By David King
Tom Hutches, Concord, may need a new name. I like “the Macaron Man.” For the past year, even longer, one neighborhood in Concord has been secretly enjoying his macaron treats every Monday. They will be waiting for neighbors in front of the house to be picked up.
Hutches has retired from a 30-year career in sales and marketing. He spends a lot of his time now with outdoor activities, including triathlons. “I’ve completed multiple Ironman competitions and many shorter races,” he says.
While indoors, he’s making macarons. It began about 15 months ago. In 2019, He made fruit cakes for Christmas for a number of his neighbors, but learned that one of the kids was gluten intolerant. Hutches felt guilty that she couldn’t have any, so he researched how to make gluten-free desserts and found macarons. That’s when he made his first batch.
He says he has no background in dessert baking and found it to be a really challenging yet satisfying activity.
When COVID-19 first appeared and lockdowns began, his first thought was that it would be under control and life would be back to normal in a couple of months.
“Back then, we were all stressed,” he said. “There was very little to be happy about that would make us smile. And with all the uncertainties and social distancing, there was little opportunity to do anything.”
The neighbors held a crab feed and Hutches made macarons that were well received. “I was pretty confident after the crab feed that my macarons would make people smile, and I was hopeful that the whole neighborhood would look forward to them. If nothing else, they would be a treat for everyone in a time where shortages were starting to be an everyday occurrence.”
It’s worked out better than he had hoped. Each Monday he would make 250 macarons in a variety of flavors, divided into snack packs for each household.
“Whole families relayed to me that they would have discussions around the table as to which flavor was their favorite.”
When one neighbor was unable to pick up their macarons, another would pick it and deliver to their doorstep. At least on Mondays Hutches macarons took COVID off neighbors’ minds and on to something positive. And thus, they have become better neighbors.
“At first, I thought Macaron Mondays would be a relatively short-term thing, but I am so happy that it has continued. We’ve gotten so much out of it. We have come up with about 125 different flavors and are always on the lookout for new ones. Many of my ideas come from my neighbors. It’s my job to take them from idea to finished product.”
On the cover, you can see a collage of the many different flavors of the weekly macarons. Tom’s wife, Dominique, put that together to mark their one-year anniversary of making macarons.
In addition, Tom put together a stat sheet of his baking feat over a year.
Macaron shells: 25,240
Number of different flavors: 123
Granulated Sugar: 48 pounds
Total Powdered sugar: 348.7
Butter: 109.7 pounds
Almond flour: 82.4 pounds
When PPE was in short supply at the beginning of the pandemic, the Hutches, along with one other member of the community, made over 3000 fabric masks that was distributed to hospitals, nursing homes, veterinary clinics, and members of the community. It started with a plan to make sure our neighborhood members all had masks for their families. But like the macarons, we just kept it going since the news reports painted such a bleak picture for our healthcare providers.
We were requested not to reveal the neighborhood so as to not create a run on macarons. But if you are driving through a neighborhood and see a bunch of happy neighbors, you may be in the right one.