There is a fairy godmother at work in Phoenix, and like all fairy godmothers she often works behind the scenes and outside of the spotlight. Yet her presence can be felt by the sparkle she adds to the places she goes, or in this case, by the bundt cakes she brings. For this fairy godmother, whom we will call KB, has a specialty ... building community bridges through the power of bundt cakes.
"I've probably made 400 bundt cakes in the last 2 years", says KB with a twinkle in her eyes.
It is her own public/private joint venture created through the simple act of bringing someone, or many someones, cake.
Making the bundts started with "chat and chew" strategizing sessions for a city agency where KB would bring salads, or tortellini to lunchtime brainstorming sessions. Since she never knew how many might be present, she needed a dessert that could be flexible enough to feed a few or dozens. That was how the bundt tradition began.
When we catch up with her, it is at the home of Yuri Artibise, coordinator of Jane's Walk Phoenix. As we start making bundt cakes - chocolate stout bundt cakes with two cups of Guinness in the batter to be exact - the talk quickly turns to the upcoming Jane's Walk event, which will take place Saturday May 1, at 9:00 AM.
The walk will start at AmenZone (106 E. Buchanan St.) and will focus on buildings in the warehouse district just south of downtown.
Jane's Walk is a series of free neighborhood walks that take place in several cities across North America designed to help people get in touch with their environment and community. The event "honors the legacy and ideas of urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs who championed the interests of local residents and pedestrians over a car-centered approach to planning".
The bundt cakes we're making today are for a companion event, Jane's Talk
, at the Hotel San Carlos
on May 4th.
Jane Jacobs wasn't trained as an urbanist; she was a community activist, mother, and housewife who cared about what happened to her community. She was a catalyst, not unlike our fairy bundt cake maker, KB.
Coincidentally enough, KB said that she was basically raised, "to be a second generation northern Italian matriarch". It's not lost on us that it's exactly these traditional "homemaking skills" of hospitality, community, generosity, and cooking that she puts to use with such great effect in her community bridge building.
Chances are if you're at a community event or planning meeting (we've spotted her at Phoenix Youth and Education Commission meetings) and you see a bundt cake, KB was there.
To sample the chocolate stout bundts stop by Hotel San Carlos on Tuesday May 4th, and check out Jane's Talk, from 7-9 pm. The evening will feature two events: a film screening and a book reading. These will be followed by an open discussion of Jane's ideas and how they might be applied in downtown Phoenix.