I’m sitting here catching a glimpse every once in a while of the Christmas Cookie Challenge on the Food Network as my background company. Now those are some kind of cookies!! But to reality and my anxiety of the workplace bake sale.
The people at my workplace have bake sales – only between ourselves which sounds a bit weird but we do it for fundraising/donations. This bake sale is raising donations for the local Seniors’ group to brighten Christmas for those needing a little extra cheer and love for the holidays. We bake goodies, put them all out on a long table and then buy them from each other. It works; it’s a win-win.
As a relatively “new guy” in this workplace, I step up and do my part to fit in with this food-loving crew, but admit there’s a fair amount of anxiety involved. My first bake sale here I made salted caramel brownies to donate/sell. When I saw the elaborate treats and packaging of the other wares, I chickened out and kept the brownies sending them to my husband’s workplace where they gobbled them up. I saw that I needed to up my game for the next bake sale.
I suppose some of my trepidation with bake sales comes from a former workplace where the coffee-room always had Tupperware containers of treats. Before coffee-time I took in a cherry loaf cake I’d made that looked cookbook good and smelled “get in my belly” yummy. I put it on the table with some fancy little napkins and a knife to slice it when they all trooped in for coffee. At lunch I noticed that the cake wasn’t sliced, so I sliced it a bit and left it for my colleagues. At end of day I saw my cake still waiting to be devoured so I put it in the fridge for the next day. Maybe everyone had to skip coffee break? Maybe.. Next day I put my cake out again and said “hey guys, got some good cake in there for you”. It was then that the boss lady said “I don’t eat food cooked in other people’s kitchens” and her staff followed her like sheep not touching the cake. I asked about the Tupperware containers of cookies and she said that she had “faith” in the other lady’s kitchen. Yeah, Ok. I picked up my cake and dumped it in the garbage can and never took a goodie into that coffee-room for sharing again. And anxiety and insecurity were born. Baking bad……
We have an inspiring Mom in our country neighbourhood who’s a hot-damned baker. I know, because I stumbled upon her annual bake sale. Her children with hand-made signs and card tables setup at the end of the gravel driveway selling cinnamon rolls, pies and cookies. I stopped and asked the kids what the bake sale was for and they said “to raise money for our trip to Disneyland” with contagious excitement. I bought stuff. The next year they were out again and donations were for a family in need. I bought stuff. This year I noticed the bake sale went on for three days because all of us neighbours put in our orders for Tanya’s cinnamon buns and pies. I really doubt that it’s a lucrative money-maker with the amount of time and ingredients stirred into this annual bake sale but the lessons my neighbour lady is teaching her children with working for something and donating for someone is priceless. And it’s the only time of the year I really stop and say hi. It’s such a feel good community thing she does. Baking good………
With ingredients ready, I donned my apron (yes, I still wear an apron – the dinosaur I am) and spent a Saturday getting ready for our workplace bake sale. My first effort was a fail……Pintrest worthy fail.
And my husband said “did you make cookies for the dog?” To which I replied, shut up ……..there are three dozen of these babies you get to eat.
My next effort, the white chocolate pretzel popcorn was a success. I know, because I had a sugar buzz from sampling. I carefully packaged my treats in all the dollar store finery I’d searched out and was ready for the sale. The insecurity crept in as I placed my festive goodies on the table with all the others, but needn’t have worried as I saw them disappearing along with the sought after soft almond roca cookies.
I spent money at our little bake sale and its obvious everyone else did as well because we raised well over $700 for our local Seniors and it’s the spirit of doing it together and sharing that makes this group so different. And sharing and togetherness takes anxiety away. Win-win.