The past few months have been filled with so many new things, and I’m working to create new habits along with this sea change. Each morning I try to send another email to one of our elected officials, and every day it gets easier and faster. Then, like every other recent day, we come to the shop. This space has become a respite over the past months, an inviting escape from our dark basement apartment. I already feel such a connection to this little corner shop, to the soft light and the rainy days, to the potential and space to create. I am finally just about ready to transition back to “baker” after playing carpenter for the past several months. Today is Andy’s birthday, and it was the perfect way to break in our new kitchen. This little birthday cake feels like so much more than a cake. It’s the culmination of months of hustling and years of scheming, the first of many more to come. 8 years ago today I made a tiny tower cake for some guy I barely knew but wanted to keep hanging out with, and it still feels pretty surreal to be where we are now. Another beginning of another beginning.
Over the past weeks, I’ve watched my favorite businesses either close their doors or rapidly adapt to a constantly changing landscape. Of course, a global pandemic causes your priorities to shift. The local co-op no longer allows customers to bring their own bags. Previously plastic-free kitchens have acquiesced to requests for wrapped and sealed packaging. Most shops that are still open have erected large plexiglass partitions around the registers. So, as an about-to-open shop, how do we plan for this? Owning your own business allows you to live more of your values— that’s one of the huge selling points! Our original plan was to not carry to-go coffee cups, to get cloth napkins and heavily focus on a bulk-section in the grocery market. But concern for wastefulness in packaging seems like its gone out the window in light of safety precautions. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I do support an abundance of caution, OF COURSE. But I’m also thinking about the residual trauma that will remain after the threat of infection has passed. Will the fears born through this crisis lead to even more disregard for plastic consumption? Is sterility the new comfort? And is a plastic bag REALLY more safe than a paper one, or do we just FEEL like it is. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ These days I’m filled with a million questions that I don’t know the answer to, but maybe you can help: ➡️➡️What are your feelings about shopping the bulk aisle moving forward?
Lilac season is here and I’m busy preparing for my annual celebration where I consume my body weight in lilac lemonade 😋 hbu? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ . . . . #astoria #communityisfood #foodisart #localingredients #bakingtherapy #edibleflowers #lilacs
Lately my kitchen creations have been mostly sandwiches and dirty dishes, but luckily I still have a backlog of cakes to share. This one has me missing the flower garden I left behind when we moved.
Is it just me, or does it feel like time is both passing and also not passing these days? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Today, though, I’m exceptionally aware that spring has arrived and this jello mold fits the mood. 💐Rosé with honeyed yogurt, fresh berries & edible blooms Shot by @suzannerothmeyerphoto Planned by and on-location at @wandereventrentals
I had written up a nice post about the decision to move Gathered into a brick-and-mortar shop, about growth & changes... then this past week happened. With a vacuum surrounding anything not corona-related, I’ve mostly been holding my breath while this plays out. Emotions surrounding my self-employed cash flow swayed from relief that I’m not quite in the same boat as my peers— this is the first time in years that spring isn’t filled with weddings and events— & as a result I am thankfully not in a position of choosing between refunding deposits or paying rent, between laying off staff and putting others at risk. In a stroke of serendipity, we actually planned to not have our typical income at this time. I’m grateful that I’m able to support the restaurants and shops hit hardest by this, rather than being one of them myself. But... with the future more uncertain than ever, carrying on as planned also feels like bizarre denial. Yesterday we submitted the kitchen permitting application (thanks to an abundance of time for computer work!) and got a phone call in return letting us know 1) they are not doing any in-person site reviews at this time and 2) they have no idea when they will be doing them again, but it may be many months and the required operating procedures may likely change by then. Of course, this did not come as a surprise, but it really did drive home the eerie sense of uncertainty surrounding just about everything. How long until restaurants reopen, or will this mark the beginning of completely new service style norms? Will we be able to open as planned, & will our business model be viable once all of this settles down? Did we just invest all of our savings in a business that may not ever actually come to be? Truly, none of us know the answers yet. For now, we are carrying on mostly as planned (admittedly, with a bit less urgency) and trying to feel heartened by the outpouring of community support all around us. I have so many questions. We all do.
Medicine woman mini-cake, adorned with actually all of my favorite herbs. 🌿 🌱 🍃 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @wandereventrentals planned this dreamy, cannabis-filled shoot and you can bet I jumped at the opportunity! 📷 @suzannerothmeyerphoto
Am I about to karate chop the wedding cake? Is it about to levitate? Am I bowing to show the proper cake-respect? I honestly can't tell you what was happening here, but @andreamichellephoto caught this mid-something great 😂
I haven’t baked anything in weeks and I have a million new design ideas I’m dying to turn into buttercream. Until the kitchen is built, I’ll be going through old cake photos in hopes it’ll hold me over. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🍰 chocolate hazelnut praline & caramel