I Wuz Just Thinking: A Baker’s Dozen

Photo by Direct Printing & Graphics.

 

In case a cookie or two may be smaller or broken, mother added one or two more to make sure customers received their full dozen .

The aroma of the freshly baked pastry is still being moved from corner to corner in the room by way of the central air conditioner and ceiling fans shifting the air.

My mind goes back to the many times my mother baked cookies and pecan tassies.  She would have me count each one while packaging them for her customers.

Betty Mahurin Baker

I would count out twelve – one dozen – then mother would say to add one or two more to each package.  I asked her why because I knew the customers placed their orders by the dozen.

Mother said, “a baker’s dozen – thirteen, or a couple more.”  

I inquired what she meant and why.  She stated the customer ordered a dozen, but if a cookie or two may be smaller or had broken, or there was a miscount, she wanted to make sure her customer received their full dozen plus.

She said many years ago in London, England, and other places, the bakers of bread would sometimes short the amount of wheat in the loaves, short changing the customers.– cheating them and, in reality, stealing from them.  If caught, they were sometimes arrested, placed in prison, and often flogged.

The bakers soon became afraid that some of their baked goods might come up a little shy of their proper weight so they would add an extra loaf or two to the orders of a dozen loaves. Better safe than sorry.  They did not charge for that thirteenth or fourteenth loaf.

My mother’s explanation has always stayed with me. Anytime I bake cookies or tart shells, I always make more that each of my customers receive more than the standard dozen, always giving the customer their fair share….as I wuz jus thinking.

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