Coffee With... Ann Moses
I’m not really sure Ann Moses knew what was about to become of her young adult life just from making orange juice at the orange juice stand at Disneyland in the mid 60’s. She loved her job there, and was steadfast and true to the happy, happy that makes Disney the happiest place on earth. She didn’t think she could want for more. The closest she came to touching a celebrity was when Uncle Walt himself appeared out of nowhere at her juice stand and called her by name, asking for some freshly squeezed juice. It was after that encounter with Uncle Walt that Ann started dreaming, just like Uncle Walt did in Michigan many moons ago. Ann wanted to write, and that she did.
I am totally dating myself, but one of my “fave” things, most awaited treasures was Tiger Beat Magazine. My kids can stalk anybody they want, probably see what their vomit looks like and find out who their aunt’s aunt’s daughter-in-law is just by perusing Instagram or Facebook. My generation…not so lucky. We had to wait for the font of teenybopper knowledge, Tiger Beat, to pound the newsstands so we could drool over the Bay City Rollers and Leif Garret once a month. And groovy, we might even find out what Donny Osmond’s favorite color was. Oh, and ouch, the centerfold, stapled right in the bulls eye middle of the rag mag beheld
hunkity hunks like Shaun Cassidy or Parker Stevenson. But, it was my undying love for David Cassidy, that led me to Ann, former writer and Editor at Tiger Beat. Ann’s piece on CNN, “I Watched Fame Take its Toll on Young David Cassidy” was short but poignant, making me seek her out for an interview. As I told her, I found her fascinating, and sacrosanct, just as a second relic.
“I hadn’t been on an airplane until 1966,” giggles Ann. That’s when she first started writing for Tiger Beat, after a string of smaller stories starting with a piece she did by wriggling her way backstage at a Dave Clark Five concert at Melodyland, a theater across the street from her beloved Disneyland where she was a volunteer usher. After a series of fortuitous and local stories, she met Derek Taylor, former press manager for the Beatles in the U.K., turned press manager in the U.S. for the Beach Boys, Byrds, Paul Revere and the Raiders and all of the bands on Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars rock tours. He wrote a monthly column for Tiger Beat. Derek introduced Ann to Charles Laufer, publisher of the Beat, and the rest was history.
Her first published TB story was a piece on Herman’s Hermits. She then covered everyone from James Brown to Desi Arnaz Jr., the Monkees, Eric Clapton, the King himself, Elvis, and the list goes on. I said, “But, my God…you were so young.” and I was so jealous just listening to the stories. I asked Ann if she realized what a dream job she had. “I absolutely was aware of things at the time and how special they were.” She remembers, “I used to go to baby showers and the women would say, ‘we wished we had your job.’ I didn’t want a baby right then and they envied me, and all the amazing things I was getting to do.” She then casually told me those “things” were like riding a dirt bike in Hawaii with Desi Arnaz…sans Patti Duke who appeared on the scene about four years later.
As fascinated as I was with all the bubblegum and cheesecake, I wanted to hear what life was like when Ann was presented with the cream on top of the egg cream, on top of the root beer float, on top of the strawberry shortcake… covering the Partridge Family. Full access was granted only to Tiger Beat, on their set when she wanted. I couldn’t breathe…I said, “How did you go home at night without stealing one of David’s socks or an empty soda can or yanking out one of his chest hairs?” She admitted the Cassidy kid wasn’t her guy. “I loved the Monkees and Davy Jones.” Such sacrilege, but I was so enamored by Ann’s sweet and bubbly, yet informative demeanor, I didn’t care. I needed to hear more.
I wanted to know first hand how such an Adonis as David Cassidy, this untouchable sculpture, could have fallen out of grace with life and ended up completely washed up, and now dead, at 67. Ann admitted although she and David hit a rough patch during the time she was on the Partridge set (Jack Cassidy sold his kid out for a few dirt bikes for David’s step-brothers and got David back to chatty status), David was always a nice guy to her. “I think the way he lived his life and the way he faced his demons was the handwriting on the wall,” she recollects. “He never found love that lasted…it was an overwhelming experience, and it set the pace for what his life was going to be like.” She said that David idolized his absentee father, and when he was an impressionable teenager his mother, B-list actress Evelyn Ward, transplanted him in Hollywood, “only to see his dad once in a while. His Dad was busy having babies with Shirley Jones.” She added, “He was on his own through high school with no supervision or guidance.”
