I believe, there are two kinds of people in the world, ones who take a leap of faith and bake, and the other who say, I can’t bake. ( without even trying it)
The pandemic has turned us all into baking, whether it’s a no-egg bake recipe, a mug cake, home-cooked bread loaf, well you may have tried it at least in your mind and some of you may have attempted it in reality.
It has taken me a transition to Melbourne from Mumbai, a pandemic and 30 years of my life, to take on baking. And now that I have started, my mind is arguing, “ what made you wait for so long?”. Then I turn around and see a list of reasons why.
You may have read quotes like — kneading the dough is meditative or Julia Child says, you are the boss of that dough!
Here is the argument. Baking is a journey of putting yourself out there, to fail, to experiment, to create, to make mistakes, and not give up. You may follow the recipe, select the best ingredients and still may get a gooey lumpy bread or weird shape muffin. For me kneading the dough is equal to inviting Anxious thoughts on a red carpet. My secret ingredient is the sweet encouraging partner of mine, who either helps me to make the dough or demonstrates unconditional love to eat whatever shape and form the baking turns into.
( On the right ->The red-velvet cupcakes I baked for my sister’s birthday here in Melbourne( no I didn’t send this to her , she got the Theobroma version!)
So yes, with baking, we have 2 uninvited guests who are waiting around the corner — self-blame and self-doubt! To take you on a journey of being not-so-good enough. My partner has seen me getting on a roller coast of emotions from blame to doubt to irritation to give up when I miss a step or adding some extra ingredient. Seriously, has anyone ever posted a photo like this one? A not-so-well risen cupcake, with a messy icing.
Forgiving yourself is the secret ingredient here. How do we re-tell our story of baking and share — the enthusiasm of making it, and also say it’s okay to make a mistake.
The discourse of sharing our imperfect actions(mistakes) is rare in the current worldly scenario. And in my experience of growing up in Indian families, mistakes are simply not allowed, whether it's in academic learning or in cooking. If you make a mistake, you are sent on subtle remarks of the guilt-and-shame trip by your own parents, uncles and aunts. You are often compared to that distant cousin who is picture-perfect in their actions. Your mistakes are meant to guide you, not define you.
Well if you are in a situation like mine, it is we ourselves who need to embrace our imperfections. Embrace that new idea of yours, add an ingredient that is not mentioned in the recipe, or make your own recipes, and see what happens! Take a leap of faith and try baking or any other activity that has been waiting on your mind!
- The baking soul in me