Many moons ago I started selling my homemade candies and sweets to friends, family and colleagues. "Princess Yum Yum", as I dubbed it, blossomed into a tidy little side business, albeit one that was oddly managed.
See, since I alone am the yumyum, I found it easier to run things by making "batch announcements". If you were on my mailing list, you received the occasional email letting you know that yum yum was in the kitchen, cooking up something special. However, if, for instance, yum yum was making buttercreams and someone said, "Can I have chocolate chip cookies?", the answer was "no", often followed by, "what part of BUTTERCREAMS did you not understand?" She was SASSY.
If there was an occasion that you needed a cake, or perhaps a platter of desserts or cookies for, and you were familiar with the yumyum, then you could call or send an email requesting such a thing be done...
Princess YumYum helped pay the bills when we first moved out here to L.A. as I worked to re-establish myself in "the business" - I sold tiny packages of yums to gift basket companies - hell, these headshots were funded entirely by Pecan Crackies. Do you know how much headshots cost? A lot of butter and brown sugar, that's how much.
In the summer of 2004 I worked on a project that oddly enough, became wildly popular among beekeepers of the world. The people of the apiary are a strong community, and of vast numbers - and I felt that to "sell" to them violated that sense of community, so I closed down the website to all internet orders.
I had also started to notice something. People in Los Angeles were focusing on the Princess. The yumyum got lost. And let's face it... the point is the yumyum. In New York, my friends often called me "yumyum" - which I loved, because it summed up my confectionery skills, and is the ingenue role in The Mikado - one of my favorite operettas as a child. (Second was The Merry Widow - with Beverly Sills please). There was only one exception within my NY crew - one person who called me "Princess" - but that is because I call her "Pea", based on an idea we had for a show.
I don't consider myself a Princess. If I am, well then, I am the rough and tumble sort who is always getting in trouble for a crooked crown or mud on her dress. The Princess part of the yumyum comes from this one fact: I wear a tiara on my birthday every year. I have done this for ages, and it has only to do with this other one fact: I got tired of having shitty birthdays, and people are nice to you if you are wearing a tiara. Or they stay away from you because they think you are crazy. Win-Win. It has nothing to do with being high maintenance. I am wash and wear.
Here in Laralay, I noticed that people tended to call me "Princess", especially when they want to fake some sort of bond that doesn't exist with me. Princess, if you ask me, is a dog's name. In fact, it's my zia's dog's name. Not to mention the fact that if an actual princess walked in the room, is that how you would address her? "Sup Princess?" I think not. You would say "Your Majesty" or whatever. People also tend to bring up pastries in conversations with me. Even if we have not been discussing anything of the sort. All of this is annoying on so many layers.
And then I got the request for fifty thousand cookies.
Yes, you read that right. I made "Serenity" cookies for some browncoat friends - sugar cookies with Serenity written on them in Chinese. A PR company got a hold of some and ... you want how many? Well... yeah, it's just me in my little kitchen, you know...
...and that was the nail in the coffin for Princess YumYum. Well, at least, it was the death of the Princess. I let the website go, got rid of the cards and stationery, and photoshopped the name out of my labels. I still enjoy creating sweets in the kitchen, but it's back to being completely on my terms.
For now, yumyum has gone underground.