As David became an adult, his issues exacerbated after he tried to be a serious performer and the Partridges flew the coop. He was in a constant search for normalcy and support, and “roots”, as Ann philosophizes. I pondered that emotionally raw observation for two days. She was right. Roots.
Drugs. I wanted to know why so many rockers needed to get high, and eventually destroyed themselves. She says most of the 60’s rockers were imbibing in what today would seem like ‘innocent’ drug use, like marijuana. (Hip Mom finds nothing innocent about any drugs, but looking back at the 60’s and 70’s, it was like drinking soda.) Some were starting with LSD, but the early “Acid Rock” groups came around after Ann left the magazine in 1972.
“It was the best job I ever had.” admits Ann. “I loved putting the magazine together. I’m picky. The most pleasure I got was putting together what helps the magazine sell better. I got into marketing.” She then became the editor of the juicy publication, Tiger Beat.
Today, Ann says her TB days are neck and neck with raising her two boys. In 1983 after her son Matthew came into her and her husband’s life, she never turned back. She stayed home to raise her family and says that choice changed her life, and was one of the best she ever made.
So, what does a retired Tiger Beat editor do with all the drooly gossip, photos, some hunk’s favorite sandwich bread, and other inane “stuff” she accumulated? She writes a book, and what a book, what stories, what photos. “MEOW!.MY GROOVY LIFE WITH TIGER BEAT’S TEEN IDOLS” is Ann’s most recent contribution to the world of teen idolatry. You 50 somethings, there is no centerfold here, but the snippets, stories and pics are just right on…I can’t get enough. All the vignettes and tales that bring these celebs right back down to earth are outasite!
Ann, you are MY idol. Thanks for bringing a little “humanness” into your stories on the big, the brave, and the ugly, and everyone we ever idolized. I know you said you loved Davy Jones, and best bud is Bobby Sherman, but if it wasn’t for David, I wouldn’t have found you.
Stay tuned for a Hip Mom Contest Giveaway of a signed copy of Ann’s book. It’s gonna be real hip and DYNAMITE! C’Mon get happy and
So, I really cannot plan a party simply. It’s just not in me. If I have to be honest with myself, I will tell you I can’t do much simply at all. Eight kids is complicated sometimes, just a little, lol, and entertaining, birthday parties, Christenings etc could become too rote if I didn’t give it that extra “UMPH.”
Enter PINK CAKE BOX, who has been decorating and deliciously adding sparkle to my parties for years.
The Northern NJ baked fantasy cake palace was started by this cute little thing, Anne Heap, in 2005. “After becoming a pastry chef and completing an internship with Ron Ben-Israel Cakes in NYC, I new I loved cake,” admits Anne. “I had finally found my most favorite artistic medium. I knew I always wanted to start my own business and it seemed like a logical step.” She admits she took on this sugary dream at 26, when we probably all think a little over our heads. “The name was a collaboration of my love for the color pink and a little blue box.”
Now, if you take a cup of coffee and just pursue through Anne’s drool over website, www.pinkcakebox.com, the first thing you will notice is that if you are looking for a yellow cake with buttercream frosting and fudge layers, well, you need to take your cannolis somewhere else. Have you ever seen a peacock cake? I have because I did it for Federica’s birthday? Or a Sephora themed masterpiece? Hmmmm…that was another Federica birthday goody. Or a Sound of Music sculpture…oh, that would be Eva’s Communion, just to name a few. We can’t stop there, because her flavors are CRAZY, and now I need a cookie….
Specialty cakes have certainly taken over from the hum drum bakery sheet cake my generation did know and love growing up. I mean, we thought Carvel cakes were a magical step up from a bakery strawberry shortcake. Today, the sky’s the limit … or really, the ganache is the limit. “When I first started in 2005, specialty cakes were just becoming popular,” Anne says. “ There were few, if any television shows and no one, including myself knew what was possible in cake! Since then, the countless tv series, competitions, decorating tools, products, etc … have completely changed the industry.”
I do adore cooking, but a baker…not so much. I have mathematical issues with measuring. But, Do I love desserts? I love them more now than I ever did…and when I was pregnant, Devil Dogs were my go to. But, what inspires this “Pink” patisserie creator extraordinaire to go beyond processed treats? “ After graduating from Boston College in 2001, I began my career in advertising. Soon, my passion for baking led me to study Pastry Arts at the French Culinary Institute. (Now International Culinary Center) in New York. While I was there, I discovered my love for cake! I began making cakes for friends and family and soon I discovered the joy my cakes brought to others.”
