May 5, 2010

Plum good!

 carrot_cake_520x500 Awhile back I did a post on a lovely little spot near my neighborhood, Blackbird Coffeehouse. One of the yummy treats I sampled there was a delicious carrot cake (pictured above) made by Ms. Lindsay Beeson, aka The Plum Baker. I caught up with Lindsay and she was gracious enough to answer some questions for us! If you haven’t tasted her treats and sweets, you are definitely missing out! They are available at several different locations in the Knoxville area including the Market Square Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.

plum baker.bmpSBS:What is the first thing you can remember baking (how old were you, etc.)?

PB: I have very early memories of sitting on the counter watching my mom make bread from scratch; she'd always tear off some dough for my brother and I to "bake" ourselves. So I'd say that's the first thing I baked. But the first thing I absolutely remember doing myself was either sugar cookies or carrot cake. I was ... eight?

SBS: What has been the most challenging thing about starting your own business?

PB: The most challenging thing by far is knowing how to stay on top of the stuff that *isn't* baking. And then balancing it with the stuff that *is* baking. I've spent the last year slowly figuring it out; and I know there's plenty more to learn.

SBS: If you could only bake one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

PB: What a question! It has me stumped. Let me think about that for a minute ...... OK, I thought about it: the macaron! I've recently found that I enjoy being challenged in the kitchen; macarons are a constant challenge. It's part of their identity, almost. So if it had to be one thing, it would be macarons. And I would find a way to always make them new.

SBS: What is a kitchen tool or utensil that you absolutely cannot live without?

PB: My man-power. I love my KitchenAid, but I can live without it. I use a wooden spoon I love, but it's replaceable. And did you know that people started whipping egg whites before they invented the whisk (they used twigs, or even their bare hands)? I put a lot of stock in the human will that has brought baking (and cooking more generally) to what it is today. With all the tools I have, I still get my hands dirty; my arms still get tired.

macarons_variety_520x500 SBS: Are macaro(o)ns the next big thing?

PB: Macarons are ... simply delicious. I follow a hundred and fifty (or so) food blogs, and I see pictures of macarons, tales of macarons (and tales of woe) every day. They're definitely the next treat for treat-lovers. And for bakers who like to dedicate themselves to the science and patience required to figure out how to make them from scratch in their own kitchens, they are definitely the next horizon to conquer.

SBS: Which one of your delicious treats is your favorite to eat?

PB: It changes! Usually with each bite of each new thing I bake up. I just nibbled a little hazelnut macaron shell, in fact. And it was my favorite thing ever.

SBS: It is a beautiful Saturday in Knoxville...where might you be spotted?

PB: The Market Square Farmers’ Market! The season is upon us [started May 1st]. I'll be out there with Meg Parrish of Old City Java on Saturdays to serve up macarons, scones, cookies, biscotti, and some surprises.

chocolate_chip_cookie_corey_mcpherson_520x500 SBS: What is your favorite thing about living in the south?

PB: It's hard to tell; I've lived here my whole life (I was raised in North Carolina, I went to college in Virginia, and my husband and I moved here three years ago). So let me answer you this way ... some things that I enjoy about my life here are: washing my dishes and looking out the window to see five different types of birds, squirrels, rabbits!; taking the long way home so I can drive curvy, slow, verdant roads; meeting smiling faces on the farmers market and having random, easy conversations with people who come to our booth.

These pictures are making my mouth water…I can’t wait to sample more of the tasty items that are available from this wonderful baker. Many thanks to Lindsay Beeson, The Plum Baker for giving us some insight into your world! And what a sweet world it is too!

{Food photos credited to Corey McPherson from The Plum Baker website}