Jean Blacklock

reflections on being an entrepreneur

Latest stories

Election 2020

Four years ago, I wrote about how I was spending an embarrassing amount of time watching news about the American Presidential election. I have apparently made very little progress in my life as now four years later I am doing the same thing. Last time they had an election in the States, the host of one of Toronto’s big parties ordered dozens of cupcakes with custom sugar toppers, half with...

I love it when I see your name

A few weeks back, I listened to a podcast that the host kicked off by saying that her guest was one of her favorite people, “I always love it when I see your name!”. This made me think about all the people whose name makes me feel good, when I see or hear it. I thought of my friend, Megan, whose fictional Google review of her experience at a hospital made me laugh so hard I almost spit out my tea...

The Missing Central Park

The catering desk recently heard from a customer who was upset with the lard in the icing. The problem is, we don’t use lard, we’ve never used lard, and I’m not even sure if our supplier carries lard. But none of that matters because the customer and all her guests believed that what covered her cake was not a swiss meringue buttercream made of egg whites cooked with sugar then whipped with...

Icing: eat it with a spoon

For a full year from around August 2009 to the fall of 2010, I made a lot of cupcakes and a lot of icing. I’d go to the store and buy 4 pounds of butter at a time because good icing needs a lot of butter. I also bought a lot of cookbooks because although I had baked cupcakes and made icings for years, it is one thing to whip up a batch for family and friends, and another to sell them. Creating...

The Kindness of Strangers

Last week I listened to an interview of Andrew Oliver of Oliver & Bonacini on Leading Through the Crisis. It is an excellent interview – have a listen to really understand the impact of the pandemic on the Canadian foodservice industry. E20. Leading through Crisis Andrew also mentioned the many good things that he has seen including the loyalty of his team and the kindness of their...

Chicken Dinner

I had a tough day on Tuesday. The details don’t matter – think back to your last challenging day and that’s how I was feeling. In response to my tales of woe at dinner, Andrew kindly said, “Wow, you really had a crappy day!!”. Do you know what flashed through my mind right then? It was that even if, instead of having challenging meetings, I had just spent the  day buying lottery tickets and...

Pandemic Progress

I haven’t thought about back-to-school for elementary and secondary students for awhile. Rebecca, our youngest child, graduated from Grade 12 in 2016 . Here’s a post from 2014 in which I mention the four of them   But this year, the Year of the Pandemic, back-to-school for children and teenagers is on all of our minds…another example of the many unusual side effects of a pandemic. Another...

The Power of Small

Early on in the pandemic, I listened to a podcast that asked, When this is all over, what do you want to have accomplished? I’m always up for a good self-development challenge, so I made a list of what I wanted to achieve in the pandemic: Keep my business afloat Eat more fruits and veggies Get a good start on the book I want to write about starting and running a business In making my little list...

Pandemic spending

I started Prairie Girl with a sum of capital, much of which was an inheritance from my beloved parents’ estate. Because I had the capital to spend, I spent it. Not for PGB would there be used bakery equipment, cheap countertops, or plain chef’s jackets by the dozen. No, Prairie Girl Bakery circa 2010-11 had all-new ovens from Quebec, Corian counter tops and chef’s jackets with the logo...

Half Baked Harvest

One of many unexpected joys in the pandemic has been finding a few new bloggers, perhaps the best of which has been Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest. Her Sunday emails of her 9 favorite things from the week before, has been a bright spot in many a pandemic Sunday when Andrew and I have been doing our best to create a weekend out of air. I found Tieghan when I read about her 2nd cookbook...

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