Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Life

I work in a bakery.

Actually, I work in a bakery in South Texas, and it's May. Whenever we want air conditioning, we just open a portal to hell. It's cooler down there than it is in the bakery. Two industrial strength ovens, one industrial fryer, and the a/c unit for our portion of the supermarket is broken. They started letting us keep bottled water in the back, even though the health department would have a heart attack. Having your employees pass out from heat exhaustion is not good for your insurance premiums.

I actually have the easier job, three days out of the week. I'm the scratch baker. They give me flour, water, yeast and a whole bunch of additives (aka "bases"), let me play with them and then pay me money. We have Asiago cheese bread that could melt the heart of Genghis Khan. And Jalapeno bread that could finish cooking said heart. Two days out of the week I am the overnight fryer, chained to a vat of very hot lard turning bits of dough into doughnuts, and inventing new ways to stay upright. Even the bakery floor looks soft at 3am.

Well, today we ran out of flour. We go through about 250 lbs of flour a day (5 bags, 50lbs each) and turn it into french bread, artisian bread, sub rolls, ect. ect. Having no flour puts the break on the workday. I had JUST enough to make tomorrow's bread, and wound up scooping the last out to make sponge. I love making sponge. Flour, yeast, water, grease up a bin, plop dough in bin, shove bin in cooler and ignore until tomorrow morning. You have this nice, yeasty thing that smells like a wine vat. You put it in the artisan bread. Sponge is the last thing I make before I scrape out the mixing bowl and go home.

We also had a metric ton of cake orders, which I have nothing to do with, thank god. Lots of frosting in many pretty colors, lots of customers wanting to know why we didn't match their cake colors to their highschool/wedding dress/prom dress. People. First, we're not allowed to mix our own colors anymore because it wastes too much frosting. Second, you didn't bring us the dress/school colors. Even Picasso cannot work out an exact hue you describe to him over the phone.

And one of the sculpture cakes collapsed on itself. Mercifully the customer called to cancel just as the leaning tower of Frosting was discovered.

The one bright spot in the day was working out a major plot point for my second novel while bent over with my head in the mixing bowl (it's a 100lb capacity bowl. A grown, not particularly flexible adult could curl up inside, just as long as nobody turns it on. Scraping it out involves gymnastics and many cuss words. It does not drain, so we cannot power-wash it the way we do everything else. And we cannot use metal tools on the sucker. We get to hang upside down with the bowl's edge digging into our middle, a plastic scraper in one hand and a bucket of not especially soapy water on the floor. Chemicals are not allowed near the food equipment.)

There. Second post done.

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