Dear Diary,

My boss greeted me with, “Shhhh…  Don’t speak, mother is in a trance state.  Your talking could disrupt her connection.”  I nodded my head.  Then my boss ushered me to the seat directly across from her mother.  I didn’t want to put my phone on the table; so I placed my bag (with my phone in it) on the arm of my chair.  Then I stared at my boss.  I was annoyed and wanted to ask her why she wasn’t at the bakery today and what she thought about the Mayor’s wife’s arrest?  But my boss kept looking at her shoes.  Then I looked at her mother.  She seemed super focused on that crystal ball.  Then I stared at the crystal ball.  It looked old.  Then I wondered if it came from my boss’s mother’s family?

Then my boss whispered, “Be a dear and stay with mother while I run an errand or two.”  My boss always “runs an errand or two” when I visit her mother.  I don’t mind because I actually like her mother.  Most of the time, we end up doing household chores like laundry or ironing.  She has the best washing machine– it’s a Speed Queen!  On one of my visits, we polished the silver and she told me about her favorite husband, Harold (not my boss’s father).

Anyway, after my boss left; I turned my phone off.  I figured the FBI didn’t need to know about the crystal ball or its possible revelations.  Then my stomach growled.  I was thinking about bread, and what I could make when my boss’s mother said, “I see you talking to a grey haired man.  He’s very tall.”  There was a brief pause, then she said, “I see you making French toast…”

“French toast” made with “Gluten Free Paleo Sandwich Bread”  Bread recipe by Julia Mueller
http://www.theroastedroot.net

Speed Queen washing machine information:
http://www.speedqueen.com

 

Dear Diary,

I had a basket full of goodies; phone and umbrella balanced in one hand while my keys were in the other.  Just as I locked the bakery’s front door, I received yet another text from my boss.  It read: “Sudden change of plans.  Mother was hungry.  I made a delicious roast chicken; Parker House rolls; creamy garlic mashed potatoes; broccoli and lemon glazed carrots for supper.  Don’t hate me… but, mother would like a chocolate cake for dessert!  Still bring the banana bread– mother will have that for breakfast.  Take the soup home.  You have my permission to share it with your cats!”  I responded, “See you soon.”

Since my boss’s mother is a raging chocoholic, I had already anticipated her need for something potent.  That’s why I made Fran Bigelow’s “L’orange.”  Anyway, after I re-secured the chocolate cake (in the basket) on top of the container of soup and banana bread, I suddenly remembered the bakery’s daily bank deposit.  I had to visit the bank first!  The bank is exactly one block away from the bakery.  And, my boss’s mother’s house is three blocks away from the bank.

I was finally on my way to my boss’s mother’s house when a tall grey haired man approached me.  I thought he was going to ask what I had in the basket.  Instead, he identified himself as an FBI agent.  He told me, “We’ve been watching you and your boss for some time now.  We don’t have any proof, but we think she’s connected to the Mayor’s wife’s illegal transport and importation of aged zoo animals.  If you’re found to have any knowledge of animals that have been illegally imported/transported here, you could be charged as an ‘Accessory after the fact.’  That means you could face considerable fines and prison time.”  I swallowed and said, “What kinds of animals?”  He said, “Mostly large primates.”  I shook my head in disbelief.  Then he asked, “Would you be willing to collect evidence, i.e. wear a wire?”

“L’orange” cake recipe from the book, Pure Chocolate, by Fran Bigelow
http://www.franschocolates.com

 

Dear Diary,

At 2:30 pm, I received a text from my boss.  It read: “I’m at my mother’s.  Sorry (in advance) for the inconvenience.  But, could you, would you please (with sugar on top), bring us a banana bread (use extra bananas), and whatever soup you made today.”

Soup?

With all the excitement about the Mayor’s wife’s arrest, and the cassava flour palooza, I had completely forgotten to make a soup…  On Sundays, my boss likes to offer an exotic warming soup with one bakery side item for $13.75.  Then I got another text from my boss: “You should remember my mother’s address.  Also, be a dear and enter from the red kitchen door.  The front door’s security camera is whacky and will signal an alarm because I haven’t uploaded your image to its facial recognition software.  Capisce?”  I didn’t understand but wrote, “I’ll be there by 5:00pm.”  She wrote back, “After dark would be better.”

