Hello, my name is Phil and I am a bakers husband. In light of the recent baking boom we are an ever growing breed; we don’t ask for a lot of recognition and we take little credit for the fabulous baking that takes place. Our contributions to the business are often unseen, but can be very important. Let me tell you a bit more about my role...
Let’s start with the emergency visit to the supermarket. On the verge of sitting down after a long hard day at work to watch TV when all of a sudden the familiar sounds from the kitchen suddenly stop. The mixer falls silent, the opening and closing of the cupboards and fridge ensues and then abruptly ceases. A torrent of curse words follow.
You know deep down what’s happened and what comes next. Then the call comes out “Phiiillllllll....I have ran out of....can you nip to the shop for me?” If you’re a true professional bakers husband you have put your shoes on before this, found your car keys and are just waiting for the name/quantity of missing ingredient before heading out in to the often cold night in search of eggs, flour or another random component. What the cashier must think when I rock up with 24 eggs, 8 bars of white chocolate and lemon at 11pm I have no idea.
Then we have the “As you are near there could you just pick me up....” role. Here we might be in the area of a cake supply shop. This scenario normally involves buying a specific item. Sometimes it’s the easy; piping bags, cake boards etc. Other times it’s a much more specialised item like a certain colour ribbon (anyone know the difference between purple, Cadburys purple and deep purple? No, neither do I) It could be a piping nozzle or at worst sugarpaste which can also be known as fondant, roll out icing etc etc. I have spent more time on the phone to my wife in cake shops that at any other time in my life.
Then there is the lone delivery. Driving with a cake in the car is hard enough, often worse when the cake maker is sitting next to you worrying about every bump, pot hole and person on the road. But when it comes to the ‘lone delivery’ the stress of actually meeting a client can be too much. Don’t get me wrong I like meeting people but the added pressure of handing over an edible item to someone I have never met, knowing my actions could impact on my partners business is stressful.
The task that fills me with the most dread though has to be setting up a cake. Thankfully, it’s a task reserved for emergency situations only! I’m not a cake maker for a reason, well a whole bunch of reasons, but handling and setting up cakes is luckily a rare occurrence.
Another element is the taste testing stage. This may be just me, but I’m a savoury kind of guy. I‘ve never really been into sweet thing but since the business was set up I’ve probably tested more sweet things than the average sugar addict at Christmas.
I’m still not keen on cakes and bakes but I am slowly getting a taste for them now and this could explain my ample middle age spread (a common work hazard). Not a day goes by where I don’t have to try some new recipe or concoction; I’m expecting some sort of score card system to be introduced soon. (Just so you know, I would happy hand this role over to someone else. I know for a lot of people that read this might think of this role as their nirvana so please apply within!)
Finally, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I know more about cakes than any non baker should. I know the names of bakers from around the country and I know all of my wife’s baking secrets. ... well not all, so no kidnapping me for ransom please. I have an opinion on cake controversies (non toxic glitter anyone?) and know all the subjects that can get other bakers mad (tell a baker how much you love the Tesco cake range, go on I dare you) Do I need any of this information; will it come up at my work or the next pub quiz? Probably not.
To me the bakery world is an amazing place, so many people trying to do the different things with essentially the same basic ingredients and so many cake decorators staying up till 3am to get the perfect finish to their cake. I am in awe of it and the people that work in the industry.
I am glad it’s not me doing it though, I’m happy to stay a baker’s husband. Underpaid and on a permanent sugar high.