It has been a solid 60+ hours since we turned the lights off last Wednesday night at PJP Buttonwood. It is safe to say that Jeanne and I are ready to get back to the task of World Pie Domination early tomorrow morning. (Though, 60 hours may not be enough distance between me and pumpkin because there was SO MUCH PUMPKIN. In the early morning hours of last Wednesday, we all discussed making tomorrow a baking day focused on all the pies that weren’t on the Thanksgiving list. We ultimately doubted many others would be down for our esoteric sense of pie humor though.)
We are excited to see the Team PJP members scheduled to work tomorrow to do a bit of a post-mortem on Thanksgiving 2K16 to figure out what worked well for us last week (and especially, what didn’t work well). We made some significant improvements over the previous two years, but as always, we had room for improvement. (Going to Hy-Vee in the middle of the night for heavy whipping cream is awesome. Said no one ever.)
Without question, we made one major improvement in our logistics. To that end, the unsung hero of Thanksgiving was Tiger Ice. Early last week, it occurred to me that if we only had a refrigerated space to hold our baking supplies and 1,000+ rolled pie shells we had completed earlier in the week, our fight for space inside PJP Buttonwood would be much less intense. I googled “refrigerated truck” and found all sorts of interesting results, most of which seemed confusing and intimidating (a few even required a commercial driver’s license). The next morning, Jeanne called our good friends at Tiger Ice to describe what we needed and a mere 30 minutes later, the owner brought over a refrigerated 5×8 trailer to our alleyway and we plugged it into a standard 110 volt outlet and BOOM….forty square feet of refrigerated space that we didn’t have early Monday morning.
Immediately we could stock the trailer full of butter and whipping cream and eggs and ALL THE THINGS (at a constant five degree temperature). Instant game changer. As we finished pumpkin pies and waited for oven space, we had the space in our refrigerator to hold the pies in a queue for rack space in the ovens. (It is a darn shame someone doesn’t rent ovens, come to think of it. Or a darn shame that we don’t have a larger space.) (And if you are curious, I did call the landlord to approve having the trailer in the alleyway for three days and it was graciously approved. Whew.
This year we had quite a few customers request we make their pies and then freeze them (rather than baking them) so that they could travel long distances with the pies and then bake them according to our instructions in their oven. And all I could think was that next year, we could rent two of these trailers and stock one full of completely ready-to-bake pies and sell them to the hundreds who stopped by on Wednesday and had no idea that we are pre-order only on the holiday. Sort of like Oprah’s “you get a car and you get a car and you get a car!” thing…except we are talking about pies in this scenario and we can’t afford to give them away because we aren’t Oprah. But bonus points if you catch the reference.
Something to consider…