Inspiration for blog posts reaches me at the oddest moments, like a couple of weeks ago when I was trapped in the hell that is the Shelbyville Road Plaza parking lot on a Saturday afternoon. There was a segment on NPR about the memorial service for the anti-war activist Father Daniel Berrigan. A friend once asked Berrigan what the meaning of life was. His response: “If you want to be hopeful, you have to do hopeful things.”
That’s a pretty heavy observation on a Saturday in the suburbs.
Berrigan’s instruction about hope made me think about a local business I had just visited the day before: Scarlet’s Bakery in Shelby Park. This new sweet shop and café blends baked goods and business acumen to give women an opportunity to improve their lives and, in turn, build hope for a better future.
Scarlet’s Bakery is a brick-and-mortar culmination of “Scarlet Hope,” a non-profit organization/ministry that began eight years ago that “helps women in Louisville who have been victims of trafficking and exploitation,” WDRB reported. Women from that program work at Scarlet’s Bakery to learn work skills that will help them build new careers.
I can’t speak to the business savvy these women learn at the bakery. But I can comment on the area I know best, aka the end results of their labor: baked goods.
On my first visit to Scarlet’s, about a dozen different kinds of pastries covered the gleaming white countertops. There was a little something for everyone, from the bite-sized doughnut holes that would fit perfectly into the hands of Scarlet’s youngest customers to the more grown-up, savory combinations like the spinach-feta turnover or bacon-cheddar-chive muffins. Though I was there in the morning, selections such as bourbon-ball macarons and horseshoe-shaped iced sugar cookies made me think ahead to afternoon snacking opportunities.
I thank the pastry gods for leading me to the cinnamon roll that day. I could barely see the cinnamon swirl of the roll through the hearty schmear of cream cheese frosting. Each bite was as smooth as velvet as my teeth sank into the airy dough. It was a rich pastry, but managed not to be too sweet. This cinnamon roll was the perfect sort of decadent to get a good day started.
Everyone who is a part of Scarlet’s Bakery should be proud of the work they do. It turns out that hope is a dish best served sweet (or savory, if that’s what you’re into).
741 E. Oak St., Louisville
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays