Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Hot Topic

There I am, going about my daily beginning routine at work at the bakery today: clocking in, tying my handkerchief on (which was extremely difficult given that the bathroom light doesn't work right now so we all had to change - and pee - in the pitch dark), and serving customers when all of a sudden, my friend and semi-boss (whose last day was today) says, "Hey Caitlin!  Today you're going to learn to bake cookies.  You'll learn from Paige for half an hour until she leaves and then I'll be around to answer any questions after that.  Mkay?  Great!"
"Um are you sure I'm ready, really?  I mean I'm totally fine serving the customers and, and, cleaning, and, and..."
"Caitlin.  You've worked here six months by now.  The only reason you haven't learned yet is because you only work on the weekends when it's insanely busy and we have no time to teach you.  So today you're going to learn!"
(Did I miss something here?  Isn't it Sunday?  Isn't it crazy crazy holy shit kind of crazy busy with a line out the door and you want me to learn how to bake cookies now??!!)

The lesson began with an overview of where all the cookie dough is kept (in giant refrigerators on sheet trays that are very, very heavy since they are covered in 6 oz cookie dough balls) and how to "sheet" cookies, i.e., how to put twelve cookie dough balls on a sheet tray covered in parchment paper.  Easy enough.  Next part is harder.  We have two ovens to bake the cookies in.  The top oven bakes unevenly so only two kinds go in there and they have to be turned 180 degrees halfway through their time.  The bottom oven bakes evenly and so our two other kinds only go in that oven and they don't need to be turned.  But wait!  You can put the first two kinds in the bottom oven too, but then it's for a different amount of time and there's no turning.  Oh and we own seven timers.  And sometimes even when the cookies on top have been in for the full time the middle racks aren't done so you have to turn them again and bake them for another two minutes.  Sometimes.  And oh yeah, the line is out the door. all. day.

I was frantic, but trying to keep it under control.  I can be good under pressure, but that does not mean I completely avoid looking terrified while doing whatever it is I'm doing.  But I did it!  For the whole day, I sheeted dough balls and passed them into the ovens and set timers and moved trays and took out trays and turned trays and reset timers and turned off timers and oh jeez the timers.  I only forgot to set one once but my boss was very understanding.  She told me to call the unemployment office in the morning and ask them about what benefits they have for fired 23-year-olds (she was kidding).

Successes of the Day:
I burned NO COOKIES.
I dropped NO COOKIES.
I ran out of NO COOKIES.

Failures of the day:
I forgot to set the timer once.  But the cookies were okay.
I got overzealous and sheeted about five extra trays and had to put the dough balls back on their trays in the refrigerator before we closed.
I burned myself, once, briefly, but even briefly on a 500 degree oven is enough to hurt.  A LOT.  So now I have a pretty red slash on the inside of my wrist that is nicely covered in Neosporin and a big bandage by my very concerned boss.  She must have told me to keep it covered, oh, thirty times.  Don't worry.  It's covered.  See?
But holy moly, did I make a lot of cookies.  I'm not sure if I ever want to eat one again.  Oh wait, did I just say that?  HAHAHAHA right.

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