The Roundup -

Sirens Seductively Calling


September 16, 2020 | View PDF

I have always loved baked goods. Especially as a youth, I could never resist any tempting concoction placed in front of me. Pastries, cream horns, cream puffs, pie, chocolate cookies laden with coconut and nuts; you name it. If it wasn’t good for me, I really enjoyed indulging my decadent tastes.

Fortunately, as I have aged, I have become a lot more discriminating as to what I place in my mouth. I can easily separate out the excellent pastry from those that ought to be left in the store, as the majority of baked goods today truly are not particularly tasty and do not tempt me in the slightest. I had basically weaned myself off baked products until I arrived in Virginia City and discovered the Star Bakery in Nevada City. For several months during the summer tourist season, a local baker operates this little shop and creates the yummiest treats one can possibly imagine. Her offerings are exquisite products that dissolve in an explosion of divine taste when placed in one’s mouth.

Since this bakery only operates during the summer season, the first few years we lived here it wasn’t too difficult to stay away and forget about its existence, until of course my husband would comment on the scrumptious cinnamon roll he had enjoyed that day. That might put my nose out of joint for a few hours, but then I’d forget about it and move onto something else.

However, last summer the baker started selling my little ghost booklet in her shop and everything changed. This afforded me the perfect excuse every few weeks or so to stop in, collect my portion of the book sales money, drop off a few more books for sale, and of course to exchange some of that book sales money for some of the extraordinary offerings on display. The vast display made me drool, and selection required some serious thought. I decided I needed to try as many different treats as possible to discover what might be the very best choice.

This summer, things went from bad to worse. I truly enjoy visiting with the lady who bakes these marvels, and since she continued to sell my ghost booklet in her establishment, I quickly decided that more frequent visitations were required to catch up on news, collect my book money, and definitely to continue sampling some sort of baked product. Or two. Or maybe even three. After all, life is short, I’m old, I could be dead next week, so one extra cookie might not be good for me, but it contributes to my mental health and well-being. Also, this summer has proved additionally stressful, thanks to COVID-19 and dealing with not-very-pleasant tourists who have taken rudeness and entitlement to the limit of human endurance. Maybe one extra chocolate muffin topped with a sinfully delicious chocolate frosting could make the difference between sanity and utter chaos.

So, armed with this convoluted reasoning to placate my guilt, I began visiting the bakery every Sunday morning. Arriving early gave me the opportunity, before the hordes of hungry, impatient people began arriving at the door, to visit with my friend, watch in amazement as she deftly moved one pan of finished product that looked exquisite and smelled heavenly, from the oven to replace it with another pan of scrumptious looking delectable bakery product. I watched her mix frosting, place her delicacies out on display for customer inspection, I could take a look as to how many ghost booklets she had sold, and basically revel in an early morning visit with a kind, thoughtful lady who happened to have an impressive amount of marvelous homemade bakery items just begging to be eaten.

Throughout this summer season, I sampled some of the best puff pastry I have ever eaten, tasted incredible cookies, and munched down cinnamon rolls like my grandmother used to make, and enjoyed coffee cakes, fantastic muffins, and assorted other toothsome morsels.

I discovered my neighbors really enjoyed the cinnamon rolls and the blueberry lemon muffins, so one Sunday I bought them their favorites and delivered these wonderful treats in time for their breakfast. Needless to say, I was their favorite neighbor for at least 15 minutes that day. Of course, my husband and I are their only close neighbors, but that is another story for another day.

All good things come to an end, at least for a while. Our neighbors returned to Nevada in mid-August for the winter, and the summer drew to an end. The bakery shut its doors for another season the last weekend in August.

Knowing this was my last kick at the can for the next nine months or so, I made a bittersweet trip to the Star Bakery the last Sunday in August. My favorite baker had sold the last of my books, I collected my money, and then I perused the many offerings she had available for her last day of business. I thought of my poor neighbors, stuck in Nevada for the winter, and how much they would appreciate some sort of summer’s end bakery item. So, I bought a pastry for myself, a cookie for my husband, a cookie for my neighbor (who prefers cinnamon rolls above everything else at that bakery, but also happens to adore cookies), and a blueberry muffin for my neighbor’s much better half. Of course, the neighbors were long gone from their Montana home, but I assumed they would totally appreciate my thoughtfulness in thinking of them and purchasing them their favorite treats, which I naturally ate on their behalf.

I consumed my pastry, I gave my husband his cookie, I ate the neighbor’s cookie for lunch, and I devoured his wife’s muffin for breakfast the next morning. I am sure they will remember my generosity for years to come.


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