Did I know what I was getting into when Kinnaird+Mangan enlisted me to build a “bread centerpiece” for an American Bakers Association reception? No. Do I ever really know what I am getting myself into? Nah. A list of required baked goods was sent to me.
I gave it thought. While driving. Just before sleep. Over coffee. Waiting in line.
Gathering and foraging took me to the grocery, craft store, pharmacy and hardware. Several times each. Gathering and foraging. Plotting, scheming, thinking.
I made a trial run and realized I didn’t like the look of the metal rods and dowels. They needed texture. Floury texture. So I painted them with diluted glue and rolled them in flour. Much better.
I built some bread cascades with spray glue and wooden skewers. Pretty nice. Except for the big ugly holes at the end. What could go there? Set that aside for later.
The bread and rolls were left to dry so they would be strong and could support one another in a tall vessel. Some bread was too dry and shattered when I tried to stack it, or pierce it. Begin again.
Cheerios in the top layer spilled down and filled every nook and cranny. Should have seen that coming. Begin again, cheerios on the bottom. Better. I liked it much better with added pita. Dry pita stacks nicely, asymetrically, leaving airy spaces. Some bread I coated with spray varnish to prevent cracking and chipping. These half bits were used to encircle the dowels, crusts facing out.
Borrowed a pair of heavy duty snippers, a metal lopper thingy that did the trick in trimming excess rods. Then I wrapped it all up to go. Layers of soft cellophane, like tissue on a bee hive do.
Okay, I had a handle on the main affair. How was I going to get it there? Call in the transportation engineer. The handling and shipping department stepped up with cardboard, bubble wrap, yesterdays Post, and a three step delivery operation. Oh, but first, the crowning – actually, more of a train than a crown – touch. A garland. All decent affairs require garlands. Signed and sealed, the caterer picked up the box – my car did not have the headroom. On the day of the event, her staff ferried it on to the site where I met them. Parts assembled, final tweaks made, lights, camera, no action. A still life that still had life.
And then I had a drink.