Judy Kubinski went from working in a commercial kitchen producing her homemade cookies and other sweets to not being able to do much at all physically for five years. The Fountain Hills resident had a stroke eight years ago and has had to work hard to get herself back to a condition that allows her to do what she loves.
When I spoke with Kubinski on the phone, it felt like I was talking to my own grandmother, who also likes to bake homemade cakes. She had a nice, caring voice and I could tell she loved what she did.
Now, because of a law that went into effect in July, residents all over Arizona can bake and sell sweets from their home. Kubinski played a major role in making this happen.
She contacted Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) and told him about her research into other states around the country that had such a law in place and did not report any major problems.
"I had initial concerns about safety," Kavanagh said. "I researched the concerns and it was correct and I spoke to government food inspection in the county and state and they said as long as products are non hazards, there isn't a safety issue."
Kavanagh invited her to the state capitol to meet "with a bunch of people I call big wigs," Kubinski said. This was in November of 2010 and the bill was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer halfway through the legislative session, according to Kavanagh.
"It was very exciting," Kubinski said. "My whole intention all along was to create jobs for people who had kitchen skills who needed to make some money. There was a lot of people who need to work and can't work due to their physical condition."
Another aspect of the law is to help out developmentally disabled group homes by allowing them to bake goods to sell and bring in a little extra money.
The program has been a hit thus far. An Arizona Department of Health Services spokesperson said they had received 330 applicants as of Aug. 12.
"It's got the possibility to help out a lot of people," said Diane Eckles, office chief for the Office of Environmental Health. "We hope more people get on board."
Depending on the county, take Maricopa County for example, people who apply online for the program must have a valid food handler's card. All the registration is done online and once it is completed, they are sent authorization in the mail by the state.
I believe what Kubinski said is true. A program such as this will encourage the stay-at-home moms, the people who need a little extra cash and the others who maybe dream of becoming a professional pastry chef in the future.
In a move that exemplifies her niceness, Kubinski said that we may print her email address, Azchocolatelady@gmail.com, for those who have any questions about creating baked goods and sweets or just want more information.
As she put it, "I've been cooking and baking for 50 years and haven't killed anyone yet."
To find out more or to sign up, visit the website, www.azdhs.gov/phs/oeh/fses/goods/index.htm.
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