Monday, February 23, 2009

Defending My Honor

Today I learned that recently several people have come into the shop and accused us of purchasing our truffles from other chocolatiers. And from Whole Foods. I wrote these people off as ignorant. Yes, there are some molds that we have in common. Given that a finite variety of molds are manufactured, it's inevitable that cool and attractive molds will be used by more than one chocolatier. It's the fillings that sets us apart; it's what's inside that counts. We do not now, nor have we ever, purchased truffles from our competitors.
But today, Chef told me that someone came into the shop and told the counter person that we obviously bought our cakes from Gateaux and were trying to pass them off as our own. As the person who makes most of our cakes, this idiotic notion insults my craftsmanship, my professional pride and my personal and our company honor. For about twenty minutes, a righteous smiting seemed like a reasonable option. I considered adding twit-en-brochette to the menu. ( that's fancy for ninny on a skewer).
I have nothing against Gateaux. They do beautiful work. Beautiful work that is completely different from anything that we do at Wen. In a twisted, nit-wit kind of way, I suppose it's a compliment, although it clearly was not intended as such.
It's a few hours later. I can see the funny side of it. I no longer want to run the impugners through with the point of my sword. I'd be happy just spanking them with the flat of it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A tempting tease of spring

February 16th. Denver, Colorado. Sunny skies, temperatures in the low sixties. Oh yes. Low sixties. a reward for working ten days straight for Valentine's production, I have President's Day off. I don't remember the last job I had where this was an observed holiday.
So after a leisurely morning, Puppy and I went on a two hour ramble through Prospect Park. And then came home and spent a couple of hours basking on a blanket in the backyard. After scooping the poop and putting Kittyman on his harness and string.
He is not especially bright, hence the restraints when he's outside.
Robins and chickadees hopped through the yard for his entertainment, and a squirrel chittered furiously for a good fifteen minutes.
The sun was warm and bright, the breeze was soft, and birdsong never ceased.
On the north side of the yard are the remants of Saturday's snow. In the center, tiny crocus are beginning to pop through the ground.
I planted lots of spring bulbs last fall. I'm curious to see how many of them survived the squirrels.
I have a desperate urge to start planting. An urge that must be squelched, as spring is still months away, no matter what the calendar says. Mid-May is about the time to start planting here. By then, the frosts are over. Unless they're not. One never knows. There could be a blizzard tomorrow. Or another taste of spring.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Musings on a holiday

And so, my children, Valentine was martyred for performing marriages after the emperor of Rome banned marriage on the grounds that marriage made men weak and ineffective as soldiers. In Valentine's honor, the Church co-opted the Festival of Lupercalia (fertility, wolves, general merriment and frolicking) which eventually led to the holiday we know as Valentine's Day.

A day which rivals Christmas in consumerism and Easter in its wtf-ness. So,....Jesus and Valentine were killed, and we celebrate this with chocolate and jelly beans and bunnies and sparkly things? Yes. Yes we do. I have nothing against chocolate or jelly bean or bunnies or sparkly things - ok, maybe there are some bizarre flavors of jelly beans I could do without, but other than that, I like chocolate and bunnies and sparkly things.

The major Christian holidays have many Pagan elements to them, which works well for Christmas, but is majorly confusing for Easter. Crucifixion and fluffy bunnies and colored eggs and candy? Death and fertility at the same time? At a really cosmic level that works, but on the surface - wtf?

Which brings me back to Valentine's Day. A day that builds ridiculous expectations and pressures, much like Christmas, but is focused on one relationship rather than all relationships. A day of enforced sentiment and outward display. It reminds me of Ming the Merciless "All citizens will make merry. Upon pain of death". You will be romantic, and you will show romance by buying dinner, flowers, candy and jewels, because we say so. If you don't do this, you are a bad person. If no one does this for you, you are worthless.

I say this while profiting from this holiday - people like to buy extra-fancy chocolates, and I provide them. The kitchen is running two weeks straight to meet the demand. Piracy must be in my blood. I won't be starting a social revolution over it, or run around chanting "make everyday Valentine's Day" or trying to abolish the crass commercialism of the holiday. I'll just be making candy for the people who are into being romantic on cue. Maybe that's my real problem - I don't like being told how to feel or how to express my feelings.

However, February is a dreary month; a holiday is a marvelous idea. Maybe we should bring back Lupercalia......