The “after dark” seemed weird, but truthfully it was no weirder than the time my boss asked me to collect cobwebs for her mother’s injured foot.  Looking back, I don’t know how I did it.  But, I did.

Anyway, I needed to make soup PDQ!  Lentils might seem like an odd thing for a bakery to have on hand, but they are incredibly versatile; so I decided to make Ismail Merchant’s “Nimbu Masoor Dal” or lemon lentils.  When the soup was ready, I set off for my boss’s mother’s house.

“Ultimate Banana Bread” recipe from the book, Everyday Grain-Free Baking, by Kelly Smith
http://www.thenourishinghome.com

“Nimbu Masoor Dal (Lemon Lentils)” from the book, Passionate Meals, by Ismail Merchant

 

Dear Diary,

When the phone call with the Mayor’s wife ended, I knew I should’ve asked more questions…  But, I was flattered by the amount of money someone was willing to pay for my gluten free bread.  I must admit the handmade/homemade stuff tastes better than store bought.

Anyway, the Mayor’s wife’s sister wanted 150 gluten free mini hamburger buns.  That’s it!  The Mayor’s wife instructed me to rent a Zipcar for the day.  She told me, “You’ll have to drive way out to Route 50.  There will be plenty of signs showing you the way.  There’s no way to miss it!”  I should’ve asked a question.  Instead, I thought about all the discount malls on Route 50.  After all, I needed new dinner napkins!

Beyond that, I wasn’t interested in why the Mayor’s wife’s sister would have a family event way out on Route 50 or why she needed 150 mini buns…  Before ending the call, the Mayor’s wife said, “My sister will supply the meat.  All you have to do is be there by noon.”  Again, I should’ve asked a question.

When I arrived at Route 50, I saw a huge circus tent!  I parked the car and walked around.  I thought I was at the wrong place until a woman (who looked similar to the Mayor’s wife) asked me if I was the one with the bread.  I said, “Yes, I’ve got 150 mini buns.”  She said, “Thanks for coming out on such short notice.  I’m sad to say, we’re closing the show and dismantling the tent today…  This is the last anyone will ever hear of my rat circus!  We’ve had too many complaints from The Animal Welfare League…”  She looked away and blew her nose.  Then she said, “My rats were well fed and loved!”  Again, I didn’t ask any questions.  I simply followed her behind the circus tent.  Then she said (through tears), “The meat is… ready.  All you have to do is assemble the burgers for the troupe and your work is done.”  Again, I didn’t ask any questions.

“Sandwich Rounds” recipe from the book, Everyday Grain-Free Baking, by Kelly Smith
http://www.thenourishinghome.com

 

 

 

Dear Diary,

At 11:45 am, approximately 15 minutes before my boss was due back at the bakery, the coffee machine dramatically turned itself off.  I had assumed all was well between us because I smelled coffee brewing.  So, with that task successfully behind me, I decided to make shortbread cookies.  Anyway, I was back in the kitchen when I heard a “beep, beep, beeeeeep.”  I rushed out front.  The noise and a blinking red light were coming from the coffee machine!  I pushed the power button but nothing happened.  Seconds later, the beeping stopped.  I’d often heard “Cleopatra” greet the machine with, “Ciao tesoro mio.”  So I said, “Ciao tesoro mio.”   There was a long pause then I heard a gurgling noise from inside the coffee machine.  Then there was a “Hmph” sound.

I repeated, “Ciao tesoro mio.”  The coffee machine replied, “Allora cosa vuoi che faccia?”  I understood that to mean, “What do you want me to do then?”  I calmly stated, “I want you to work the way you work for ‘Cleopatra.'”  The coffee machine said, “Io non parlo inglese.”  I inhaled deeply and thought about what to say.  Then I begged, “Si prega, si prega di lavorare la mia macchine cara!”  The coffee machine rudely replied, “Io non voglio lavorare oggi.”  The machine didn’t want to work today…  Good grief!

My boss was fuming mad when she entered the bakery at 12:05 pm.  She looked at me and barked, “Get me a cappuccino STAT!  I’ll be in my office.”  I stayed out front for a few minutes.  I figured “Cleopatra” would be in tomorrow and the coffee machine would be ready to work again.  I scratched my head searching for what to say to my boss.  My boss isn’t the kind of person who wants to hear details about problems.  She wouldn’t want to know that the coffee machine took the day off.  My boss is only interested in  results.  She always says, “If you find a way to fix a problem… fix it.”

