My friends and family have always made fun of me for my baking habits. When they catch me in the kitchen with my hands in a bowl of dough, it could imply a bevy of catalysts. Maybe I have had a stressful day. Maybe I am feeling jittery. Maybe I just need to watch something go from wet and messy to beautiful and whole.
No matter the reason, no matter the season, baking equals calm to me.
That’s why when I heard I would get to lead not one, but TWO baking clubs this semester, my little heart could barely handle the excitement.
Let’s be honest; after last year, we all needed a bit of release. Somewhere we could let go of everything else and dive into those shared experiences that make us human. What I hope to offer through my baking clubs is a place to do just that. And who can deny that one of the best shared experiences we have as humans is shoving a gooey chocolate chip cookie in our face, side by side with our best friends?
But there is another lesson I learned after just one short week. My baking clubs have also offered a space for the quiet-as-a-mouse (or at least, in class) types to raise their voices and share their expertise; from a flourish of sea salt to make flavor pop, to a tried and true recipe for New York cheesecake. Ever so quickly, my students began teaching me. Each of us had a different reason for why we loved to bake, and different stories attached to those reasons. In fact, the rainbow of experience that people carried into the kitchen brought a whole new dynamic to baking as a whole.
Earlier I mentioned that baking equals calm to me; but that, I’ve learned, is not the case for everyone. For some, baking is energizing, challenging, and even empowering. I am watching as my students innovate before my eyes, and I am envisioning the baking club that they might teach in ten years. And I am wondering, where do I sign up?