25 Days of Thanks- Day 1

For a few years now I’ve tried to write out random and/or personal things that I am thankful for.  This year, above all years, I have many things to appreciate and value in this crazy life.  If you read back in the blog, you’ll probably also see that there are a few years that I’ve failed to complete it.

Not this year.

There’s too much to smile about.  Too much to laugh about.  And too darn much to enjoy about the people, places, and things around me.

Some have also asked, “Hey Jeff… You know that Thanksgiving is in November right?”.  My response is that, no disrespect to Thanksgiving, I’m a Christmas fan.  December brings with it snow, lights, decorations, Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark, Holiday parties, family, friends, and Christmas.

So without further ado, Day 1!

Thankful- Vegan Bakeries

Many of you know about my egg and nut allergy.  Most conversations surrounding any baked good usually results in, “Oh.  Dang it.  That’s got eggs in it.”  Every now and again an item in a bakery popped up as being Jeff friendly and thanks to knowing some folks at local bakeries, multiple items popped up as options that would not send me to the hospital.

But never had I really been exposed to a vegan bakery, let alone any true vegan establishment.

But then I moved back here to Troy and very quickly learned of X’s and O’s Vegan Bakery.  Troy has been on a huge upswing in the small business and real estate markets.  Developers are flocking to this city filled with a great combination of young adults and amazing historical architecture.  X’s and O’s has been a large part of that resurgence as the only vegan bakery in the Capital Region.

So on a whim one day, I had to go and see what all the fuss was about.  Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: Hi!
X’s and O’s: Hello!  How can I help you today?
Me: New to the area and my first time here so I really have no idea what I’m doing.  Plus I’ve got an extra little challenge.  I’m deathly allergic to eggs and nuts.
X’s and O’s: Well we’re a vegan bakery

At this point, I start freaking out because for some reason, my mind decides to not allow me access to that part of the brain which has probably stored exactly what “vegan” means.  My heart starts beating.  It goes without saying that my face probably turned beat red.  What felt like 5 minutes in my head was probably 3 seconds in reality…

Me:  …  … … So what does that exactly mean?
X’s and O’s: Well we don’t use any egg product or dairy product in any of our items.

It’s as if my brain has now put up a wall to all sense of logic.  I’m surprised that it had enough awareness to stay standing up.

Me: Wait a second.  Say that again…
X’s and O’s: Yea, no eggs or dairy in anything plus our stuff with nuts is labeled on the front.

I look away from her and peer towards their bakery display case.

X’s and O’s: So what can I get you?

My brain had switched from complete and utter dumb to complete and utter joy.  I stood there looking at 5 levels of options in the case.  There were bakery related terms that I never really grasped because I knew that I couldn’t go near them.  These included words like “brownie”, “mocha”, “tiramisu”, and “chai”.  My silence now was caused not by stupidity but by overwhelming choices.

Me (Probably with a small tear in my eye): I may need a second… I’ve never had so many options.

I ended up picking a few things which they wrapped very nicely.  I thanked them probably 40 times.  It’s entirely possible that someone got a hug.  I can’t remember.

I drove home, made a quick dinner, and then looked in bag for an option.  Ohhhh… Oatmeal cookie sandwich.  That sounds like a good start.

The dumb part of my brain starts to creep back in…

Jeff’s Brain: Really?  This creamy sandwich filling doesn’t have any egg in it?
Jeff’s Brain: You know, that kinda looks like a walnut right there.
Jeff’s Brain: Was walnut written on the sign?
Jeff’s Brain: You probably shouldn’t eat this.

With questions buzzing through my brain, I put the cookie sandwich down and thought through some options.  This only caused more questions.

I knew the only way I was going to get answers was to call the source.  I really should have reflected on the fact that I drilled the worker at the counter and there was probably no way she was going to let me walk out of that place with anything that might come close to killing me.

I dialed the bakery and they once again were kind and informative.  Nothing to worry about.  No nuts.  Everything will be cool.

No, I didn’t ask her to stay on the phone with me while I took my first bite.  At least I don’t think I did…

Since then I’ve been back numerous times.  Even encouraged the RAs I work with to invite them up for a program on vegan culture which X’s and O’s happily accepted!  They have always been extremely nice and helpful with any and all questions and I can’t recommend them enough to anyone looking for a great bakery, even if you aren’t necessarily vegan!

So today I thanks to the vegan bakeries for providing sweet treats and smiles to us egg allergy folks everywhere.

Thanks for reading…



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