Five minutes later, my boss came out of her office and said, “Forget the cappuccino…  I’d rather have that luscious chai you made last week.”

“Gluten-Free Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies” recipe by King Arthur Flour
http://www.kingarthurflour.com

 

gluten-free-shortbread-cookies-by-akwelle-vallis

Dear Diary,

As soon as the Mayor’s wife left, I double checked my “To do list.”  The bakery’s barista, Cleopatra (not her real name), had the day off; so I had to “fire up” the coffee machine myself.  I have not established a good working relationship with the coffee machine.  I’ve found the machine to be temperamental…  Also, it responds solely to verbal commands made in Italian.  A few years ago, my boss hired an elderly woman, Mrs. Palermo, to tutor me in Italian.  Unfortunately, the machine deemed Mrs. Palermo’s Sicilian dialect “irriconoscibile.”  Hence the hiring of “Cleopatra.”  My boss loves that coffee machine, and consequently (she loves) anyone who can operate it properly.  I don’t drink coffee, but I’ve heard “Cleopatra’s” coffee is perfetto.  I have however used it to make coffee flavored gelato…

Next task on my “To do list”: come up with a new theme for my boss’s niece’s baby shower.  Apparently, the niece was offended by my original theme: “Fat, pink and pretty!”  I wanted to make all kinds of cute, fat pink desserts in honor of her new rotund shape and size.  It was a good idea!  As an example, I made snowball shaped cakes covered with pink hydrangea flowers.  Even though the hydrangea flowers were made entirely of sugar, the niece found my use of hydrangea sugar flowers offensive because hydrangea (if eaten) is a poisonous plant which induces vomiting and all sorts of gastrointestinal discomfort.

The last item on my “To do list” was: make Claudia Roden’s Orange and Almond Cake.  My boss spent her childhood in Morrocco and wanted something delicious from her past added to the bakery’s repertoire.  By 11:30 am, the cake was baked and cooling on a wire rack.  Incidentally, I had prepared the oranges the night before.  Since I had a little extra time on my hands; I went outside to cut fresh flowers for the front window.  The bakery was well stocked and ready for my boss’s return by 12:00 pm.

 

“Orange And Almond Cake” recipe from Claudia Roden’s book, The New Book Of Middle Eastern Food
OR 
Google: “Claudia Roden’s Orange and Almond Cake by Moira Hodgson”

 

Dear Diary,

Grocery shopping (with my boss’s credit card) was fun!  I threw  all kinds of unnecessaries into my cart.  I even found an expensive ham for my savory bread pudding.  Nevertheless, I was undecided about my “Thank you” gift for feeding Ancel and Axel…

Then I saw the new bookstore section of the Co-op.  I hastily  rolled my full cart inside.  Suddenly, the cart’s wheels locked.  I lost hold of it, and watched as my heavy cart slammed into a bookshelf.  Books were scattered everywhere!  I ran to help the sales clerk clean up.  She was really nice about it and recommended 2 books:  Move Into Life, by Anat Baniel;  and The Secret Of The Ring Muscles— Healing Yourself Through Sphincter Exercise, by Paula Garbourg.  As I was leaving, the sales clerk said, “Take this book (Everyday Grain- Free Baking, by Kelly Smith) too.  The recipes are really good and easy!”

It was 7:15 am by the time I finished unpacking the groceries at the bakery.  I looked over my “To do list.”  At the top, my boss had written: Make Chocolate zucchini bread for the Mayor’s wife.  She included a recipe, and a personal note.  It read: “Super delicious.  I made this exact chocolate zucchini bread last week for my mother who despises zucchini.  She loved it!”

The Mayor’s wife walked into the bakery just as I finished packaging the chocolate zucchini bread.  She smiled and asked, “Are you still interested in that job offer?”  I said, “Maybe?”   Then she said, “What happened with the box?”  I looked at her and thought about making up an excuse.  Then she said, “Never mind for now, my sister needs someone to cater a small (gluten free) family event at her place.”  There was an odd pause.  Then she said, “Of course you’re interested…  I can see it in your eyes!  I’ll call later with the details.”

“Paleo Chocolate Zucchini Bread” recipe, by Elana Amsterdam

http://www.elanaspantry.com