, it takes me half the time to measure out a batch of dough, I can frost a cupcake faster and smoother than I thought possible.

The thing I was the best at though, even from the get go, was portioning out cookie dough. No matter the dough – a sugar cookie, a chocolate crinkle, or an oatmeal and craisin – I haven’t been off by more than .01 ounces. Holding a ball in my hand and knowing even before I put it on the scale whether it will be high or low is an exhilarating feeling, and probably my favorite part of the job thus far.

After a couple of long shifts at the bakery followed by even longer ones at the restaurant, I finally had the day off yesterday. Even after spending countless hours in a hot, cramped kitchen the only thing I wanted was to be back in the kitchen. My kitchen. Without a hat or stuffy tennis shoes or a rolling pin permanently attached to my hand – just my sweat pants and flowered apron to keep me company.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pest-faux: Kale and Roasted Garlic Pesto

I’m in a chilly community center gym. The smell of burnt coffee, thick in the air, barely covers the stale sweat still lingering from basketball games gone by. Metal folding chairs groan with the tiniest of movements. I stand up nervously, my palms slick with sweat.

Hi, my name is Amanda…and I have a problem. I…I am addicted to beauty products.

Hello, Amanda! A chorus of similarly inclined individuals greets me.

While this scenario is completely imaginary, my affection for, and obsession with, beauty products is not. I often open my bathroom cabinets looking for something specific only to have different bottles, tubes, and jars come toppling out. Naturally, what I was searching for is nowhere to be found. Right there I swear to myself that I am done. No more. I am through buying these stupid things!

And then, one way or another, I find myself sidling up to the makeup counter. Again. Greeting an eager saleswoman while ogling the latest shade of eye shadow.

Or meandering along the hair care aisle. My fingers lightly tracing the brightly colored bottles. Fluorescent lights buzzing overhead, just begging me to buy yet another bottle of thermal styling spray.

But I don’t cave. I don’t. I think about the drawers in my bathroom, the stacks in the hall closet. Teaming with products I could never hope to finish in this lifetime, no matter how much hairspray I use.

Lately, I’ve been feeling that way about kale. I buy a bundle at the grocery store because it is cheap and delicious and filling. Yet, no matter how much I eat, no matter how much I sauté with garlic or throw in salads it is still there! Kale. Looming in my crisper drawer. The bunch never getting any smaller.