Excerpt of The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy
(Page 4 of 5)
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A cake order?
No. Im a writer for Sun City magazine. I wanted to interview Elsie
Oh, Im sorry. I usually check the messages on Sundays, but I didnt get
around to it this past weekend. She turned to the kitchen. Mom, theres
someone here for you. She tapped her fingers on the register to the beat of
the jazz trumpets, then tried again. Mom!
A pan clattered. I am kneading!
Jane gave an apologetic shrug. Ill be right back. She pushed through
the curtains, revealing steel kitchen appliances and a wide oak bakers table.
Reba examined the golden loaves stacked in baskets on the open
shelves: Roggenbrot (Light Rye), Bauernbrot (Farmers Bread), Doppelback (Double- baked), Simonsbrot (Whole Grain), Black Forest, Onion Rye, Pretzels, Poppy Seed Rolls, Brötchen (Wheat Rolls). Inside a glass display case were neat rows of labeled sweets: Marzipan Tarts, Amarettis, three different kinds of kuchen (Cake: Hazelnut, Cherry-cheese, and Cinnamon-butter), Almond Honey Bars, Strudel, Stollen, Orange Quittenspeck (Quince Paste), Cream Cheese Danishes, and Lebkuchen (Gingerbread). A paper taped to the register read: Celebration cakes to order.
Rebas stomach growled. She turned away from the case and focused on
the willowy leaves of the dill plant by the register. You cant, you cant, she
reminded herself, then dug in her purse for a roll of fruit- fl avored Tums and
popped a disk. It tasted like candy and satisfied the same.
Another pan clattered, followed by a stream of choppy German. Jane
returned with fresh flour on her apron and forearms. Shes finishing up
some tarts. Cup of coffee while you wait, miss?
Reba shook her head. Im fine. Ill just take a seat.
Jane motioned to the café tables, noticed her dusted arms, and brushed
the wheat airborne. Reba sat, took out her notepad and tape recorder. She
wanted to make sure to get print- worthy quotes now and avoid another
trip. Jane wiped the glass case with something lavender scented, then continued
to the tables around the bakery.
On the wall beside Reba hung a framed black- and- white photograph.
At first glace, she thought it was Jane standing beside an older woman
Elsie, perhaps. But their clothing was all wrong. The young woman wore
a long cape over a white dress, her light hair swept up in a chignon. The
older woman at her side wore a traditional German dirndl embroidered
with what looked to be daisies. She clasped her hands in front and gave
a meek glance, while the younger cocked a shoulder to the camera and
smiled wide; her eyes bright and slightly indignant to whomever behind
My oma and mom Christmas 1944, said Jane.
Reba nodded to the photograph. I can see the family resemblance.
That was Garmisch before the war ended. Shes never been one to talk
much about her childhood. She married Dad a few years after, as soon as
the military nonfraternization laws lifted. He was stationed there eighteen
months with the Army Medical Corps.
That sounds like a good story, said Reba. Two people from totally different
worlds meeting like that.
Jane flicked the cleaning rag in the air. Isnt that the way of it?
Love. She shrugged. Just kind of hits you BAM. She squirted lavender
and wiped the table.
Love was the last thing Reba wanted to talk about, especially with a
stranger. So your dads American and your moms German? She scribbled
a helix on her pad and hoped Jane would simply answer her questions, not
ask any more.
Excerpted from The Baker's Daughter
by Sarah McCoy. Copyright © 2012 by Sarah McCoy.
Excerpted by permission of Crown. All rights
reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted
without permission in writing from the publisher.