Tag Archives: cookies

Cookie

Standard

When I was a Brownie, I was a cooking-selling machine.

Part of my success was due to my Aunt Dash. She worked at an upscale clothing store for women, and every year at cookie time, she’d have me come in to sell to her co-workers. I don’t know if the co-workers were just being nice of if they were cookie fiends, but those women scooped up most of my inventory.

I sold cookies to my family too.

My parents did their part to support me, not just by driving me around to make deliveries and handling the money, but also by actually buying cookies. Our nuclear family tried them all, but our favorites were Peanut Butter Patties, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, and—of course—Thin Mints. Later, the Girl Scout
Cookie Corporation (or whatever it was called) came out with Carmel Delights, which I was quite fond of, but my parents liked to stay with the tried and true varieties. Personally, I never met a Girl Scout cookie I didn’t like.

Members of my mother’s large extended family bought cookies too. None of my girl cousins were ever in the Girl Scouts, so I had the family cookie market cornered. My MaMa was always good for a few boxes, as were most of my aunts and uncles. My godfather did more than his fair share to support my cookie empire. Other than Aunt Dash, I don’t remember my dad’s side of the family buying any of my cookies, but maybe that was because they lived farther away.

After selling to my aunt’s coworkers and my family members, I took the cookie show on the road.

Despite my mother’s fear of the kidnapping of her children, she’d dress me in my Brownie uniform and help me load boxes of cookies into the family’s rusty green wagon so I could peddle the delicacies through the streets of the mobile home park where we lived. My younger sibling went with me, for safety, in our mother’s mind, but I’m sure the added adorableness didn’t hurt sales.

Stay together, my mother would tell us, and don’t ever ever ever go into anyone’s house.

We’d set out to knock on the front door of each trailer in turn.

I had a routine and a spiel. I’d climb the steps to the front door and knock knock knock. Then I’d run back down the steps to join my sibling next to the wagon full of deliciousness. When the resident opened the door, I’d say Hi! I’m a Girl Scout, and I’m selling Girl Scout cookies… From there I’d let the adult’s questions (How much? What flavors?) lead the conversation.

I was exciting to be out in the world without parental supervision. It was exciting to have a product people wanted to buy. It was exciting to be handed money and be trusted to make change. I felt like quite the grownup until…

I ran up the steps. Knock knock knock. I ran back down the steps. A woman opened the door. In my excitement, I blurted out, I’m a Girl Scout cookie!

The woman burst out laughing. Of course she did! How hilarious is a little girl announcing she’s a cookie? Pretty hilarious!

I felt my cheeks flush with shame. Oh, the humiliation!

I didn’t feel like a grown up anymore, but I was nothing if not persistent.  I’m a Girl Scout, I mean, I corrected myself, and I’m selling Girl Scout cookies.

What could she do but buy a box?

La Reyna Panaderia

Standard
img_7162

I like the old-school style of this sign. I wonder if the lights are turned on at night.

When I was in San Francisco, I spent a lot of time walking around in the Mission District. The Mission is a vibrant, bustling neighborhood with great opportunities for watching people . I enjoyed getting a glimpse of folks living their lives in a metropolis. Being in the Mission made me remember how it feels to love a city.

In addition to people watching, I looked at the murals that are all over the Mission.  My Computer Guy says the Mission has been known for its mural since the 1970s, and and the SF Tourism Tips website (http://www.sftourismtips.com/mission-district-murals.html) backs him up. In previous trips to the Mission, I did see murals, but during my recent visit, I saw so many murals I had never seen before. Maybe I hadn’t been looking in the right places during previous visits. Maybe there really are more murals now. In any case, I spent much of my visit walking around the neighborhood, finding and admiring and photographing outdoor murals.

img_7158I spent an entire afternoon walking around 24th Street, ducking into alleys to take photos of the amazing murals located throughout this neighborhood. From across 24th Street, I saw La Reyna Panaderia and decided I would pay it a visit after lunch.

“Panaderia” is the Spanish word for bakery, and there was a wide selection of sweet treats available at La Reyna. I don’t know much about the pastries of the Latino world, but everything on display looked really delicious. I wanted to try everything!

