Today's the Day: An Island Bakery Opens Its Doors
Despite the thick fog and the 58-degree temperature, I know it is summer because I am tripping over gallons of molasses and multiple 25-pound cartons of chocolate chips. I’m trying to figure out how to “put away” 1,300 pounds of flour in 50-pound bags, not to mention the 500 pounds of white and brown and powdered sugar. There is no way. It’ll all have to stay piled up in the middle of the floor.
The pile will shrink over the next ten weeks, until Labor Day, when hopefully I’ll have just a little left for myself. It’s time to start “the bakery” for the season. Opening day is today, Friday the 25th of June.
My little summer business doesn’t really have a name. I’ve always just referred to it as “the bakery” but cannot call it that in an official sense, because I saw in the paper that a bakery called “The Bakery” has recently opened in Damariscotta.
It never seemed to be necessary to have a business name. I’m not open long enough each year to bother with a business checking account or nicely printed take-out boxes. Last summer, however, when I was trying to order a flag emblazoned with the legend “BAKERY,” sort of like an “open” flag, the online company required that I enter something in the Business Name line.
I had recently written yet another essay about doughnuts, those supposedly horrific examples of America’s bad diet, and how we homemade-doughnuts fryers ought to band together and resist this widespread media insult. With a wink to Matinicus Island’s (tediously overplayed) “outlaw” reputation, I rehashed the line “When they outlaw doughnuts, only outlaws will have doughnuts.”
I weakened. When a business name was required, I filled in Outlaw Doughnuts. A few days later a flying service pilot appeared at my doorstep and a box was delivered to the same.
You might think it’s obvious that I’d call my little sugary racket the Island Bakery, but I will not do that. Various businesses named “Island This” and “Island That” are or were once all owned by the same guy, our busily entrepreneurial neighbor Mark. It’s sort of, well, trademarked. Even that bit with the pickled whelks a few years back.
There have been a few other suggestions over the years. The summer ministers who come to Matinicus for a few weeks to volunteer amongst us heathens always need to check their e-mail because, no matter how much they wish they could just have peace and quiet and get away from it all on the island, Old Lady So-and-so has been feeling poorly and the parishioners back home want to stay in touch about her. It’s part of the job. So, every few days as a rule, the various pastors and preachers show up, have a cinnamon roll, and politely ask if they might use my wireless for five minutes. We could call this place the Preacher’s Internet Café. I don’t worry. Those guys don’t spend a lot of time playing Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell online.
The seriously non-charming and highly industrial appearance of my dooryard has suggested to at least one clever sort that I call this place the Cable Reel Café. I shouldn’t really call it any sort of a café, because that leads people to think this is a restaurant, which it is not. I have to spend altogether too much time every summer trying gently to get rid of people who want to linger, loiter, rest their weary bones, park semi-permanently in the doorway, make themselves at home without invitation, eat cookie dough raw out of the bowl, stand way too close to the hot doughnut fat on the stove, and generally invite themselves in to get underfoot. (And I’m not talking about friendly summer people whom I actually know; they aren’t the problem. I’m talking about the more pompous of total strangers, usually off yachts, who refuse to recognize that this is not Disneyland, and that I’m too busy to entertain them and their little dog, too!)
Anyway, the Cable Reel Café does have a nice ring to it (no, that wasn’t intended as a bad telephone company pun). I suppose any footsore customer would be welcome to sit out in the sunshine on a cable reel and have a coffee. If the kids are home there might even be espresso. We have rules about that, however. We’ll only make espresso for philosophy majors, poets, starving artists (not the highly-paid kind), college students, bongo players, crusty-looking Italian speakers, and people who work all night. We might ask for proof. You might be asked to write a poem on the spot.
Eva Murray bakes bread and all manner of high-calorie goodies for locals and visitors to Matinicus Island, where the customer is not always right.