The New Jersey native, raised in Kinnelon, and rolling the home dough in Morristown has two children, 3 and 6, who love to watch mom bake and of course, make gastronomic, kinder delights with Playdoh. What is Anne’s most favorite, outta the “box” PCB, over the top project to date? “ Our largest, most wedding intense cake was Megan and Tracy Morgan’s a few years ago. It was taller than me! It was filled with well over 1500 hand made sugar flowers, edible gold and lace details and was built on a large structure.” Ok then, and you think my volleyball cake for Brynn’s graduation was over the top? Oh wait, don’t forget the Lego Land Cake Challenge: “it was over 7 ft tall and had a working water slide, rotating Lego blocks and lights!” The next time Gianmarco asks me for new Legos, I will be sure to call Anne for advice…NOT.
So, what does this mom/creative sculptor/baker/over the top pastry chef love to make?, “cookies,” chuckles Anne, “because I love to eat them.”
In the end, it’s always about the cookies.
:What on God’s earth is a Balaboosta? Well, when I discovered Balaboosta’s Bakery two years ago on Instagram, I didn’t ask, and I didn’t care, cuz anyone who stuffs a homemade chocolate chip cookie with a brownie or puts cookie dough in between two cookies and dips it in sprinkles and fudge can be anybody they want to be.
Enter Melissa Schack, a graduate of Manhattan’s Institute of Culinary Education and owner of Balaboosta’s Bakery, and the woman who has been sugar coating and stuffing my holiday tables for two years. Her freshly baked goods can be shipped anywhere, and just ask my dogs who ate the first batch she shipped to me, the mailman will deliver right to your door (or make the attempt).
Q: But, first, what is a Balaboosta? It’s a Yiddish word meaning perfect housewife, mother, homemaker, wonderful mother, cook and gracious hostess. In my house we just say, “Mom.” LOL. But, Melissa, as much as I love to cook, I don’t know if I could start a business cooking it … what gave you the urge to start baking for the masses?
“I started baking when I was four years old. My grandmother and I would make Mandel Bread in the kitchen. She showed me all the ins and outs of perfecting the Jewish cookie. The mandel bread recipe we followed was her grandmother’s. This is where my love of baking began. My grandmother always called me her little “balaboosta,” which in Yiddish refers to the perfect woman that is great at decorating hosting, gardening and yes, baking ... and what’s more she does it all without breaking a sweat.”
Q: Balaboosta’s has been in business since March of 2010, and has been dipping and stuffing Nutella brownies and funfetti concoctions since then, getting more and more creative with each passing year. But how do you dome up with these Willie Wonka delights? (Omg … a milky way stuffed anything ….)
“All of the recipes we use have stemmed from family recipes dating back to many many generations. Some of the recipes have been tweaked along the way to keep up with the ever changing trends of the baking world. Baking is an art form for me…it’s my creative outlet to express myself.”
Q: Melissa, are you quite sure a cookie dough brownie and stuffed cookie were around when your grandmother was baking?
Q: Melissa is a native New Yorker, born and raised in Long Island, where she bakes fresh daily from a private facility. I always feel like kids who work at our beloved Dairy Queen must be sick of ice cream … and they’re all skinny … lol What is your favorite treat to make … and do you still want to eat it? Lol
“My favorite treat to make is cheesecake. Cheesecake can be quite temperamental and is always a challenge … and I LOVE a challenge! I also enjoy eating cheesecake the most of anything I make. HOWEVER, it must be chilled or frozen!”
I am so torn … there are so many of Melissa’s artistic bites to call my gluttonous favorite, such as her chocolate cream pies (it’s like a baby Suzy Q, but waaay better), but for sure, my most favorite “out of the oven” creation this year is her new muffin, named Samuel, born on February 21, 2017. What do I love as much as hearing one of my favorite “make me fat’ girls just had a baby …. she is exclusively nursing …. 2 dozen extra of your funfetti blondies … they are great galactagogues! (Google that)!
So, lets toast a glass of milk to my new favorite “balaboosta” and her newest mandel bread maker, Samuel. Not sure if he can be a “balaboosta,” (A real balaboosta will not give up rank but I am sure Melissa Schack will make sure he can knead some mean dough).
Order from Melissa and check out her yumminess and get ready to drool!