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The Snowmmelier

People in food are hardworking, expected to show up at all time, even when the weather doesn’t allow it. Marissa Sertich details a snow-filled day in the life of a baker.
By Marissa Sertich

The Snowmmelier

Snow days are for pansies – That’s what I learned my first year working as a baker. The newscasters were predicting Armageddon, but I knew that I would be expected to show up for my shift. We could have been in the middle of the zombie apocalypse and I would be there cutting out scones and mixing brioche dough.

My shift started at 6am and 5 inches had already accumulated. Typically, I drove to work, but I had a good parking spot and in South Boston, those are more valuable than the Stanley Cup. Almost everyone in Southie has street parking so you have to drive around for a half-hour before finding place where you won’t get towed. If you live in Southie, you will get towed. At least once.

So, I headed out to catch the 4:50am Number 9, and when I saw that the Dunkin’Donuts on the corner was closed, I knew the bus would never come.

If Dunk’s was closed, it was more than likely that everything else was also shut down – including public transportation. Boston runs on Dunkin’s – literally.

Luckily a cabbie saw my pathetic self shivering at the bus stop and he offered me a ride. After a toilsome journey of getting stuck in the middle of an intersection and getting out to help push the cab to safety, I finally made it to work. And on time.

Cooks are part-pirate, work long hours and are expected to show-up when the rest of the world hibernates. In fact, a young baker named Joe, called to see if we open and our boss teased him unforgivingly for the rest of the week. “Yes little Jo-Jo we’re open, but maybe there will be an early dismissal from Kindergarten today. Don’t forget to bring extra diapers with you when you come in! ”

So, to make a long story short, throughout my working career, I’ve never known snow days. This past weekend with the big storm I thought a lot about all of the cooks out there, trekking through the blizzard to make it in time for dinner service. I called up an old friend to ask if their restaurant was open. He just laughed and told me how they’d scheduled a couple people to actually stay overnight so there would be someone to work on Saturday. Currently, I’m a 9-5er and felt sort of guilty hearing this. I am proud of that demented dedication shown by cooks.

Today, I built an homage to the cooks – A snowman sommelier. A snowmmelier. I hope that all of you restaurant people out there find time to enjoy a couple bottles of wine after all your hard work during the storm. Cheers!

Marissa Sertich

Marissa Sertich

Marissa Sertich is a New York based pastry chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. She passionately documents her adventures of baking and eating her way through the fascinating (and sometimes nutty) underbelly of the American pie. Sertich's writing has been featured in "La Papillote," "EverydayFiction," "The Culinarian," "Toque Magazine," and is currently earning her Master's degree in Food Studies at NYU.

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Originally Published: March 1, 2013

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