Ally and Caroline getting ready to make sweet crepes.
The Roanoke Farmer's Market season has officially begun. As anyone who is not living on another planet knows, it is hotter than the surface of the sun in Indiana. It was particularly hot in Roanoke on the 3rd of July, the day of the Patriotic Concert, and also on Saturday, the day of the first Farmer's Market. Look at those cute girls above. They are even hot, although you would barely know it!
So having these Equator-like temperatures in the Midwest where we are not even close to the Tropic of Cancer ( I know you are impressed with my geographical knowledge. I used to teach geography and history in my B.C days. Before Children.) is very, very tough on delicate pastries. In high end restaurants, pastry chefs have their own kitchens to keep them away from the heat of the ovens, grills, fryers, woks and all those hot things that will drop a meringue faster than flipping it on the floor. (You thought I was going to say something a little naughty. Shame on you.) In these pastry kitchens a feeling of calm prevails vs the frenetic, yelling, running vibe of a regular kitchen. Pastry chefs are craftsmen and we are not screamers. If we are, we better get to the other side.
Here is what happened. Caroline and I were baking. I was icing an anniversary cake that needed to be delivered that day and she was finishing up something. A storm was a brewin', but we were not paying that much attention because I am not really a weather nerd. Not until I saw Alice ushering people into a building and lots of stuff blowing. I said, "Uh oh, things look bad. Do you have the weather on your phone?" She said no. Then the almighty Roanoke police come out of nowhere, hundreds of them it seemed, and jumped into thousands of cop cars and start speeding off to who-knows-where. We were like whhhhhat???? It was getting darker but we kept working. Nothing was going to stop me from icing that cake!!!! I went to turn on the dishwasher and all our power went off. I thought oh no! I blew a fuse! I called Max, my builder who knows EVERYTHING, and he said the fuse box was in the basement, which almost gave me hives. It is scary and an old cellar. Very dank and creepy. It could be in The Hunger Games. But then Caroline and I realized the whole town was without power. Now we knew we were in a jam. We could not decide which would be scarier: to be caught up in a big tornado or go wait out the storm in that basement.
I finished the beautiful white cake by candlelight. Caroline has pictures to prove it. When the storm turned to rain and it became too hot to ice because our air was out, I went home and took all my stuff with me. I thought Roanoke would get power back before my home did, because the police are there as well as the volunteer fire department. We have a rockin' generator (thank you, Max) so I knew I would have refrigeration and I could continue with my icing and placing pearls all over it. After I finally got home, driving through all the downed trees and branches, I finished the cake. I put both of them in the frig to cool. The woman for whom I was making them called me and said wait for a while as she had a lot of damage. This was crazy!
Later that night, we had to take an alternate route to her home to take the cakes to her. By the time we got them and got some food for my husband at McDonalds which only had power because it ran off Lutheran Hospitals power and was PACKED and absolutely was selling out of everything, we decided to go back to the shop to see what was going on. We drove back and by now it was 11:30 at night. When we opened the door of the shop, I said, :wow, it is really dark." Let me tell you how my mind works. My husband and I work very hard and we get a lot done. We have a lot of fun. But we are not gizmo people. We are not hammer, nail nor flashlight people. Now it does not take a rocket scientist to know that if you are going to a place without power and there is heavy cloud cover you should take a flashlight. But we would never think about such things. It just would not enter our minds. Especially mine. So it was like a news flash when I opened that door and it was pitch black!!! But Bill said, "I've got a light on my phone!" So by the light of his cell phone, we pulled as much food out of the freezer as we could until he said he was done with this whole thing and wanted to go home. I do not blame him. He had been up since 4:30 a.m. and I had been dragging him all over the countryside, dodging fallen trees, taking cakes into the treacherous countryside, and now we were tripping over things in the dark, saving baguettes and cinnamon rolls.
But know this. A few hours of no electricity in a not-full freezer kills all yeast products. When I pulled those cinnamon rolls and challuah out to rise for the Farmer's Market, they did not do one thing. So I threw them all away. Probably 100 hours of labor of yeast products gone. So sad.