BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -
When you think of Smith's Bakeries you might think of its signature smiley face cookies. But there’s another unique cookie sharing the spotlight.
The Alliog is a green cookie that has the head of a gator and the body of a frog. It's the creation of Smith's Bakeries owner Jim Balmain.
"An Alliog is a character that I thought up of in the middle of the night several years ago, and it must have been a bad meal or something the night before," Balmain joked.
In 1987 Jim's dream was turned into an edible creation. Since then, the bakery has sold more than 300,000 Alliog cookies.
But Balmain has bigger plans for this unique character that went beyond the bakery's shelves.
"My wife and I went on a vacation and I had some time so I decided to write a book," Balmain said. "I got all the characters together there; when I got back I started writing."
Balmain published the children’s book, “Ollie and the Alliog” in 2003.
"It gives a moral lesson on how you go through life, do things and still be happy and be moral," said Balmain. "It's just a fun thing and I enjoyed writing it."
The book was sold in Bakersfield for a few years, and then in 2005 Balmain stopped producing the book to take of his wife who became ill.
But last year, Balmain said the Alliog was reborn. “We had a lot of people coming in and asking if I could sign copies, so we started producing it again."
Balmain said a version of "Ollie and the Alliog" will be available on Kindle through Amazon any day now. And if things go well, he said a hard copy of the version will go on sale.
This isn't the last you're going to hear from the baker turned author. Balmain said he has several other writing projects in the works.
"To be an artist who works with his hands has to be an artist who works with his head, hands and his heart," said Balmain.
You can pick up a copy of “Ollie and the Alliog” at Smith’s Bakeries at 2808 Union Ave.