Baking Up Friendship
They call themselves The Baking Team. Every Tuesday, six friends gather to mix up batches of desserts with decadent names like Ooey Gooey Butter Cake and Granny Cake. Not for themselves, but for the 240 people receiving food assistance from Mobile Meals of Edmond.
“When you get older, dessert becomes more important. You eat it first,” said Dina Pedersen with a laugh. “A homemade dessert brings them joy. We make a variety of cookie bars and brownies. The clients tell us what they like, and we try to mix it up so that they get new recipes and old favorites.”
It was nearly 13 years ago that Sharon O’Bright and Nina Loeffler first started baking together. Janice Bunas and Dina joined 10 years ago, and then Karen Janjua and Cindy Reich came on five years ago. As mostly stay-at-home moms with children of similar ages, they found comradery that also served a purpose.
Now, this team of six shares a fast friendship, celebrating birthdays and special events, and even going to Disney World together. They build their schedules around the Tuesday baking shift, which always starts with lunch before they report to the Mobile Meals kitchen.
“The kitchen gets very noisy on Tuesdays, because we are constantly laughing and cackling, and the mixers are going, too,” Cindy said. “We share recipe ideas and trade stories and advice. I always go home feeling good about myself and good about what we’ve done.”
After so many years of weekly baking, they’ve certainly had their share of food disasters. Theylaughastheysharestories about missing ingredients, equipment malfunctions and food falling to the floor after coming out of the oven. “And believe me, we hear about it if something we make doesn’t taste right!” Karen added. “We had to start using fewer chocolate chips when we got complaints that the chocolate desserts tasted too sweet.”
Friendship is the key ingredient of this team’s longevity,but they are also deeply rooted by their individual beliefs in Mobile Meals. In addition to baking on Tuesdays, each one of these ladies volunteers for a different shift on a different day. Some drive and deliver meals, some cook, and others prepare weekend trays.
“We love this organization and what it does for the people in our community,” Dina said. “I enjoy delivering the meals and getting to know the people—and they always look forward to our desserts.”
Every week, The Baking Team dishes out over 700 desserts, but they all agree that what they get in return is far sweeter. “We enjoy each other so much,” Cindy said. “I call it “baking therapy” because we talk about everything while we’re baking–but that part stays in the kitchen!”
To learn more visit www.edmondmobilemeals.org