Nothing is normal right now, for anybody. We continue to bake and mill because that’s what we do and because folks need to eat. But the new normal in our kitchen is just as strange as everywhere else.
A new kind of safety – infrared temp checks, masks, and a socially distanced flow chart – has been the rule for almost 2 months now. And we’re constantly looking for ways to improve. About 3 weeks ago, a shipment of n95 masks arrived to sub for our then motley mix of medical masks, 3M plastic masks, and rounded painters masks. These heavy-duty n95’s presented us with a quandary: they made operating in a kitchen even more cumbersome (harder to see and breathe), but they’re as safe as masks get. We discussed with the team and all agreed safety outweighed comfort.
So we now bake and mill each day as if in an operating room. But the Mill has felt more homey than ever, the mixing and forming and packing offering us all mental respite for a couple of hours. And though we miss watching customers stream into our Lynn space, the lack of guests means that everybody gets a turn at DJ on our cracked iPod. Invariably, the day starts with folk classics and old crooners before devolving into a reggaeton dance party by the mid-day clean-up. As we eat staff lunch at the end of the shift (almost always some form of stone-milled wheat), the conversation is loud and boisterous; in part because we all have to sit so damn far apart, but mostly because it’s good to be milling and baking and together despite how hard everything is right now.