“It’s a piece of cake,” my mother, a baker, casually states, as she rolls another chunk of fondant flat on her table, “all it takes is patience.” It is an answer to a curious me asking her how she manages to bake all her cakes- cupcakes, cake pops, sugar cookies- basically anything of the cake and cookie variety, under the inevitable time constraints, for she creates her baking goods for her customers. “Doesn’t it put a lot of pressure on you?” I ask, foolishly so, for her answer is almost too obvious. “If you love something, whatever it is, it will never be a hassle,” she says.
She starts to mold her chunk of pastel-coloured fondant into the shape of a little dress. What she does, my mother, is definitely a form of art, what with the little intricacies she etches into her fondant cakes, the adorable little smiles drawn onto the faces of her human-shaped cake toppers and the smooth chocolatey outer layer of her cake-pops that she manages so effortlessly; Her goods are beautiful and colourful as they are delicious. However, her baking artistry doesn’t stop on the vibrant surfaces of her goods, for I have realized that the act of baking itself is without doubt an art form.
As any other type of art form, baking requires patience; This is something my mother has taught me over the years. To achieve fudgy chocolate chip cookies, oozing with warm and gooey chocolatey goodness upon the bite is not a feat just anyone can attain. It takes time- trials, errors, experimentations- to finally achieve the perfect indulgent cookie consistency. Granted, there will be times when the cookies become too dry as a result of being in the oven for too long, or there may be times when some investigative work is required to figure out which ingredient exactly is causing the cookies to not rise enough. This is why baking, like any other form of art, requires time, focus and ultimately, patience.
I have realized then and there, in the midst of the array of brightly-coloured cakes and sugar cookies, of the reason why I have over the years developed a liking towards the beating of the eggs into white peaks, towards the whirr of the hand mixer as it combines the ingredients pre-oven bake, towards the sweet warm scent that wafts through the kitchen as my Pavlova cake bakes- It is because the art of baking, or so I have started calling it, is an art form that exercises patience. I have most probably started liking it years ago for it flourishes my ability to remain patient in trying times, and this is something I want to always maintain.
The next time you find yourself stressed out, sad or in need of some down time, look up a simple cookie recipe from the net. You will be rewarded not just with the delectable end result, but with the patience-building, therapeutic process of baking.