Coming this May, “Meet the Regulars: People of Brooklyn and the Places They Love” is Joshua D. Fischer’s debut book, and the first to come from Bedford + Bowery. Here’s a new installment of the series.
Molly Neuman, former drummer for legendary lady-punk outfits like Bratmobile, has been connected to the heavenly bakery Ovenly since before it even began. A decade ago, she was in a supper club with future Ovenly co-owner Agatha Kulaga. Back then, Agatha talked of plans to create baked goods shop that would artfully blend sweet with savory. Eventually, she and her partner Erin Patinkin opened a place that was “inspired by the Eastern European flavors of their youths,” and Ovenly cookies and scones began appearing in cafes like Little Zelda, where Molly lives in Crown Heights.
This year, Molly started working as Head of Music at Kickstarter, around the corner from Ovenly’s flagship shop in Greenpoint – a tasty turn of events. Molly is becoming a live, in-person regular. It’s here where she scores snacks, takes meetings, and orders baked goodies for big meetings.
Inside this woman-owned bakery, I learned that women’s issues are obviously still important for this ‘90s riot grrrl, who at one point trained as a chef at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health And Culinary Arts. These days this mother of a two-year-old daughter has a lot on her proverbial plate. As she snacked on a scone, and I destroyed a decadent slice of red velvet and vanilla buttercream cake, we talked all things sweet, savory, and Ovenly.
It’s at the end of Greenpoint – almost. It’s literally almost at the ferry dock. This street is under chronic construction. Going down West Street is almost impossible because there are tons of condos going up. The fact that Kickstarter is here is so random.
This space is really inviting and very mellow. I like that people come in with their families or do work. Whenever I’ve been in, there’s always a blend of different kinds of people, and that’s really nice.
I love these savory scones. And these cheddar chive muffins. The sweet, pound cake style breads are really good. They have unique spices–it’s not unique anymore, because everybody’s trying to be unique in food.
The thing about baking, especially at volume, is it’s so scientific. One could argue it’s easier being a cook just making a meal. There’s timing and ratios but not the same scientific process that’s required to have something be consistent, especially if you’re selling commercially and to other shops. You want to have credibility.
Whenever women have been able to start a small business and grow it and have it be successful and sustainable, it’s particularly fantastic.
It shouldn’t be unique. It shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s just two partners doing what they decided and set out to do. The fact that they have been able to be successful and grow this is just great. It shouldn’t be necessarily worthy of recognition for that point only.
Instead of trying to say, “This is my feminist strategy for how I want things to work in the world,” – [I try to do] something that is meaningful, and hopefully someone else might say, ‘Oh, I could do that.’ And then they do it in their own way. And then that becomes more common and not an anomaly. That’s how I approach my stuff in general. I think it is a feminist strategy, but I don’t try to frame every decision or filter everything in that way because that could be exhausting.
Being the owners, controlling the means of production, all of the socio-political, economic responsibilities that come from that, those are just wonderful and inspiring to anyone who has an interest in forging their own path – male or female, or any point on the spectrum.