Meg and I have spent years baking cookies, muffins, and cakes for our loved ones: family, friends, co-workers, lovers. If you have been in our lives for long, then you have probably been on the receiving end of a frosted cake (with fresh flowers if decorated by Meg, and fruit mosaics or farm scenes if decorated by me), a shoebox full of cookies, or a tin (actually a yogurt container, but tin sounds so quaint) of muffins.
Now, as these Two Birds branch out, we are also baking for strangers - or potential friends rather. Since November, when we first posted our products with Nebraska Food Co-operative, we have sold to about 30 customers, many of whom continue to purchase muffins and cookies from us. Not all of these people were unknown to us. Some customers were friends, and others were great folks we knew through volunteering at the co-op.
But baking for strangers is new to me. We are essentially being introduced to people through their mouths. Their tastebuds, rather than our faces or personalities, serve as the avenue to knowing us. When a new customer brings a muffin to their mouth or a cookie to their teeth, they can only decipher these Two Birds by the scent of ginger, or richness of butter. What can't be translated through the tongue, is the beautiful red-headed Meg whose big eyes, with their slow blinks, will lull you into a contented calm on the strangest of days, or my laugh that is so loud and longlasting people have known I was at a party before ever seeing my face.
We bake thoughtfully. We bake with slow hands and a considerate nature. Muffin liners are made by hand, toppings are applied with the tenderness of a finger to cheek, and all the baked goods are tucked in their packaging like a sleepy batch of babies. We hope the care we take with our baking can be tasted so that when you do finally lay eyes on Meg, or ears on me, you won't be so surprised at what you hear or see.
|Detail of "Anticipation" with Ginger Blue muffin|
In the future, I will tell stories of those I love baking for, but until then. . . 1) feed a loved one or a potential friend, and 2) who do you love to bake for?