My Love Affair with Jimmie
We met at dawn. The sun rises over the east, casting it’s cotton candy aura onto the cream colored walls. The orange undertones highlight your rainbow freckles, bouncing off of the specs that litter your face. A cool breeze swifts through the front door that always sits ajar. While the month determines that this is spring, the urge to have a summer romance washes upon me. I wonder what our meeting would have been like had it not been for our adolescent ignorance. If ignorance is bliss, then young love is euphoria.
Sprinkles are made from corn syrup, sugar, cornstarch, wax, and artificial flavors and colors. This mixture is shaped into long, noodle-like strands, broken into small pieces, and sprayed with food coloring and a sugar glaze.
There is an unmatched sense of independence when walking into your first job. The sensational feeling of doing something all for yourself has never left me. And while walking into this bakery at twelve years old filled my cup, nothing filled it more than when I saw you. At twelve, you aren’t consciously self aware yet. I drifted off into a daydream watching you, watching the way you moved so rigidly but in your own right, fluidly. I watched the different forms you took, the molds you fit, somehow so beautifully breaking every boundary of caged confectionary custom.
Some argue that the methods of baking are created solely to be broken, but breaking it doesn’t properly describe the way you shattered through the standards bestowed on you. Flawlessly, you added a child’s sugar filled fantasy to every croissant, crumb, and cake you coated. It was like watching Bowie on stage, except your stage was a stainless steel table. Covered in fudge cascading down every path it could find and momentary lapses in raspberry jam everywhere you couldn’t find. Imperfection creating confections. That’s how I saw you.
A croissant is a crescent shaped roll made with yeast-risen dough. The dough is typically layered with butter, then rolled, and folded several times in a process called lamination. The process of lamination results in a layered, flaky textured roll, more like puff pastry. The main ingredients in a croissant are flour, yeast, salt, sugar, milk, water, eggs and butter.
Adolescent ignorance allowed me to stare for longer than is considered appropriate, by whose terms I do not know. When I was so rudely awakened from this state of hypnosis, I was told that I would be working with you. Did God truly love me? Eight years of Catholic schooling and I was finally seeing his hand at work. Glory be to all of the pastry powers in heaven.
It is far from easy. I don’t know how you do it. How can you cover something partially but make the whole a work of art? I don’t understand how to perfect your technique, Jimmie. Anything I do takes away from your beauty, I can not possibly sign my name next to yours on this monstrosity.
At twelve years old, my prepubescent crisis revolved around baked goods. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. While I have no cavities to offer up as proof, I’m a sucker for sweets. For my eleventh birthday, I was taken out to dinner by my godparents. The restaurant was intricately ornate, from the banisters to the black and white pinstriped seat cushions. Pink perennials and shrubbery large enough to engulf me decorated the outskirts of the walkway. Lining it perfectly enough to seem full, but never crowded. The gloss black french doors required stronger hands than mine to open, and when finally inside the Steinway filled the air with Sinatra ballads. The menus were heavy, adorned with gold corner pieces and thick one inch laminations. Although the hors d'oeuvres and entree sections were some of the best my young eyes had seen, the sweet section is what made my heart flutter. My uncle, being the fifty year old embodiment of myself and also having the sucker for sweets gene, decided that it would be in the best interest of the birthday girl to solely order dessert.
A liking of sweets was linked with a higher level of agreeableness, meaning a tendency to be friendly, cooperative, and compassionate.
I think I lied to you earlier, I saw God that day too. As quickly as cocoa dreams and custard wishes arrived were they devoured and gone for good. Four variations of dessert platters, three famished family members , two sugar crazed customers, and one very content eleven year old. I host my own funeral each year on the date of that restaurant booking, to mourn the longing of the best meal I have ever had.
I thought all of the moments leading up to this day in the bakery had fully prepared me for this monumental event. I thought incredibly wrong. While pastries make no comparison to a five-star dessert dinner, they are a craft entirely of their own. There is no proper plating to enhance presentation, the product is the presentation.
I’m feeling the heat, Jimmie. I can’t handle the heat so I should probably get out of the kitchen. A red milkcrate under my feet for maximum efficiency in reaching the top shelf and fourteen dozen croughnuts in line, I feel the need to dive into the boiling vanilla in front of me.
- a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general.
There are no limits to the amount of concoctions that can be made with fourteen dozen croughnuts. Shall we dip them in fudge? Vanilla? Marble? Sugar-coated or cinnamon? Do we fill them? Raspberry jam? Angel créme or custard?
Jimmie, what does one do?
He stares back at me, same blank expression as always, the color of the red container he is held in reflects the vivaciousness he represents. I was told to make at least one dozen of each kind, but even after stumbling through the first twelve dozen variations, I am still left with two dozen naked croughnuts.
Jimmie, if my product is naked then naked am I as well.
Cover them, Jimmie whispers, solely in my ear making every minuscule baby hair shoot up off of my skin.
What a fucking genius. I do it, my hands move fast but my fingers move faster. Grab, dip, coat. Methodically I cover every last one of them, with you, Jimmie.
Jimmies are candy sprinkles or decorations that are sprinkled over cupcakes or cakes to create no real pattern at all.
Jimmie single-handedly clothed my nude croughnuts. I knew it was love at first sight during my twelfth year, but that summer my never ending love affair with Jimmie(s) and all things bakery was born.