The idea came simply and quietly at the usual time- when I was working on something entirely different.
One of our customers asked if we made any Handpies that could meet their lower-than-usual price point. They loved our pies- as did their customers- but the rising costs of ingredients meant that for a lot of our flavors they would have to charge more than they thought their customers would tolerate.
So rather than cut off the pies completely, they asked my owner- who in turn asked me- if we had any recipes that would 1. Be delicious, 2. Be popular with customers at a cafe, and 3. Wouldn’t use too much of our more expensive ingredients so they could be sold at the desired low point.
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but economics and desperation make fantastic midwives. As I went through our recipe books, checked with suppliers to see what ingredients cost what, and started spitballing ideas on our whiteboard (“Pineapple is cheap right now… a pineapple pie? What’s more expensive right now, berries or nuts? What can one person make quickly to reduce labor?”) three ideas from my past and present slammed into each other.
The father of invention had shown up, and it’s name was “Why Not?”
In the last few months, I’ve developed a new tradition. After my therapy appointments, I wander down the street to my old cafe. There, my friend Madeline is usually on the espresso machine. She makes me my favorite coffee drink (a cafe conmiel, essentially a latte with honey and cinnamon syrup,) then I sit down to write… something.
I’m gonna get sappy for a second and tell you about my first date with my wife. We knew we wanted to go out for dinner and a movie, and were tossing around ideas for local restaurants. We settled on a decent Italian place in the area, but the conversation first went like this:
Me: “Well, there’s a bunch of places near the theater. Fridays, Applebees…” Emily: “Ugh, no. Let’s go to this place instead.” Me: “Oh thank God.”
According to Emily, that was the moment she knew we would work out in one way or another- she loved food, she loved eating good food, and wanted someone she could nerd out about it with.
Three years into being married, and that’s still one of our favorite indulgences- going to restaurants and being nerds.
After last weeks post about the basic science of bread, I figured it might be a good idea to keep going on this rudimentary road trip through the land of yeasted loaves and carbs. For this post, and most of the posts coming up, I pulled out one of my old culinary school textbooks as a reference, and the memories came flooding back.