Writing has always been Billie Grable’s first passion. And yes, baking is her second.
Growing up in a family of seven kids (she landed right in the middle), Billie learned to cook large. She watched her mom turn a pound of hamburger into a full meal that fed her entire family. She enjoyed endless loaves of fresh bread and cookies all through her childhood.
It's not surprising that during her career in high tech, she was best known for her baking abilities -- and she liked that. She loved nurturing her coworkers through the daily grind with fresh baked goodies. She never had to announce the arrival of the newest batch … coworkers knew instinctively and her desk was the most visited in the office.
Billie’s love for cake decorating started long before her career in high tech. It was important to her that her daughters’ birthdays be celebrated with a homemade cake. This was a long standing family tradition, and she remembers the simple, yet delicious cakes her mother made for her and her siblings.
Billie decided she wanted to take her cakes to a creative and new level. She found a store in Bremerton, Washington that sold cake decorating supplies and soon began the process of teaching herself how to decorate.
Her early cakes, were, let’s face it: scary! She’s sure the clown cake she made for her youngest daughter instilled both of her girls with their skin crawling fear of clowns.
And her first wedding cake, was, well, downright ugly. The cake was for a coworker’s daughter and the wedding was held on a hot summer day in August; sometime in the 1980s.
Billie loaded the two tiered cake into the front seat of her pickup truck. By the time she arrived at the wedding destination, the top cake on the bottom tier had slid into the back of the seat, turning the already questionable cake into a disaster. She brought the damaged goods into her coworker’s house and as she popped it in their freezer, tearfully assured her friend the cake could be repaired.
Fortunately the wedding was schedule for the next day. And fortunately (or unfortunately given the horrendous color of blue), Billie had left over icing that she used to repair the cake and right the unspeakable wrong.
Billie’s obsession for cake decorating led her to a job decorating cakes at a local grocery store. Her skills improved and she relished the new challenge.
Some of her cakes were quite ingenious. Like her Michael Jackson cake. She gave him a full head of black piping gel hair, and she sparkled his famous white glove with edible glitter. It was a huge hit for Michele’s 16th birthday and became a frequently ordered item.
There was one thing Billie realized during her first year in the bakery. Mass production wasn't her idea of creativity. After her second Easter required producing over 100 Easter bunny cakes, she opted for a career change.
When her father-in-law gave her a brand new Tandy 1000 computer, her new obsession began. She left the bakery and went to work for the government. The change gave her the opportunity to work on computers and she was promoted to computer system analyst. Billie soon learned all she could and her eagerness to expand her computer skills landed her a software test engineer position at Microsoft.
After spending almost thirty years in high tech, she earned the title, Geeky Grandma, from her grandson Nate.
Blogging for Epicurean Delights keeps Billie's creative juices flowing and gives her the opportunity to work closely with her oldest daughter. They are working on a cookbook, and Billie is polishing her second novel.
You can purchase her first novel, The Weeping Willow Sings, on Amazon.
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