Once upon a time… okay, last year, I used to bake like a crazy person. I baked more than I cooked meals for myself. At times, I would bake something–scones, cupcakes, muffins, coconut rum cake–that would wind up being my dinner. My weird oven that was built into the cabinetry would be preheating as I poured batter into cake moulds or dolloped cookie dough onto a metal sheet, my phone cradled in my ear as I called up a friend to tell her, “Hey, I’m making _____. Want to come over?” I would don an apron two or three times a week at home to make sweet treats, and then again at Stardust as the weekend baker, making things friends still mention to me.
Then I moved to London, and although I have had occasion to bake for a few occasions, I miss the days when I had the time and the materials to go on baking frenzies, as well as having friends in easy walking/driving distance to be at the door as I slip my oven mitt off. Sure, I’ve had friends (and a few relative strangers) nibble on some vegan snickerdoodles here, or have some chocolate chip cookies there, or a little chocolate cake with a gooey centre, but such moments are rather infrequent aberrations in my otherwise routine of school, work, commuting, pubs, venturing.
Being back in Orlando for these couple of weeks, I’ve been around friends who remember my manic baking moments. In my storage unit and at my parents’ house, I see my cookbooks I used to experiment with. At the bottom of a box, I found my old notebook I used to take with me to Stardust with recipes from all over. Digging around in my storage unit, I found my baker’s blade and my favourite spatula, which I’m taking back with me to London if I don’t somehow misplace them in the interim as I have a habit of doing with things. A pity I can’t bring my bundt cake pan or my vintage mixing bowls. Those would be a bit too cumbersome in my carry-on.
This posting is a bit Sunset Boulevard in a way; “I *am* big. It’s the kitchen that got small.” It would be nice to move into a bigger place once my lease is up with a bit more kitchen space, although I would likely need a roommate or two who would be fine with someone banging around in the kitchen baking cakes at 11 pm. Once I finish with essays and exams and my dissertation, I hope to have more time to concoct my familiar baked treats for new friends in London, as well as to tackle new challenges for my baking skills–like using a scale, British-style, as opposed to the cups I use to measure. In the meantime, I do have plans to show my friend Melanie how I make scones, and back in the land of fish & chips, I’ve volunteered to bake something for a picnic in the first week of May.
If anyone knows of a part-time baking gig open in the London area, give me a shout. I’d be happy to whip together some samples of what I can bake. After I turn my essays in, that is. Any of my friends in Orlando want to suggest what I should bake in order to secure gainful employment in some possible place that may need a part-time baker?