I’m rarely at a loss for words. In fact I can get so revved up on a talking jag that I often have to apologize for going on, what I call, “autoblab.” I’ve also been known to utter words that don’t even exist. On occasion my left temporal lobe decides that the hundreds of thousands of words in the English language can’t effectively communicate what I’m trying to say and before I can stop myself, I’m speaking gibberish. What’s worse? I even conjugate this nonsense. Especially if caffeine or sugar or alcohol – or God forbid, all three – are involved. Throw in my western Pennsylvania accent that I’ve never totally lost and at times my speech can be almost indecipherable to the untrained ear. So I’m accustomed to the raised eyebrow or the questioning tilt of the head on the part of people with whom I’m conversing. But even I was surprised when earlier this year I found myself repeating the word “gob” to people who obviously had no idea what I’d just said; the fact I was asking them to buy this thing they’d never previously heard of only made the exchange more complicated and bewildering.
But what a difference six months, and a certain amount of press coverage, can make. I’d like to think of 2009 as the year San Franciscans added the word “gob” – or perhaps a different meaning for the word – to their vocabulary. It’s been heartening but especially humbling the way the city has welcomed me and my baked goods into its culture since I officially debuted Gobba Gobba Hey Gobs in late May. This time last year, barely two months since my move from Washington, DC, I was scratching my head as I scoured San Francisco’s media outlets trying to find my place professionally and personally in my new hometown. My book The Warmest Room in the House had just made it onto the Chicago Tribune’s Best Books of 2008 List – not that that honor made any difference or brought with it any guarantees, though. With the economy tanking and options for freelance writers disappearing daily, the only thing certain in my life was uncertainty. Eventually I found my place at the table not by writing about food but by baking and selling one of my favorite confections from my childhood. Gobs.
Now as 2009 comes to a close, it’s the gobs that have been included in some year-end round ups. Author and columnist Karen Solomon gave Gobba Gobba Hey a nod in her “Best Eats of 2009” survey in SF Station, and the readers of 7X7’s Bits + Bites column nominated gobs as one of the Big Eat Suggestions for 2010. There was even a mention of my baking in the December 4, 2009 issue of The New York Times, as well as in the December issue of Conde Nast Traveler.
There’s not enough room here to thank everyone who helped make 2009 so wonderfully memorable, but if you’re reading this please know I am extremely grateful for your support. I thank you all, and I especially thank you, San Francisco, for adding the word “gob” to your lexicon. You’ve left me speechless. (Well, almost.)