I tried to joke about wanting to try everything to the woman working behind the counter, but she wasn’t having it. I don’t know if she was having a bad day or if she was just tired or if her English comprehension was limited and she didn’t understand my banter, but she didn’t seem amused by me in the least.

So this is how it works: Customers get a tray and a set of long tongs from the counter and serve themselves from the cases filled with a variety of pastries. Only a few of the pastries were labeled, so I didn’t really know what most of the varieties were. In theory, I guess I could have asked the woman working, but she did not act as if she wanted to be bothered by me. So I picked a big, soft-looking cookie that was obviously chocolate and another that  was sprinkled heavily with toasted coconut and had a red circle that looked like jelly in the middle. There was no indication of the price of anything, but my two cookies ended up costing $1.30. img_7159

While La Reyna’s sign does say “coffee shop,” I didn’t see or smell any coffee brewing. Maybe the lady behind the counter whips something up after an order is placed. I wasn’t interested in coffee, so I didn’t really look for it.

La Reyna also seemed not much like a coffee shop because there are no tables or chairs, either inside or out. It’s not a hangout kind of place. One goes in, buys one’s pastries and leaves. This is a great place for folks who like Mexican pastries, but it’s strictly a “to-go” situation.

Like many other buildings in the area, the one that houses La Reyna has murals painted on the side of it, including one of the Virgin Mary. La Reyna (also spelled “La Reina”) is the Spanish term for “The Queen.” The Queen in question might be the Virgin Mary (you know, as in “the Queen of Heaven”) which could explain why she’s painted on the side of the outside wall. However, The Queen might refer to someone else, and the Virgin Mary’s on the side of the building because she’s a popular art motif in the Latinx world.

img_7160

The words “La Reyna” written under this mural of the Virgin Mary on the side of the building housing La Reyna Panaderia indicate my idea that the bakery is names after the Queen of Heaven is correct.

My two cookies were big, and I savored them over the course of the next couple of hours. I ate a few nibbles while leaning against a tree outside of the bakery, listening to cops question a man sitting at a bus stop. I ate a few more nibbles while sitting at a bus stop bench on Mission Street and watching city people live their lives. Both cookies were delicious, flaky and crumbly.

La Reyna Panaderia is located at 3114 24th Street in San Francisco, CA.

I took all of the photos in this post.

The Best Temp Job Ever

Standard

I got the best temp job I ever had off of Craigslist. I sent an email, then talked to a lady on the phone. I never went in for an interview. In fact, I think the company I was working for was in North Carolina. I was in Austin, Texas.

My job was to give out food samples at supermarkets. The company was going to send me what I needed. Whatever they didn’t send me, I would pick up at the supermarket before my shift.

It was all rather disorganized. I wasn’t told what to wear until after my first shift. By that point I realized  no one from the supermarket knew I was going to show up, much less expected me to wear any sort of uniform. The folks in North Carolina were certainly not organized enough to check up on my clothing. I wore my sweet cowgirl boots, tights, a short skirt, and whatever cute top I had at the time.

Prior to my first shift, the company shipped a large box to me. The box contained napkins and small plastic cups. Once I got to the store, I checked in with the folks at customer service (who seemed to have no idea that I was scheduled to be there that day), then went off to find the snacks and beverages I was supposed to serve. The snacks were different kinds of mixed nuts. I put the nuts into tiny plastic cups and arranged them on the table the store dug out of the stockroom for me. The beverages were a variety of flavored seltzer waters, fizzy, but not very tasty.

It was fun to offer snacks to folks. Most people were willing to try the nuts. Nuts are healthy, packed with protein, everybody knows that.

The real fun began with the second of my three shifts. The box that arrived at my friends’ house prior to my workday contained not only napkins and plastic cups, but also individually wrapped cookies. There were oatmeal raisin cookies and chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies. Yum!

Once I got to the store, I found the beverage customers would be sampling: a store brand bottled Frappuccino type coffee drink.

I set up my cookies and my coffee/sugar drink and waited for customers to approach. Whenever anyone came by, I asked, “Would you like to try…?” Many people did want to try, but a surprising number of people did not. I tend to try whatever is being given out, but if someone offers me a (full-sized) cookie, I have to remember to be polite and not yell out, “Fuck Yeah!” So I was a little startled whenever anyone said no thanks to my offer.

