Last Friday morning, my sous chef (i.e. my boyfriend, Vince) and I awoke at 4:30 a.m., dragged ourselves out of bed and rolled into Tante Marie's: the culinary school where I recently completed my pastry training. With 80 pounds of unbaked Marlos in tow, we came to take advantage of 6 empty ovens and an opportunity to live out a childhood fantasy.

Have you ever read "In the Night Kitchen" by Maurice Sendak? It was a favorite of mine as a child, most likely because the story centered around food. In the book, the main character, Mickey, ends up frolicking in a dream world's night kitchen, eventually falling into a mixer of bread dough. The idea of sweet, yeasty aromas soaking into your pores while the warmth from ovens blankets you cozily made the night kitchen an incredibly alluring surreality to me.

Despite my hopes & expectations, our experience last week was nothing like that (game show 'wah wahhhh' sounds): We donned aprons (as opposed to Mickey's nude frolicking), brewed a French press of coffee, put on Today's Top Country hit list and found our rhythm.

4 hours later, we picked our heads up, wiped down the last bit of crumbs & loaded the 80 pounds of cookies into the car. Queue long exhale.

But really, it was fun. Too much fun. That satisfying-feeling-fun that only comes (to me, at least) from working with my hands and on my feet.  That exhausted-but-too-high-on- adrenaline- to-stop fun.

So I guess I can't wait to wake up at 4:30 next week (not sure Vince feels the same way)....because the Underground Market beckons and I don't want to disappoint 1,200 people.