By J1 Reporter Martha Engel
Broken eggshells and chocolate chips litter the countertop as a timer goes off. I pull on the baking gloves and wrench open the oven. Out come the cookies, golden brown and full of perfectly melted chocolate chunks. As I set the cookies to rest on the counter, my younger brother runs into the kitchen in search of a treat. I don’t mind that he’s taken a cookie before they’re cool. His joy at my effort reminds me why I bake— it is the best way to serve others and truly make them happy.
I love to bake. It’s creative, it’s fun, and it’s a break from the chaos of my increasingly busy life. Amidst the insanity of homework, classes, meetings and dance, it’s hard to find time to do things that I love, especially baking. But once in a while, I make time to bake something. Whether it’s pizza or pie, I still find such joy in baking. And, beyond this, it is a creative outlet for me to do something other than school. over the years I have expanded decorating skills, and constantly challenge myself to try new things and come up with different ideas. Doing these creative things reminds me why I love to do what I do; I can take a break from the everyday insanity and do something creative.
This creative outlet not only makes me happy, it is a way to form relationships and make memories with the people I love. I make my own birthday cake each year, dreaming up new ideas to challenge myself. I’ve done flowers, butterflies, mountains, camp sites, lions, dragons and dogs. I have made the same chocolate cake recipe so many times I have perfected it. I know which of my family members likes vanilla cake and which don’t. I have made countless birthday cakes for friends and family, and each time I do it, I love it. I know that I am making myself a better baker, but at the same time it makes someone else happy. Having a homemade birthday cake, decorated with love, is truly special. Nothing makes me happier than celebrating a person I love with their favorite dessert, and, of course, it tastes amazing!
I don’t just make cakes. I bake all sorts of things, and am constantly trying new recipes from my favorite cookbooks. These recipes I use and things I bake are all for someone else. When I bake banana bread with chocolate chips and nuts, I give it to my neighbor to thank them for letting my family use the pool all summer. When I bring a batch of cinnamon encrusted snickerdoodles to the bake sale, I help my class raise money. When I whip together three pumpkin pies for thanksgiving, I let my grandma focus on another aspect of the meal. Everything I bake is fun for me, but beyond that it is for someone else.
Baking is an act of service, and it is one of the best things to do for someone else. What makes you happier than coming home to find a batch of warm, freshly baked, brownies waiting for you? There is nothing better than someone making you your favorite sweet treat once in a while, especially on a tough day when you least expect it.
That’s the heart of baking: to make someone happy when they need it the most, and maybe even when they don’t. I use baking as a creative outlet and as a way for me to be happy after a long couple of weeks, and I give what I do to others. That makes them a little happier, too. Baking is the perfect way to bring some sweetness to another person’s life.