Monday, November 22, 2010

Of Turkeys and Timing and True Love

So I go to pick up my bowl of butternut squash soup at the Cherrydale Atlanta Bread Company Thursday night and I look down and there is a TURKEY in my soup: an adorable, hilarious, most unexpected, and completely delightful outline of a turkey drawn (somehow?!) with sour cream. I laughed out loud and Charise Carroll, 19-year-old aspiring gourmet chef, peeked at me from behind the counter and, eyes twinkling, asked, "You like it?"

Let's just say good food surprises are a rare thing. I liked it so much that I invited Charise to come sit with my friend Angie and me and tell me what inspired her to make my supper so much fun. Turns out that the lovely Charise is one of ABC's bakers and is studying culinary arts at Greenville Tech with the hope of making a career out of food one of these days. "I really love baking," she confessed, and told us how she grew up making masterpieces in the kitchen with her mom and siblings. Creme brulee is one of her specialties, as are desserts in general. Working at Atlanta Bread Company lets her put that passion to good use while she studies her craft; she likes to let her talent and creativity shine wherever it can.

I don't know that this sparkly, wholesome, beautiful teenager decorates everyone's bowl of soup; I think maybe I got lucky because Charise happened to be in a very good mood that day. You see, her boyfriend of two years had just asked her to marry him; they're planning a Fall 2011 wedding and, yes, she's thinking about making the wedding cake and, yes, she was pretty much on Cloud 9.

Interesting that on a day when I'd read a disturbing article about how four in ten people now consider marriage obsolete, and at a time when positive role models for young girls seem all but nonexistent, I meet this charming young woman with a firm faith, strong values, who calls her mother "my best friend," and is giving 100+% at her job while studying for her degree and planning carefully for her life with the man she loves.

I've been sleeping better ever since; all is still right in at least part of the world. If you want proof, drop by the Cherrydale ABC and say hello to Charise.