So Lynn is a baker, once professionally, now in her spare time, and this makes many people, including me, happy. Or spoiled. Or both.
If we are invited to a party, no one wants or cares to know what I’m bringing; they just assume that Lynn will be providing some sort of dessert. And generally their assumptions are correct.
(Once, when Lynn was busy, I made a blue cake with purple icing for our potluck contribution. It went mostly uneaten at the party, although I liked it.)
Now, her repertoire has trimmed down some since her bakery days, some of it due to time, some of it due to the involvement of the project, and some of it comes down to no longer having access to bulk baking ingredients from a handy truck that delivers weekly.
A father-daughter duo here in town, who reliably showed up every week at the farmers’ market, still lament the demise of her bear claws.I can’t tell you what I miss the most. I mean, I know what I liked, but can’t recall its name. It was French puff pastry with lots of sweet sticky goodness. It was a horrible mess to eat, but worth every drip on my shirts.
Others are sad about the absence of iced sugar cookies, which were little works of art but which also hurt her wrists. She used to make aliens, and fire trucks, little dogs and cats (favored by the Animal Welfare League for their events), dinosaurs and even t-shirts with the Pat’s Screen Printing logo on them.
Some desserts, like her tiramisu, which always draws raves, still get made, but due to its complexity, it makes rare appearances. And a big NO on wedding cakes unless you’re looking for the simplest, smallest of cakes, as someone last year requested.
But her cookies, short of the iced ones, are still on offer. Her signature cookie is a blueberry sugar confection of her own devising, and I’ve heard people refer to those as “crack,” because they find them so addicting.
She makes chocolate chip caramel, peanut butter with peanut butter chips, oatmeal craisin (she’s from Wisconsin, after all — you can take the girl out of the state but not the craisin, a dried cranberry, out of the cookie), oatmeal with butterscotch chips, snickerdoodles . . . I’m sorry, did I just drool on the keyboard?
Once, during her bakery years, she decided to participate in the city’s Fourth of July firework celebration as a vendor, so she baked cookie after cookie after cookie, and then we hauled them to Jorgensen Park and set up shop in the vendor area.
There were all kinds of vendors, and I don’t know about subsequent years, but most of them that year, including Lynn, went fairly well ignored. One of the small fire departments — Ohio City? Pitkin? — was doing a banner business (I can’t even remember what their food offering was), which I’m sure was great for their coffers. But no one else was getting rich that night. Not even the pizza-by-the-slice booth.
Lynn did have a few customers, but they all seemed to be of this man’s ilk:
A guy in the company of a wife or girlfriend carefully went through all of Lynn’s baskets, seeking what he imagined to be the largest cookies, rejecting any that had broken inside their individually-wrapped bags. It apparently had to be Perfect. He finally found the one cookie he was willing to buy, paid Lynn, unwrapped it — and promptly broke it in half, giving one of the pieces to the woman he was with.
I would not have thought anything about this transaction, except that he had been so insistent about not buying a broken cookie. And the very first thing he did with his unbroken treasure was break it. What is the matter with people?
So she gave up on things like festivals and events, and just went back to baking for her legion of fans, those of us who are grateful to get her cookies and other delicacies, broken or not.
If you’re feeling left out, here’s the easiest way to get on Lynn’s cookie list: pick up a hammer and start working on our new house. As long as they keep making forward progress, she is plying these young men with cookies. It seems to be a mutually beneficial relationship.
And now I have once again run short of time. I will say, it’s much easier to eat cookies than it is to write about them. I think I tried too hard. I should have just defaulted to what my favorite Muppet knew all along: “COOKIE!”