The feel of the dough, the intoxicating aroma, the curves of the loaves as they came out of the oven. Those are some of my fondest childhood memories. Those days simply soothed my soul and are a big reason why baking is my sole passion!
I spent hours and hours in the kitchen with my Aunt Elsie, who farmed in Blanchardville, Wisconsin. Sometimes it didn’t seem like she had much to work with. She used what was available on the farm, with limited purchases from the local grocery store. No matter what she baked or cooked, everything served at the farm table was wonderful!
Then there’s my mom. She’s my best friend and a designer of beautiful wedding cakes. As my lifelong mentor, she shared her love for our Norwegian heritage and taught me the art of making lefse. My first of many attempts to make this delicate flatbread were, well, let’s just say they were moments I don’t care to remember. Lefse is a dough you get to know only by feel and lots of practice! So I am forever grateful for my mom teaching me how to make lefse, and she has now passed the honor onto me of making lefse for our family get togethers!
I couldn’t have guessed the important role both of these strong women would play in my life’s direction years later. After being a full-time mom when my children were young, I went back to work full-time, mostly in business environments and staying in the same career field for several years. When I turned 50, I realized my career seemed to be molding me into someone I’m not. I knew then that something had to change.
Rising to the Occasion
My husband Dale, when he’s not by my side, is in front of me with encouragement or behind me with an extra little push! He said, “It’s your time now, Pam, and you should do what you’ve wanted to do all these years.” I gave my notice at work and enrolled in a baking and pastry arts program. The young man taking ID photos said he had never seen anyone so excited about getting a school ID! At that moment it hit me that I was about to start a brand new journey in my life.
Kneading to Follow my Passion
I graduated from the Baking & Pastry Arts program at Madison College in 2012, followed by a 3-month internship at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont. My first night alone, some 3,000 miles from home, I wondered what the heck am I doing? It was Dale’s encouraging words that kept me focused and reminded me that I needed to follow my passion. My internship at King Arthur Flour was an amazing experience to learn from so many talented bakers! If you haven’t visited King Arthur Flour, make sure you put it on your “bucket list”!
Nourishing My Spirit
When I’m not baking, I am sweetening my life in other ways. My greatest enjoyment is spending time with family and friends, taking long walks, and of course, baking!
From my childhood love of baking, I hope to never lose my sense of fun and adventure—mistakes and all! I hope you’ll join me, so we can feed off each other’s passion for baking!
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