Kids find their first, second, or even third role models in a parent, favourite school teacher, or superheroes. I found my first in Mum; I wanted to be a badass baker just like her. Mum started baking at the age of Nine. By the time she was married with kids in their early teenage years, she had become a baking aficionado.
She had memorized all her favourite recipes and knew exactly what quantity of ingredients to use in baking different sizes and variants of cakes, pies, cookies, African and Asian pastries. Without looking into a cookbook.
One day, I decided to show my family and friends that I could bake as well as Mum. I spent some hours memorizing the ingredients and methods of making one of the cakes in her self-made cookbook. I was getting ready for the bakeoff: bringing out the ingredients from the pantry when my best friend, N arrived unannounced.
Seeing her made me happy and nervous at the same time. Happy because I was going to show off my culinary skills and nervous because it was my first, what if I messed up? Well, there is no going back. Even N was excited to watch me bake. The moment I started measuring out the ingredients my mind went blank. What quantity of baking powder and soda should I use? I had no idea. All that I had memorized grew wings and flew out.
I refused to give away my confusion, N was watching my every move with keen interest. So, I measured and mixed the ingredients trusting my instincts.
When the cake was baked and cooled, it turned out to be as hard as a poorly made scone. It was probably a level or two away from being as crunchy or crispy as your favourite biscuits or cookies. I felt defeated and ashamed. Mum laughed it off to my surprise. I thought she would be upset at my abysmal first take on baking alone because I had assisted her in baking countless times.
My dad even cheered me on a notch higher. He said he loved the crunchiness of the cake that it reminded him of some of the cakes he ate when he lived in the Georg August University of Göttingen as a doctoral student. He made my sconish-cake a part of his breakfast menu. Every morning he would eat a slice of it with a cup of coffee. No one else, not even could eat the cake. He finished the 8-inch single layer cake all by himself.
Today, I’m not a professional baker but I love to bake for my family and friends. A little encouragement goes a long way.