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The highest compliment one can give any baker is to say that his or her cake is just as good as their grandma's recipe.
But what if those pastries are actually made by real grandmas?
That's the idea behind a sweet startup business in Europe that's giving retired people the opportunity to earn a little extra income and not feel so lonely.
Kuchentratsch bakery (which loosely translates into "cake chat") in Munich, Germany, is currently employing retired grandmas and grandpas over the age of 65 to work as bakers in their industrial kitchen. The company was started by Katharina Mayer (who is in her 20s) after she raised enough money through crowdfunding, grants and loans to officially open in April 2017.
The bakery job not only gives the retirees something meaningful to do with their time, but they're also able to earn extra cash (some earn up to 450 euros, about $545 USD, a month) to supplement their pensions. And the grandpas and grandpas (known as "omas" and opas" in German) have a chance to make new friends in the kitchen with their fellow bakers.
"I love to bake," Rosemarie Rottmann, 77, aka "Oma Rosemarie" told The Local. "It's not worth it on your own, though. Now at least I can do some baking." Rottmann lives an hour and a half away from the bakery but journeys into Munich to work one day a week. She's been at Kuchentratsch since May of last year.
Perhaps even better is that these senior citizen bakers don’t even need to have a lifetime of baking experience. One employee, who calls himself Grandpa Gunter, told The Local that before retiring, he only knew how to make eggs and coffee — but now he bakes cakes at the bakery once a week and has used this new skill to bake at home for his grandkids.
Currently, the company employs dozens of seniors but they're accepting new applications. And no, you don't need to actually have grandkids but you do need to meet the minimum age requirement. However, the job is really flexible: Workers can decide how many hours and days they can be available.
And there are a lot of cakes that need to be made, too.
Kuchentratsch supplies pastries for several Munich-area cafes and now they sell cakes online, though they're only available to be shipped within Germany. The website is also home to adorable biographies of the grandmas and grandpas in residence, such as Grandma Eva-Maria, who enjoys baking fruity cakes and likes to eat cherry cheesecake or Grandma Ann, who prefers raspberry meringue and rhubarb quark cake.
Cakes available include Grandma Irmgard's carrot cake, Grandma Josefine's fruity apple pie studded with cranberries or a cheesecake by Grandpa Norbert. There are seasonal varieties available during different times of the year. Various extras like a cake garland, individual Marzipan lettering or unique toppings can be added to orders, as well. If you're in Germany and want to enjoy a piece of cake or pie at the bakery (and get a chance to hang out with a German grandma!), the bakery offers visiting hours.
We can't imagine a sweeter way to spend the afternoon than with a cake by granny.