One lady actually told me, No thank you, I’m not hungry. I ask you, what does being hungry have to do with eating a cookie? (Maybe not knowing what being hungry has to do with eating a cookie explains why I am fat.) But come on…the cookies were individually wrapped. Even if she wasn’t hungry for the cookie right then, she could have taken it anyway and eaten it later.

My favorite person was the little old lady, who, when offered a choice of cookies, said she couldn’t make up her mind and asked if she could try both. YES! I was so glad she was bold enough to ask for what she wanted. I happily gave her two cookies.

After the first Saturday of cookie sample distribution, no one at the company asked how many cookies I had left or made any indication that I would have to return the leftovers. YES! I’d just just acquired at least 30 delicious cookies.

At the second (and last) cookie giveaway, I still offered cookies and coffee drink to everyone I saw, but I quit feeling personally offended when the cookies were rejected. Every cookie not accepted was one more for my larder. After my second cookie shift, I had at least 50 leftover cookies stashed in my van.

The company I was working for seemed really disorganized. Not only did they not tell me what to wear until it was too late, but they shipped a box of supplies for a demonstration I never agreed to work. I found out just how disorganized they were when it came time to get paid.

After working the last of my three shifts, I realized that I didn’t know when I was supposed to get paid, so I sent an email to the woman with whom I’d been communicating. She explained that because of when I worked, I’d be paid during the next pay cycle. Well, ok, I had no choice but to accept that.

I must explain that during this time I had no savings and very little income. I was living rent free with friends, visiting food banks as often as I could, and generally living hand to mouth. I needed the money I was owed.

When the time frame for receiving my check came and went, I contacted the woman in North Carolina again. She acted as if my check must have gotten lost in the mail and said she would send out another one. Before I could contact her again about my pay, I received an email that was obviously written to several employees. In the message, the woman I’d been talking to apologized for the pay being late and said she’d been negotiating with the owners of the company to get the checks sent out. That’s when I got mad! The woman lied to me about my check getting lost in the mail. This email made it obvious that no one had gotten paid.

At that point, I was about to leave Texas. I sent the woman an email giving her the address that she should send my paycheck to. I also told her that if my pay weren’t waiting for me in my mailbox by the time I got there, I would be forced to contact the Texas Workforce Commission and let them know that I had worked a job and not been paid. Sure enough, when I got to New Mexico, there was a postal money order waiting for me in the amount owed. I was glad to have it, but had to wonder, what kind of business pays employees with a postal money order? I wonder if the other workers ever got paid…

Handing out free samples was great fun, and I sure did enjoy eating and giving away those leftover cookies.

Image result for cookies oatmeal raisin     Image result for cookies white chocolate macadamia

Of Trash and Cookies

Standard

Image result for potbelly sandwich shop cookies      Image result for image dumpster

I was walking down the The Drag in Austin, Texas. (If you haven’t been to Austin, here’s a note on The Drag: it’s the strip of Guadalupe Street adjacent to the UT campus.)

I decided to walk through the alley instead of walking on Guadalupe because all the dumpsters are in the alley. As I walked down the ally, I checked the dumpsters for anything that looked promising.

I found a big sack of big cookies from Potbelly Sandwich Shop in one of the dumpters. I am not even entirely sure how I found those cookies.The big paper sack full of cookies was in a black plastic trash bag, not something I would usually open.  Some intuition made me rip open the trash bag and shake the paper bag I found inside. The paper bag was really heavy, which was kind of strange. It didn’t feel like it had trash in it. So I pulled the paper bag out of the garbage bag and looked inside.

It was full of individually wrapped cookies. Big cookies. Big chocolate brownie cookies and sugar cookies and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I thought maybe the cookies were really old and not any good. I pulled one out of the bag, opened the packaging, and started eating it. Delicious. No problem. Maybe the cookies had been baked the day before and instead of selling them at half price or giving then away, they had been dumped in the garbage. SIN!

I started walking down the alley with my paper sack of cookies. I hadn’t taken ten steps when I saw a bunch of traveler kids hanging out on a side street, just barely around the corner from the alley. I walked over and started handing out cookies. It made me so happy! (I think those kids were pretty happy too!) I felt so good sharing those cookies.