When I grow up?

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Here I am just having a grand old time in the kitchen.

Every once and a while (but quite often as of late), I think of throwing in the towel and returning to my earlier aspirations of opening a charming bakery tucked away in a small town somewhere I've never lived before. Of course, these dreams are rather erratic. The next day, I'm likely to declare (again), "I'm going to be a school teacher!" or "I'll start a bed and breakfast. I'll be an innkeeper!" My last name, Inman, may imply my destiny, after all.

No matter the scenario, I always come back to baking, whether I'm daydreaming of being the frazzled Home Ec. teacher with flour in her hair (do schools still teach Home Economics?) or meticulously sketching out plans for the ultimate farm-fresh continental breakfast.

I like to be in a kitchen. Even my teeny harvest gold apartment kitchen. I bake quite often, and I still need lots of practice. The only problem is that we end up with more treats than we can handle. For the health conscious, the stress evoked from a lingering fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies can be debilitating. Poor Kurt may be on the verge of a heart attack, just knowing they're always there ... waiting.

So here I sit at my desk job, thinking about pies again. And reading about these 20-something ex-fashionistas giving up the lime light for whisks and rolling pins only adds a rose-colored tint to my already idyllic, whimsical pipe dream.

Two very successful operations currently haunting my brain are BabyCakes in NYC and Heaven, a bakery/cafe located in the western Catskills of New York.

Erin McKenna's allergies to wheat and dairy motivated her to open a bakery to serve all-natural, organic, naturally sweetened and vegan alternatives. Sounds kind of healthy nutty, but BabyCakes is just as indulgent and delicious as the traditional sugar and buttercream bakeries that make New York City famous. She seems to take the sweet tooth seriously. In fact, it's been rumored that Babycakes shamelessly sells $1 shots of frosting.

With a background in the fashion industry, McKenna jumped head first into a completely different world- now her cupcakes have been voted best in New York City. Not best vegan cupcakes, either. Best cupcakes, period! To me, that's quite impressive, considering that my foibled past with vegan baking ultimately lead me to profess my undying devotion to butter and eggs forever.

Erin McKenna was featured in a 2007 issue of Domino Magazine

This month, I spotted a little profile of McKenna in Lucky Magazine. Also, Inc. Magazine wrote a good bit about her business smarts, found here.

Ex-fashion model and trained pastry-chef, Taylor Foster Allen, opened Heaven, a sweet little bakery-cafe located in the rural town of Bovina, NY. Allen makes everything using local, natural and organic ingredients, inspired by the French bakeries she visited in her days as a runway model. As a small child, she always said she wanted "to be a bakery" when she grew up. Although she was off living the glamorous life of a model, I love that she admits to keeping a journal highlighting all of the exotic and delicious cakes and cookies she was able to try during her travels.

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Allen's Heaven was featured in the Fall 2008 issue of Boho Magazine

There was a neat article in the New York Times this month about Allen and how she got her start.

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