Well, look no further!
I recently made friends with a woman called Jacqueline (Jackie) Keller who resides in Port Elizabeth. How we became friends is quite complicated, but suffice to say that two women can bond quickly and solidly when discussing affairs of the heart.
As our friendship has grown, we’ve shared laughter and tears and childhood dreams. As a child, Jackie wanted to be a flight attendant. I wanted to be a teacher. Needless to say, if I’m writing in the past tense, you’ve obviously gathered that neither one of us is what we dreamed we’d be. Given the economic instability in which our country finds itself, I think we’re both better off doing what we’re doing, but it has also been a long and winding road for both of us – Jackie had various contract positions after school from those of an administrative nature, to being a dental assistant and in 1994 married her high-school sweetheart, moved to Durban and then became a full-time mom to two beautiful children. They sadly parted ways last year, after having been together for twenty eight years. It was only in 2006, after having been married for 12 years, that she was required to work to contribute to the household financially, but after four years, her health took a turn for the worse and she had to stop working.
As you all know, every little girl dreams of what she’ll be when she grows up. Most of us dream of being princesses, teachers, ballerinas, nurses, singers, Hollywood starlets, flight attendants or even Heads of State. Most times, those dreams are shattered and we end up being something else, but that something, while often mundane, is often equally, or even more rewarding than our childhood fantasy. What really satisfies us though, is doing something we love; creating something…in essence perfecting a masterpiece. And this dear readers, is what this post is about.
It was only in 2006, after having been married for 12 years at the time, that she was required to work to contribute to the household financially, but after four years, her health took a turn for the worse and she had to stop working.
In December of 2010, without knowing it, things were about to change. Jackie decided to make gifts for her family and friends…and this is where she discovered her true art.
Jackie, like me, is a creator. I write; she bakes. Her ex-husband had me try a piece of her glazed Christmas cake in December; the very same tried and tested recipe she used back in the day. It was amazing. No, that is an understatement! It was Out…of…this…world! And that people, is a serious compliment, because I abhor fruit-filled-confectionary of any kind. Okay, except maybe apple Danishes or apple crumbles, but other than that…Really. I’d rather have hot pokers shoved through my eye sockets than eat the stuff. Fruit and Cake just don’t sound good together, nor does Fruit Mince. I’m shuddering at the mere thought. But Jackie’s fruit cake. Oh. My. Word!
She never thought she’d ever turn her hobby into the Heavenly Treats business, because she’d never really walked down the decorating avenue, but she ventured out of her comfort zone and is making a success of herself, slowly but surely, and I believe firmly that with enough publicity, she is going to become a top name in the Port Elizabeth baking scene. I hope that this blog entry does something to contribute to that exposure, if even in a small way. Her Facebook page has created quite a bit of awareness already and she has also appeared in front of the lens, having done an interview for BayTV in February last year.
I’ve also had the privilege of tasting some of the many biscuits and cookies she bakes. Talk about variety! My taste buds have been tantalized by:
Choc Chip (which are amazing. They are more choc-chip than dough!)
Peanut Butter (I’m biased when it comes to anything peanut-butter, but these cookies rank right up on my list of top 10 peanut-butter anything, along with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.)
Crunchies (that actually CRUNCH! I’ve had some bad experiences with crunchies that are so chewy I feel like a toothless horse champing on stale oats.)
Others I have yet to sample are:
Sugar Biscuits, or as us South Africans may be more familiar with, Soetkoekies
Jackie loves the festive atmosphere at the farmers’ markets and often has tasty treats for sale. Visit her at the new Glendore Arms market, African Skies, and soon at the Savoy market. She also takes part in Bridal Expos too!
She expertly crafts a work of art for all her customers, be they first-time-buyers or one of her many regular return clients because of her innate understanding that every occasion, be it a:
for which baked goods are required is a celebration and that the common denominator at these gatherings is happiness and pleasant memories and thus every cake, biscuit or cupcake that leaves her humble kitchen contains one priceless, special ingredient that can’t be bought off the shelf…love.