Food & Drink

A Slice of Life

The Upper Crust’s Elaine VanBuskirk shows us the sweet things she keeps on hand and in her bake shop.

Photo by Meg Land

An apron is the daily uniform for Elaine VanBuskirk, who co-owns of The Upper Crust with her sister Jan Knobel. The two grew up on a farm in central Kansas, where 4-H was a big part of their childhood, and a few of their ribbons are displayed in the bake shop’s ladies room. “It puts a smile on our face, keeps us humble…and yes, the names of our steers and heifers are written on the back of every ribbon,” she says. “Meatball was my grand champion steer at the Marion County Fair.”

VanBuskirk keeps a 1Canoe2 notebook with her at all times to jot down thoughts and ideas and refers to her iPad as her companion—“It goes with me everywhere so that I can stay connected with our pie fans on social media. I am always updating our playlist on Spotify, too!” (Follow them @theuppercrust.)

Other must-haves are glasses from Zenni Optical (“It’s like shoes, a girl can never have too many.”), Aveda Hand Relief to combat frequent dish washing and Aveda Lip Tint too add a little color and keep lips hydrated. She’s also a sucker for black and white anything, especially coffee mugs—shown is a mug by Jeremy Ayers Pottery.

“When I am not pushing pie, I am either rearranging or painting furniture,” VanBuskirk adds. The baker has also rediscovered an old hobby: macramé.

In addition to pies, The Upper Crust also makes a mean Burnt Sugar Frosted Banana Cookie, VanBuskirk’s favorite item. “So good I had to take a bite out of it while being photographed,” she says. “It’s an old recipe that a neighbor lady gave my mom a hundred years ago.”

Aprons, “hustle” key chain, “I Like Pie” buttons, 1Canoe2 notebooks and cards and coffee mugs and pour over sets are available at The Upper Crust.