If I could have any job and could live my life over, I would have been a baker/caterer. It sounds silly, but I think it’s my dream job. It’s what my parents would have called “an honest living,” one where you produce a product and get paid for said product, where you work with your hands creating something that someone else appreciates. I’d say that was their definition of an “honest days’ work.”
If was, in fact, something my mom and I thought about doing, and we thought about it seriously. She had been an institutional cook for some years, cooking in nursing homes and drug treatment centers for over one hundred people a day. She was good at it and had many recipes designed for large groups that were delicious, nutritious and relatively inexpensive to make. I had the baking chops in the family. I had learned to bake under the watchful eye of my father’s mother and sister. She had taught me to peel an apple with a real knife at the age of five (NOT recommended). I have great memories of stretching out strudel dough on her huge kitchen table and marveling at the wonders of it. I mean, it’s just flour and water, and when it’s put together with the right combination of fat and sugar, it makes the most amazing and delicious things you can imagine.
I have some friends who are florists and would, on occasion, assist them with their deliveries during the busiest times of the year. That was a great thing to do because every time you made a delivery, you’d be greeted by someone with a giant smile on their face. People are seldom unhappy to receive flowers or baked goods. Think about it. Is it possible to be unhappy while eating cake? It’s cake! It’s the very definition of happiness, isn’t it? Or is it just flour and sugar and eggs and vanilla in the correct proportions?
Food is the great equalizer. It’s something we need to sustain us, but if it’s done well as the French do, food is an experience. It’s an adventure of delight or as is the case when Mr. Jackson does the cooking, the great unknown. So I think for the honesty of it, the fun of it, the ability to make people happy and give people an adventurous ride, being a baker/caterer would be my ultimate job in a lifetime. Of course, I’m too old actually to do it and would probably end up in a hospital if I ever attempted to do it, but it’s nice to have a dream.