We had a jam crisis at the bakery this week.
I kid you not. Things like this happen. All it takes is running out of one ingredient, one label, one anything, and suddenly…poof. We transition from just another normal day to Houston, we have a problem.
From the moment I started baking, I have been solving problems. Some might say the problems are endless. Indeed, there are many days when I dig my non-existent nails into my palms and silently pray for the baking goddesses to save us. There are also stretches of times…sometimes hours, sometimes entire days, when the problems are so minor they feel similar to noticing a piece of lint and casually, leisurely brushing it into the atmosphere. I have grown so accustomed to problem solving that I rarely get rattled.
Baking rack stuck in the oven? Ok. Not a problem. Armor up with oven mitts and wrestle the hot metal until it shakes loose.
Out of ribbon? A little more frustrating than the baking rack, but still manageable. Switch from white to pink, from pink to red, from 5/8th of an inch to 7/8th of an inch. Whatever it takes. Keep going.
From bags to containers, sugar to eggs, butter and more, we manage to figure things out. The bakery around the corner may have bags. The supplier for the containers is on the phone and can bring containers in an hour. More sugar coming later this afternoon. Butter arriving first thing tomorrow.
But jam? Not so easy.
Without jam, we cannot make Linzer Hearts.
I almost can’t breathe as I type this.
How much jam could one bakery possibly use making one kind of cookie?
So far in 2021, we’ve used over 3000 pounds.
It wasn’t always the case.
A quick story:
Way back in the day, we had a very special supplier for our jam: my mother. At that time, instead of buying 20 or 50 pound pails of jam, we used jars of Smuckers red raspberry jam straight from the supermarket. Marge was the best supplier ever. She called, asked if we needed more jam, and would show up with a random collection of plastic bags holding jars of jam from a number of different stores. She took her jam job seriously and began to build her inventory of jam so that if we, say, had a jam crisis, she was prepared.
Back then, when jam was abundant and the delivery person always cheerful, I took this for granted. There’s Marge…more jam. It wasn’t until our recent supply chain breakdown this week that I realized just how lucky we had been to have Marge as our Director of Jam.
There’s a happy ending to this story. Our current supplier quickly responded and everyone on The B Team cheered when jam arrived the next day. In true Karen style, I may have over-ordered jam this time.
Guess I pulled a Marge…building inventory.
Wishing everyone the happiest of Valentine’s Day today. Hoping you are feeling loved and that your supply of jam runneth over.