Bank of America President and CEO Brian Moynihan doesn't claim to be a gifted chef.
"I can barely find my way around a kitchen," he admitted with a self-deprecating grin. "But I felt such strong appreciation for our loyal bank employees that I wanted to do this personally, rather than hire someone else to do it."
And so, recipes in hand, Moynihan baked three sheets of chocolate chip cookies, a batch of brownies and a loaf of banana nut bread, to serve at a special Bank of America appreciation event for employees. Moynihan decided to call the event the "Bread and Circus Social Hour" in reference to the time-honored formula used by the Romans to ensure the superficial well-being and satisfaction of the populace.
The event was an unmitigated success.
"One batch of cookies was a little on the well-done side," said Moynihan, "but all in all, everything was pretty delicious, if I do say so myself. I think people really enjoyed it."
The Bread and Circus Social Hour specifically aimed to divert workers from being distracted by Occupy Wall Street Events, such as the May Day festival paying tribute to international workers' day.
Gladys Sullivan, a 20-year Bank of America employee, said, "I was thinking of attending some of the outdoor Occupy events in Bryant Park, but when I heard that Brian made the cookies himself, I knew he would feel really bad if I didn't come to the social hour."
Sullivan added that she had no regrets about her decision - that is, apart from the calories she consumed at the Bread and Circus.
"Heck, I'll work them off at the gym," she said. "Well, maybe."
The social hour also featured a live juggler, a magician, and even a monkey trained to do magic tricks, including one fan favorite - making a dollar bill disappear.
"It was a lot of fun for everyone," said Moynihan. "In fact, it boosted employee morale so much that we're planning to make it a monthly event."
Moynihan added that unfortunately, due to the rising costs of live entertainment, employee raises would have to be postponed.
"Only temporarily, though," he assured his happy workers. "And no promises, but next time we just might have vanilla ice cream to put on the brownies. Sound good?"