Baking Thru the Summer of 2020

When we first went into quarantine, in mid-March, I wondered what I would do to fill my days. I was furloughed from my part-time job, and confined to my home. Searching online led me a job opportunity teaching online cooking classes. I figured, "I can do that." I have 5 years of experience running a residential bakery along with a year of teaching kids' cooking classes. I applied, but wasn't offered the job. The wheels in my head started spinning, "Why not offer online baking classes on my own?", I thought.

Around Mother's Day, I taught my first online class for friends and family. We made chocolate chip scones. It ended up being a perfect hands-on recipe. I've taught it four more times this summer-- to a Girls Scout troop, a group of dedicated adult bakers, and even a college student.

In mid-June, I launched eight weeks of online cooking camps, for kids 8-15. I also worked in some private kids' lessons, and a few adult ones, too. As week eight came to an end, I felt like I had more classes to teach, and added three more weeks of programming.

11 weeks of online baking classes. Wow, I would have never imagined this is how my summer would turn out.

And, I never imagined that during such a difficult time I would find something positive, no more like uplifting, to do. My summer of baking with kids has been an amazing experience. I feel so lucky. I have met some terrific young people and had the pleasure to bake with them. For me, it's a joy to share baking with others.

As a whole, I can say that all of the kids I've baked with have worked hard and seem proud of their accomplishments.

I got to meet some kids who inspire me. During our time together, a few students have told me stories. I heard about the girl who was in self-imposed quarantine so she could visit her grandparents; I saw how sad one student was that the dog she was dog sitting seemed homesick; and I learned about the outside, socially distanced camp one student created for her younger neighbors. Working in the kitchen together, helped me hear these stories and they moved me. This new normal showed me how even the youngest of people can step up and be kind to others.

On a personal note, I had the chance to bake with my own two children, who are actually young adults, living in different states. We made the s'mores bars in the photo above. It was challenging as a teacher, because they had the fewest pieces of equipment of anyone I've worked with this summer. One of them didn't even own a large bowl. We brainstormed and came up with the plan to use a large pasta pot.

Challenges aside, it was incredibly special for me to spend time in the kitchen sharing with my own kids, even if we weren't in the same kitchen. When we were all together, we never seemed to have the luxury of time to bake together. Usually when there was baking in the kitchen, it was for a specific reason. I often thought of the kitchen as my workspace and didn't know how to bring others into it.

So, I'd like to take a minute to share my gratitude.

Here's a great big THANK YOU to all of those who have baked with me this summer and brightened my days. You have lifted my sprits, and made me laugh, all while keeping me on my toes. I have enjoyed every class and am so grateful that we have had the opportunity to bake together.

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