My baking business (or what my husband refers to as “my hobby that’s gotten out-of-hand”) continues to grow. This week, I began teaching cookie decorating classes to seniors through an agency called Creative Aging.
To prepare for the class, I bake several dozen spring-themed cookies. I stack the still warm from the oven flowers, beehives and butterflies into plastic containers and hit the road. I’ve got a half-hour’s drive and don’t want to be late.
A grandmother answering phones at the center’s front desk directs me to a large, open room with 6-foot folding tables. I place a dozen paper plates around the table and top each with six cookies. I line the colored icings down the center of the table and space glass ramekins of toothpicks around the table within easy reach.
“I want to share a few easy tricks,” I start. Seven heads nod in agreement.
“Don’t let Martha Stewert fool you,” I continue. “You don’t need fancy smancy supplies to make gorgeous cookies. I use clean ketchup bottles bought at the dollar store and toothpicks. High tech, right?”
They titter and nod.
“What if we make a mistake?” one lady asks.
“We eat all mistakes and destroy all evidence,” I immediately answer.
“I like that,” one laughs. To prove she’s on board, another sneaks a taste of icing that’s dropped on her paper plate.
The ladies and I talk and decorate cookies for over an hour. Each time I demonstrate a technique I place the cookie on a platter in the center of the table. Several of the ladies share with me that they’ll be traveling to New York City on a tour the following week.
“We’re going to see TWO Broadway shows!” one says. The class shifts from cookie decorating to a lovely hour with friends. The ladies laugh and nibble and laugh some more. They invite me back to teach them cupcake decorating with their grandchildren.
“I liked that,” says a woman to me as I pack up my supplies to leave. “But my eyes aren’t what they used to be.” I nod. “But I am 96,” she says in a conspiratorial whisper.
“96!” I yelp before she shushes me. Can you imagine? I hope I still have teeth to eat cookies at 96 let alone decorate them.
I grab the platter of cookie from the center of the table. When the 96-year-old and I walk towards the front door, I gently place them on the desk of the grandmother who showed me to the room earlier.
The two of us walk out together. “Have a great time in New York!” I say. I turn left and she walks right before getting into her car and driving away. Yes, she drives, too.