“Open with a joke,” they say. So here goes:

A lawyer decides he would like to make sure his affairs are in order, in case the worst should happen. So among other things, he orders his headstone. He tells the mason that he would like his headstone to read, “Here Lies a Lawyer and an Honest Man.” The mason replies, “Sorry, sir, I can’t do that. We aren’t allowed bury two people in the same plot.”

Not even a pity chuckle? Ah well, it’s not the best or the most unique joke, I suppose. But it’s apt. You’ll notice the tagline of the site heralds this as the diary of a PhD student (in political science, in case you hadn’t gathered that from the politics part of the blog) and a pastry chef. Those aren’t two people; it’s just me here!

I’m Mercedes. I took time off between finishing my undergrad and starting my master’s to earn money and to train as a pastry chef. Let me tell you, when you graduate with a BA in political science your classmates expect you to be heading off for your JD or maybe a job in DC, but certainly not to the FCI. I made a lot of friends my last few months of college!

Them: “So what are you doing when you graduate?”

Me: “I’m going to culinary school to study pastry arts.”

Them: “Really?!”

Me: “Yep.”

Them: “Let’s exchange numbers. I wouldn’t want to lose touch with you after graduation!”

We didn’t really stay in touch and I didn’t really become a pasty chef (not for very long, anyway)–whoopsie. But the degree still makes me quite popular with my colleagues; office potluck anyone?

I spent nine months at culinary school and then about four months working in a restaurant before I decided I wanted to get my master’s. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy feeding people–I’m Jewish, a desire to feed people is encoded in my DNA–it’s just that I enjoy politics, studying, and writing, too. And it’s easier to study and write about politics full-time and bake on the side than it is to be a chef full-time and do politics on the side.

Let’s face it, the fields aren’t that dissimilar anyway: they’re both all about the dough! Ba da bum. (Oh come on, this one certainly deserves a pity laugh.)

Anyhoo… I’ve finished my master’s and I’m now pursuing my PhD in politics while baking for myself, my friends, my colleagues, my family, and (in a way) you. So you’ll follow along with me as I adjust to a studio apartment kitchen and baking for just myself; though I’m sure my friends will help me polish off any extra goodies I might bake! I also promise an occasional discussion of politics.

I’ve also taken up photography–hence the “pics” in the blog title–in order to take better photos of my baked goods and because I think it’s fun. So I’ll share my favorite photos of my food and of anything else I decide to snap. (I’m also into quilting, knitting, flower arranging, and general crafting so you’ll see that from time to time too.)