2016. Dumpster. Fire. Amirite? Hell, leave the election out of the picture and it was still a pretty bleak year... the massive flooding, kidney stones 3x over, getting stuck in a hurricane while on Disney vacation... it's been a bit of letdown.
But today might have undone all of the sad/weird/unfun bits of 2016 in a short 5 hour baking class. Today I had the pure delight of taking a class from one of my favorite cookbook authors/bloggers: Joy the Baker. Joy moved to New Orleans a couple of years ago to continue to expand her work as a novice baker turned fo' real baker (btw, I would love details on that transition so I have something to work towards). Today she opened her home, for the first time ever, to teach some of her skills to me and five others. When the opportunity to take the class appeared, I didn't doubt anything for one second. I signed up immediately, paid for a ticket, and THEN considered what I would do with my toddler for five hours....
Boy was it worth it! Not only was Joy lovely and one of the best hostesses I have ever encountered, my classmates were equally delightful! There was even another event planner in the mix!! The class started with quick intros then we dove right in! Joy taught by example then we would follow suit with each step, and it was hugely helpful! Like having an interactive cookbook... and lemme tell ya, I took every chance I could to ask questions of Joy and her helpers!
She communicated details of crust and butter and pie liquid with such ease and grace (and humility!!), and I swear to you I produced the best pie crust I ever have in MAH LIFE. No cracks AND it was a large enough circle for the pie plate NOR did it rip when pouring in the filling. ALL kinds of victories today!
While the pies baked, we had the chance to interrogate her more, er, I mean, sit with her and eat lunch and have casual conversation... We covered a host of topics from how to raise good little humans, the joy of receiving cards in the mail, and all of the undergrad majors that had little to nothing to do with our current career. FYI, Joy studied broadcast journalism, so there could be hope for me to make a leap into fo' real baking with my communications degree!
Lunch ended with a most lovely surprise of hot chocolate in espresso cups and topped with homemade curry marshmallows that she featured in a facebook live tutorial yesterday! What. A. Treat. She then lead us through some tips on staging so we could get some profesh looking shots of our handy work before we all left to finish out our days.
This class was not only educational, but it reminded me of so many things that I love outside of baking! It was an opportunity to be with a small group of people who have one shared interest, but otherwise diverse backgrounds and opinions and life stories. Friendships were made today, and a little bit of my faith in our ability as a community to be neighborly and uplifting was restored! Y'all, we really can get along. And one bad year doesn't have to define anything. Let pie define things. Ya heard?! Pie, y'all!
And now I want to thank, not only Joy for providing the opportunity and opening her home, but to all of the kind folks who enabled this! First, my dear friend who entertained my child so I could take the class; King Arthur Flour and Bellegarde Bakery for providing amazingly WONDERFUL ingredients; Jon and Britt who managed to make me feel like I was on the set of a real live cooking show by making things appear and disappear without ever being in the way; and to my classmates who encouraged me to pursue my creative side a little extra!
2016, you had some rough moments that I easily let define the whole year, but I'm excited to point to this fun day before throwing ALL 365 days out the window as a loss!