- Posted July 17, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
From hobby to job
Bites of Nostalgia
I was a little brown haired, blue eyed, freckle faced girl sitting in our 1970’s kitchen. I smelled the sweetness from Mom’s most recent cake order and mingling in there somewhere was a little hint of savory left over from dinner. I sat at the kitchen table doing school work as Mom maneuvered around easily and efficiently, pausing at times to look over my shoulder or quiz me on a spelling word. I was stuffed, but the little bits of cake left over from trimming petit fours littered the tray beside me and I nibbled along.
She was a Cottage Baker even before the term was created and was well known in our county for making the best confections. She never pushed me into baking. Never attempted to make me her protégé, but growing up in a kitchen with her made it easy to love baking. I learned by watching, then, eventually asking if I could help, then, turned out my own creations out of my own kitchen.
The field managers at the construction company where I worked talked about my Pumpkin Chocolate Bread like it was its own food group. I would bring them loaves every now and then, and sometimes they would jokingly bribe me for a batch or two. They were sad the day I was laid off along with many others during the housing market decline. I made sure they received one last loaf – although I was not sad to be leaving, as I had my own ‘bun in the oven’ and looked forward to a healthy pregnancy.
We were fortunate my husband had a job that kept us above water and we made the decision I would stay at home with the children. His office soon started to receive my sweet kitchen creations with open arms (and mouths!)
Three years later I had another baby and I started having the holidays at my house since traveling with the kids was, in my book, way more work than hosting. I addition to the dessert, I would send a take-home treat, knowing my family would be too stuffed to enjoy all the sweet things I enjoyed making.
Within this past year we learned my husband would be one of the hundreds of thousands of government workers furloughed. While we knew we could make it through the temporary pay cut, I started getting a little nervous and half-heartedly looked for employment that would fit into our family’s schedule. That was a tall order and nothing came to be.
This last Holiday Season I spent my time discount shopping for gifts, and of course, baking. To keep within the budget, I made goodies for all our neighbors and all my husband’s co-workers. I even made homemade Biscotti for my family and wrapped it up for that take-hom-treat.
Three days later my Sister, who works in a local gourmet grocery store, called me. She convinced me I should try and sell my biscotti, and suggested I start with sending some samples to the bakery deparment where she worked. With that my whole world changed.
A few weeks later I dropped three flavors of Biscotti at the Manager’s meeting of the grocer. Within hours I had my first order. Since then I have rolled them out to all three in-store bakeries and introduced a Seasonal Flavor.
This spring I managed to secure a spot at our local Farmer’s Market and have introduced Pumpkin Chocolate Dream Bread, Coconut Bread and Scones to the lineup. A local Café contacted me soon after the first Market Day and they now carry my full line up, and just recently added Crumb Coffee Cake.
I started feeling more sure of myself and sought out a Wine Store/Restaurant in the heart of Dayton, Ohio. I landed a meeting with one phone call, walked in with samples and walked out with my first order and my business name on the menu.
This last week I delivered to all five businesses and received an order for six hundred Biscotti for a wedding. I picked up the phone and excitedly shared the news with my Mom, at which point I was reminded of that brown haired, blue eyed, freckle faced girl from thirty years ago. It was, to say the least, Nostalgic.
You can learn more about me and my business by visiting www.bitesofnostalgia.com.