And in the half light of my quiet kitchen I prepared to bake my favourite banana bread, a recipe that had once been used by my paternal Grandmother.
By the time the rest of the house started to come to life, I had pulled two steaming loaves from the oven. I wrapped the loaves in clean tea towels, and placed them inside my Baker’s Drawer along with some loose leaf tea and fresh butter, ready for transport.
I bundled my daughter into the car and together we drove to the home of a close friend, a friend that had been having a rough time of late.
We sat, we watched the kids play, we shared our tea and banana bread, and we talked about life’s trials. Another successful adventure for Eva Florence, my Baker’s Drawer. This, right here, is what The Baker’s Drawer is all about.
Dreamed up by Kate Thompson of Winnie & Co, her friend Jen, and with guidance from Kylie Lewis (Of Kin), the Baker’s Drawer is an ingeniously designed and stylishly handcrafted wooden vessel made in Melbourne. Put away the plastic Tupperware containers, this beauty is going to take delivering your baked goods and home cooked meals to a whole new level!
Winnie & Co’s team of like minded dreamers – or co-conspirators – launched the Baker’s Drawer in October last year. Since then it has grown beyond all of their wildest dreams with the first 100 drawers selling out through a Pozible campaign in just under a month.
Kate tells us “We just thought ‘what the heck. If no one likes them, then that’s ok, at least we’ll all have a drawer each!’ I know it might sound bizarre going into a business thinking, ‘oh, let’s just give this a shot’, but it’s not really a business, we’re just trying to create a community of people. So we looked at it from a very different angle, and we got very casual about it, and thought we’ll just share our experiences with people and see if they like them. And it just caught on. We’ve been blown away, we did not expect this at all.”
So where did this beyond-brilliant idea come from? Kate explains that after deciding that a career in catering just wasn’t for her (“I found that the more I did it, the less pleasure I got out of it, because to me I became like a factory…”), she returned to her job as a school teacher and baking for friends and family in her down time.
“I looked at a Tupperware container one day and said ‘Tupperware isn’t pretty any more, Tupperware doesn’t make things look beautiful.’, and so I started using some old tins of my grandmother’s that I found. Then one day I went to Daylesford and out of the corner of my eye I saw this old pie cooling tin, and so I started putting little tarts all lined up in there. And that’s how it all sort of started.”
When Kate so generously gifted a Baker’s Drawer to me last year I was immediately smitten. It is so beautifully made, so smooth to the touch, and something that I know I will always treasure, and that will be handed down to my children, along with many experiences of the adventures we have with ‘Eva Florence’ (each of the drawers is numbered and stamped with a name of your choosing).
Kate shares some of her story…
“Back when my grandmother was my age the women joined together as a community because they had to, their husbands were at war, they had three or four children at home, and generosity was done ‘just because’. They would turn up to an event or a friends place and they would always bring cake, or something. They helped each other out and lifted each other up. ‘You looked at little sad, I’m just going to drop a cake off’, or ‘You looked really tired today, I thought you might need dinner.’ Our hope is that this drawer will help bring back that ‘just because’ moment.”
“In our social media crazy world, everyone is so disconnected. People often comment or text ‘well done’, but that’s usually the end of it, there’s no human contact any more. So we hope that this will help to bring back that human touch again.”
No, we did a prototype and we used to take the prototype everywhere. We spent a couple of months dropping things off at people’s doors, or I would take it into work, and everyone started saying ‘Oh my God, what’s in the draw, what’s in the draw?!!’. And then I randomly put it on my next door neighbours doorstep and she texted me and said “Oh my God, there’s hot chocolate pudding in this box!!!’. It’s very hard to describe, it’s just all come about …it’s always been, ‘let’s have a go at this’, or ‘maybe we could do this?’. Then we were lucky enough to find a brilliant craftsman who also believed in the philosophy and wanted to work with us, because in the early stages we had no idea whether this was going to take off or not!
Soon after I found my grandmother’s journal we decided we wanted to write a cookbook. If you read through my grandmother’s stories it’s got the name ‘Mrs Yate (9 Ettie St)’ and a date, address, etc, everything there, and then her friend’s recipe below it. So we hope that all these stories will start to spread and we’ll be able to recreate the journal for our generation to share. We find that without the story, it’s just a box. So we’re in the process now of gathering people’s photos and comments through Instagram and little recipes that people send us, and we’ll just put all those together. It won’t be the perfect journal, because my grandmother’s isn’t perfect, it will be sort of a collage of lots of things, we’ll ask some special people if they would like to create a page, but we want it to be a collaborative effort of all the people that own drawers.
The people and the personal emails that we have received, the stories that people have shared with us already, the people who have reached out to us and wanted to understand the concept and to share it. The offers of help we’ve had, of people wanting to be a part of it, wanting to be involved, wanting to help spread the message. All of that stuff is completely humbling and you don’t know me from a bar of soap, but the beautiful comments and thoughts and willingness to help has just blown us away.
Interested in having your own Bakers Drawer to bake and give the gift of kindness? Visit the Baker’s Drawer website here.