Zoë François is the author of Zoë Bakes Cakes and even though her name is French, she’s an American cake baker. Known for a series of books on making Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, as well as books that continue that theme for making pizza, flatbread, holidays breads, and gluten-free breads, Zoë has finally turned her talents as a pastry chef to cakes. After growing up in a commune where the closest she got to sugar was a raisin, Zoë discovered Twinkies, which awakened her to the wonderful world of sweets and started selling homemade cookies from a cart in college, which eventually led to a job decorating cakes at Ben & Jerry’s, since she admitted to me on an Instagram Live video I did with her, that she didn’t excel at scooping ice cream.
I had a similar job scooping ice cream at a very busy shop while in college. Challenges included a persistent stressed muscle near my upper arm, which didn’t get better the more ice cream I scooped. There were customers who’d order one scoop, but ask me to make it “one really big scoop” because they didn’t want to pay the extra 50¢ for two scoops. And people paying for a $1.30 cone of ice cream with a hundred and thirty pennies, maybe with a few very thin dimes tossed in, which they’d line up on the stainless steel counter between us, which were nearly impossible to pick up with wet, sticky hands.
(You tell me if I was a brat by holding their ice cream cone in the other hand, while they cooled their heels waiting for me to pick up each individual coin, one-by-one, with the other – finally handing their cone over only after the last coin was pried off the counter and put in the register, which the owner monitored like a hawk. Another employee, if people were rude to her, would carefully balance – but not pack – the ice cream scoop delicately on top of the cone, so when they went outside to lick it, it would topple off. The moral of the story, as I often advise, is to be nice to people serving you food.)
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