Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Co-op (Part 2)

I’m a pragmatic person; I can see the black, the white, and all the gray in between. I like thinking things through and reflecting upon the consequences of each different course of action to determine the best solution. I (kind of) know what I want and I know what I have to do to get there. One thing I want is to be good at baking. It’s my passion and dare I say it, my obsession. I love baking and I do it all the time, but I’ve never seriously considered baking as a full-time profession in my future. 

lemon poppyseed loaf.

My first day at summer co-op confirmed that notion. I came into the bakery, fully prepared to endure the constant standing, the heat of the kitchen, and the menial tasks that I would have to perform as the new co-op student. What I didn’t expect was that my feet would start to hurt after three hours. Or that my back would follow in suit an hour later. Well, I did expect it, I’m just bad at dealing with pain (I’m that one sixteen-year-old who can’t do blood tests without screaming and cutting off circulation to my mom’s arm.)

left: chocolate apricot rugalach; top/right: apricot raisin rugalach.
The rugalach is so deliciously rich and buttery. Now that
I know how good it tastes, I want to try making it myself.

I literally stood 7.5 of the 8 hours I spent at the bakery. Of course, so did all the other full-time workers. I don’t know how they do it. It’s pretty amazing that they can stand for such long periods of time, go home, just to wake up and do it all over again the next day. And the next day after that. I’ve never doubted that working a job isn’t easy, but now I have firsthand knowledge of that fact through a job that isn’t at a summer camp (though running around and trying to keep the kids in line is a pretty exhausting job in itself.) 

My second day at the bakery was as good as I figure this job will get. Not only did I get sent home an hour earlier (shh, don’t tell my co-op teacher or I won’t get the credits), but I got sent home with some rugalach and a small lemon poppy seed loaf. I had helped roll out the rugalach (my inconsistent rolling probably explains why they gave it to me) and fill the loaf pans with the batter among the long list of different things I’ve already done in my two days at the bakery.

These two days have been such eye openers. Before setting foot in the kitchen, all the goods that I saw at grocery stores or cafes seemed so detached, as if they just magically fell out of the sky and ended up behind a display counter. Seeing all the back-breaking work that goes into preparing such luscious treats helps me realize that underpaid as the bakers already are, there’s a reason that a cookie from Second Cup is $2.00.

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